Morning Muse: Shaving

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As one who tries to keep up with consumer technology, I couldn’t wait to try the new Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor with FlexBall technology and five blades.

I began shaving with a classic double-edged safety razor, one not too different I imagine from the product invented in 1904 by King C. Gillette.  That was the norm.  Oh sure, razors, or something like them, existed for centuries before.  The Oxford English Dictionary notes the year 1290 for the first use of a word specifically identified as a razor.

Anyone remember when the disposable razor entered the market? The first one I bought in the mid-70s was made of orange and white plastic by the French Company Bic – the disposable pen people.  It was followed quickly by the blue colored Gillette disposable, which had two blades.  These disposables tore me up; I was always going around with little pieces of toilet paper stuck to the nicks and cuts on my neck.  Then sometime in the 80s the cartridge razor was invented and the floodgate opened for products featuring 3 blades, then 4 blades and marketing concepts like “Mach” and “Turbo.”  I’ve tried them all in my search for a better shave.

The new FlexBall ProGlide, I must say, is a beautiful product with a high tech silver and black look and some orange and blue highlights – a color combo I have a particular affinity for.  The tech breakthrough isn’t the blade, but the handle.  It swivels, supposedly mimicking how your wrist works and therefore make shaving more effective.  Some call the swivel a marketing gimmick.  Okay, but so is the “virtual assistant” on my iPhone.  And I’m certain I’ll be using the razor more than I do Miss Siri.  Oh yes: I had a damn good inaugural shave.

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Pate of the South

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Have you wondered why Pimento Cheese is so popular in the South?  It might be because the South doesn’t have a deep history  of commercial cheese production.  Garden & Gun Magazine just did a piece on the rise of Southern cheese making since the 1990s.  According to G&G, the reason might be geography.  Summer temperatures tend to burn off the grass and make the cows lethargic, which means less milk. Warm temperatures mean insects and parasites never get really killed off.  A processed cheese, like pimento cheese, worked better in the South.

As a fan of pimento cheese, I’m always on the look out for a good spread.  Rehoboth, frankly, doesn’t understand pimento cheese.  Luckily, I can import it from Washington and in particular from the Harris Teeter on 1st and M Streets, NE — best selection in the city. I stopped by this evening for a tub, as I had a hankering for Southern caviar.   To my delight, the selection of pimento cheese varieties had grown substantially.  I’m not surprised.  Harris Teeter started in Charlotte, NC, the city many aficionados call the capital of pimento cheese, given how pimento cheese manufacturing today seems to be mostly in the Carolinas.

It didn’t start out that way.  Some claim earlier versions of pimento cheese originated in New York, Minnesota, and North Dakota and trickled down to the South.  It became associated with the Carolinas mainly because of the textile mills.  In the anti-union South, workers had to eat quickly on breaks.  Pimento cheese sandwiches, sold by small companies and later in vending machines, became popular for lunch.  The textile mills are gone, but pimento cheese lives on.  I used to think it was a dying taste, but given what I see in Harris Teeter, I think I’m wrong.  The pate of the South lives on.