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Sour grapes: the Scatters in a pickle

By Bob Hicks

Keep Portland Pickled. Or maybe, in honor of a certain shape of preserved cucumber, Keep Portland Speared.

Imagine a city where something called the Portland Fermentation Festival is such a mind-boggling hit that you can’t get in the doors. It’s like reporting that the Iowa City Haggis Festival or the Twin Falls Ukelele and Bassoon Blowout are SRO.

Such is the city in which we live.

Grape-Shot: 1915 English magazine illustration of a lady riding a champagne cork From The Lordprice Collection This picture is the copyright of the Lordprice Collection and is reproduced on Wikipedia with their permissionMr. Scatter recalls being impressed as a child by the tale of Noah, who after steering his ark at long last into port dipped into the wine cellar and got so snozzled that he stumbled into his tent, stripped off all his clothes, and fell into a deep naked snooze. This caused considerable consternation once he woke up, and somehow Noah, who after all was “a just man and perfect,” pinned the blame on his son Canaan, who as winemaker had apparently amped up the alcohol content. (He might have been the same guy making all those head-thumping California zins in the 1970s.) It was a pioneering instance of better scapegoating through chemistry.

On Thursday evening Mr. and Mrs. Scatter parked the Scatter corporate ark on a side street near the Pearl District’s Ecotrust Building and headed in for what they assumed would be a quiet and congenial gathering of fellow fermentation geeks — lovers of the likes of pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough, and of course, wine and beer. Imagine their surprise to see a line of pickle fanatics snaking down the stairway from the second-story event, through the lobby and almost out the door.

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