Friday, May 18, 2007

From Pot to Paté

…Don’t trust anyone over 60

Scrounging For Your Next Meal
So far this year, lots of “fine dining”, plenty of great wine. And the year ain’t even half over yet. So this might be shaping up as a rant, but don’t worry, it will be fair and balanced.

Tonight I was the wine host at an event of a wine and food group. I was told this is a serious group. Uhumm.
Mind you, there were a few friends there, so for their sake (and mine) it wasn’t a total loss. But for the most part, the people there were not really interested in learning too much about Italian wine. They were there for a good time, and wanted to make sure we kept their goblets filled. Oh and they also had plumbing and electrical issues they wanted me to attend to. Yessa Massa.

This from their core values page:
• We preserve the regional and ethnic culinary heritage of the table.
• We educate others on quality food and drink.
• We encourage professional research to grow our culinary culture and knowledge.

Not tonight we won’t; just don’t be running out of Montepulciano.

You Got Nothing to Lose You're Invisible Now
Anyway, many of the folks were retired and elderly, and really there were only a few folks who weren’t into what I had prepared. But that set the scene and made it highly improbable that I could share with the other people some stories and insights I thought a group like theirs might like.

Even though this group of people was collectively not too much older than me, I felt like a child who couldn’t get the parents to listen. Jeesh, I had that experience, back in the day.

Go To Him Now, He Calls You
So, I also interact with younger folk, people in their 20’s and 30’s. And while their attention span is somewhat short (they just “get it” quicker), I have been finding them to be more interested in what I have to say. As long as I keep it short and sweet (not like this blog).

All this to say, I belong to a generation that has passed from pot to paté in what seems like a short time.

Once Upon a Time You Dressed So Fine
I wrote elsewhere about a vegan meal I had last week in Austin, and a week later I am served bacon ice cream.

Last year in Verona I sat through 9 courses (out of 18) as an exercise in vegetarianism. Seen here is a mini-veggie burger with micro-frites and home made mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup.

Elsewhere, in Paris, an amuse-bouche of an egg in an elixir of sweet pea soup with a wedge of sour dough.

Have we traded in our bongs for Bandol, our sensimilla for semifreddo; have we gone from hash to haute cuisine. What happened?

Connoisseurship has led our generation from the hemp fields of Mendocino to the oyster farms of Marennes-Oléron. I hope this is leading somewhere. Because if all we end up with is the gout, then we have learned nothing.

Princess On the Steeple and All the Pretty People
Yes the dishes are beautiful, delicate, balanced creatures of culinary enchantment. Foams, emulsions, mostardas. Micro greens, fruit essences, heirloom potatoes, grass fed meats. Panama Red, White Widow, Northern Lights. Looking for that ultimate hit, that hook-up, that spirit in the sky. That somethingness outside of oneself that will complete oneself. Mannaggia.

This is perhaps an American perspective. I can’t say for sure if the Italians relate to this kind of process, the food thing comes so naturally to them as a culture.

I know today I was punished at lunch, 30 lashes by garlic, tortured by Bolognese. Tonight I was served food by a real Italian, so the risotto was correct, even the garlic was moderated, my community service to the wine and food group was at least served with a few small plates of real food.

How Does It Feel?
Where am I going? From where I sit, it seems that I might be going back to where I got these ideas; somewhere in my youthful idealism. Or maybe it is timeless hopefulness. In any event, I have had enough bad meals and I am close to having enough great meals. Where I am going is back to find my tribe: back to a simpler life. Not exactly meat and potatoes, but not fois gras either. I’m done with that. And this too. Good night, Gracie.

Apologies to Robert Zimmerman for the headings


De Vino said...

Nothing wrong with a little pate and Northern Light once in a while...and why not some Russian Beluga Caviar.
I have to say that also "Burro ed Alici" is a gourmet plate :)
Mannaggia is with 2 n and 2 g (roman style) and grazie is with a z
I want live simpler, healthier with good fresh food too but here in NYC the farmers produce is sold at Tiffany's and I need a morgage to have a salad.
Gabrio Tosti

Italian Wine Guy® said...

thanks Gabrio.

Mannaggia is changed now,Grazie!

I didnt change Gracie, because that is what I meant to write ( see link)

and Morgage is really Mortgage

but hey, mannaggia, it's ok!



Travel Italy said...

The final plate looks really good and balanced. Wish I were there!

De Vino said...

Life is so expensive here that I had to save the T... :)
I'm going to look at gracie link right now...I hope too see you in NY soon...

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