Sometimes, you've got to ask yourself the hard questions to find out where you're really at with something.
You gotsta check yo'self.
You might ask yourself: Is wine even important to me at all?
I am not gonna lie: I'm feeling slow today. It's hard to put thoughts together. Forgive my lack of literary smoothery, if I ever had such a thing to begin with.
One thing that I seem to struggle with a little bit is the relationship between wine people and food and food people and wine.
Like, chefs and wine and sommeliers and food. And people who like to cook and people who like wine.
I find that there's always this weird disconnect. Sommeliers seem perpetually stupid when it comes to having any sort of taste in food or ability to cook, and chefs seem perpetually disinterested and/or overly basic when it comes to wine. Naturally, you're probably screaming at your screen and saying, "NOT ME!!! I LOVE WINE AND I LOVE FOOD AND COOKING!"
"NOT ME!! I'M A CHEF AND I LOVE WINE!"
"NOT ME!! I'M A SOMM AND I COOK ALL THE TIME!!"
Congratulations on becoming the exception to the rule. I sincerely applaud you. But I'm talking about this pandemic at large.
And this pandemic is the disconnect that I keep noticing between cooking and drinking wine.
Because you can't have one. You can't have none.
You can't have one without the other.
In my mind, the best way to fall in love with either is to fall in love with both. And in the end, what's the difference?
I may be writing on fumes here. But I have to genuinely question the integrity of any proclaimed wine or food professional or enthusiast who does not consistently reach across the aisle to, if not immerse themselves, then at least jump right into a sincere appreciation for those on the other side.
What is better than collecting a bundle of groceries & produce and dreaming up the kinds of wines you might enjoy with the end product?
What is better than going wine shopping and following it up with a trip to the grocery store and letting your fingers reach for whatever that wine inspires?
What is better than cracking that bottle right after smashing that clove of garlic and chucking it into a sizzling pan while sprinkling some sea salt on a steak?
What's better than taking a swig of that sweet, sweet juice with your left hand while finely torn florets of chanterelle mushrooms are tossed around in a skillet like kids on a trampoline in your right hand, all while you take in the smell of the heat, the sound of the sizzle, and the whole experience?
What's better than giving a good motor-boat to a bunch of fresh herbs right after sticking your nose in a glass of Sancerre?
What is genuinely better than the stress of executing all of these elements at the precise and corresponding moments to perfectly time a meal that you've prepared for a loved one, re-filling their glass before you dash back to grab some bubbling, cheesy dish from the broiling oven at the singularly ideal moment?
What's better than enjoying this labour with those friends, family, and loved ones? What's better than cracking the second bottle after the first one evaporates?
What's better than that sparkling kitchen after you get through all the dishes and that final glass to wind yourself down with your favourite record on as you gently close your eyes while kicked back on the sofa, knowing that you brought the most wholesome kind of physical pleasure not only to yourself, but to the ones close to you?
Go ahead. Tell me.
What's better than this?
Try to cook better. Try to drink better wine. Try honestly. Be open-minded.
Try to be as intelligent as you can be throughout this process.
You'll be that romantic fool, lost in whatever bottle, pan, or plate that sits in front of you.
Loving something like this so unboundedly is really what it's all about.
To me, at least.