The fruit ninja

My son, who many of you know as Dammit Boy, is a 26-year-old research associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. He is a policy wonk who can talk for hours (believe me) about such things as fissel nuclides (I don’t know what those are) and the history of Russian-American nuclear policy (anyone want another pig in a blanket?).

He works with people who are not only experts in nuclear energy issues but who wrote some of the global initiatives that govern how the world deals with nuclear energy, pro and con. Rarified air. I am thrilled.

However. You can take the boy out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the boy. He also went to school on another group of experts, ones who have vehement feelings about doily versus no doily, whether it’s a silver or glass platter reception and who worship at the altar of the linen napkin and color-coordinated table toppers. And he learned well from the Women of St. Paul’s.

So I was not surprised when Noah called the other day to say that he had been put in charge of the refreshments for an event that attracted experts from around the world to discuss matters I do not understand. He knows in his bones that presentation is everything. That it is essential to present both sweet and savory. That shingling the slices of kiwi is just…well…what you do.

One of his colleagues has dubbed him the fruit ninja. I couldn’t be prouder.

I’ve learned a few things from this. One is that while his colleagues were impressed that Noah cut up a whole pineapple you can’t buy pre-cut fresh pineapple in Vienna. That the reason that tomatoes and cucumbers were on the table is that much of the world considers those to be desired items over sliced fruit.

An army marches on its stomach, even an army populated by people who hold the world’s future in their hands.

Noah knows what he knows about food partly because of me but in great measure because he was one of the few males allowed in the kitchen during receptions and the annual English Tea. He saw how things are done and he knows what’s what.

Noah wanted me to make sure that the Women of St. Paul’s knew that lessons learned at their feet now have a global reach, one hand-cut piece of pineapple at a time.

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