Ten years ago, serving a drink in a Mason jar was something only done in the privacy of your own home, where your neighbors couldn’t find out, or at the Cracker Barrel, as a way of getting into the Hee Haw spirit of biscuits, country ham and Chinese-made Americana gimcrakery.
Next thing you know, Mason jars were hot, hot, hot!
It sort of made sense. The Southern food renaissance was well underway, shrimp and grits were on every menu, and collards were being pot-likkered in every corner of this great nation.
Pretty soon, you’ve decided to start up your own basic, trustifarian, heritage-breed, whole-pig BBQ in Williamsburg, with the rough barn wood and the fake Mail Pouch signs in the dining room. And although you are continually having to make decisions about things like sauces and silverware, there was never any question about how to serve your signature, $17, Mountain Dew Moonshine cocktails (made with real Sun Drop imported from Huntsville, AL) because the natural choice was, is, and always will be a Mason jar. It’s been a Southern thing for like ever, right?
Unfortunately, the whole Mason jar gestalt has now gotten away from us and is rolling down hill like a dirty snowball, squishing up food stylists and bloggers, getting bigger and bigger, arms and legs sticking out everywhere until, finally, it slams into this…
“I’m making bean salad, let’s serve it in a jar!”
No. Let’s not, Olivia. Let’s serve it in a bowl, so I don’t have to spend the next 47 minutes trying to fish the last kernels of corn out of my jar with a long-handled teaspoon.
Put your shoes back on, Crossfit Nature Boy, and get back in that kitchen and bring me out some carbs, on a plate, with a fork.
“It’ll be so fun for your guests. You go through the buffet line, get a jar and sit down. There’s the dressing at the bottom. Just turn it over, shake, and your shrimp-kiwi-chunks-of-ham-raspberry-lettuce salad is covered in ranch dressing!”
“I love it! LOVE IT!!!”
That was the moment when Brandon began to think that maybe the French Foreign Legion was in his future.
Query: What has salad ever done to merit such humiliation? What is it that makes so many food stylists think it belongs in a jar?
Speaking of humiliation, Dip meet Jar…
As with a cathedral, a mosque or a baseball field, a sacred Euclidian geometry should govern the chip-to-dip relationship: the chip, a simple triangle rendered elegant by its graceful curves, must fit completely and comfortably into the container which holds it’s Platonic dip-mate. Verily, it must be able to scoop at that dip, lest it fail to perform the function for which it was fried.
In other words, I have a broken chip in my hand….and some SOB is going to die.
After the salad and appetizer, how about a main course…
Now you’re just taunting me.
So, it turns out that your BBQ place isn’t making it. Rents are too high and your waitstaff insufficiently dismissive of the customers, plus, BBQ is hard to get right. Really hard. Who knew? Maybe you should buy a sous vide and a centrifuge.
In the meantime, you’ve got a lot of Mason jars sitting around and a walk-in full of pig. That’s when you have the most brilliant idea ever…
You’re saved! Within a week the word is out and the place is filled with skinny young men with beards and chubby girls in lensless old-man glasses, and the fixies are stacked up outside like cord wood.