Dandelion and Burdock

Can’t tell you how excited I was to find, in the Café in Bushey Park, a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock – the fizzy drink treat of my childhood. It brought back happy memories of fish and chips on a Friday night with a ‘bottle of pop’ – the dandelion and burdock occasionally interspersed with Ben Shaw’s lemonade to make a Guinness Shandy. Those were the days – before the damned Americans cornered the world-market with Coca Cola (for some reason my parents’ generation never got over their hatred of all things American – had to do with the monopoly of silk stockings and Peter Stuyvesant in the war years, I think.)

Of course my husband (brought up in the fashionable South) took one mouthful, wrinkled up his nose and spluttered “cough medicine.” I was disturbed by the sudden awareness that Dandelion and Burdock, like espresso and red wine, might be an acquired taste – more pleasing by its familiarity than any absolute virtue.  It made me think of marriage and Harville Hendrix’ assertion that we search out a life partner on the basis of an unconscious Imago which corresponds with the devil we know rather than the angel we seek. We are attracted to familiarity (which also explains why many abused spouses marry the same person/persona more than once and Brazilians pay over the odds for a can of imported Guaraná in our corner Deli.) My daughter, who recently displayed an uncharacteristic gusto for olives, proudly announced that she had persisted until she acquired the taste for them.  I am wondering if the same thing works with unflavoured fat-free yoghourt and if there is a reverse process for Lemon Meringue Pie. It sounds like one of those how-to-be-happy self-help courses that teaches you how to like what you have rather than have what you like. I can’t help but wonder what we’ll be drinking a hundred years from now, and if my great-great-grandkids will dig up a time-capsule somewhere and screw up their noses at a Coke Zero and snort “whoever drank this stuff????”

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