Friday, October 3, 2008

The Shared Table

The Shared Table

I believe that life is something we should share and experience with each other. I believe in educating myself on what life has to offer, in the form of food and drink, a part of my daily living. Doing so brings me joy, especially when I can share this joy with others. I see so many people going through life at such a fast pace that they cannot even remember what they had to eat or drink the night before!

We get up each morning, go to work, come home at night, and spend our evenings alone or with family and friends. We sometimes share foods we have produced or prepared at home, or have purchased from a market, with others. But when was the last time you discussed the foods’ or recipe’s origination or why you selected them?

Naturally, we are designed to be social beings. At least once a week or month, why not get together with others and share the good things that happened—or even the bad—during the week? Whether something was a good experience or bad, we need to tell others and share with them. The same should be true with foods and wines. How do we know that a Viognier wine is the right choice for tonight’s meal? Is it just because the label says so? What is a Viognier, anyway?

So many of us only buy wines under $10 because we do not want to potentially waste our money on something we have never tried—and may despise. After 10 years of ever-increasing wine consumption by Americans, why do you think that Chardonnay and Merlot remain the two most sold wines today? We still stick with what we know.

We are such blended and diverse generations of eaters and drinkers. “Fusion” seems to be one of the newest and hottest (and most over-used) words today. Hey, the word fusion has been around for generations! Looooooooong ago, spices came from India to the Americas, down far south, and across again to Asia, in different blends and forms and blended with many varieties of food ingredients!

Take a chance and try something new! Here are some ways to expand your horizons:

  • Share some knowledge. Try a different type of wine with some newfound friends.
  • Taste something that as a child, you could not stand. You might be pleasantly surprised!
    Our taste buds change about every 10 years or so.
  • Maintain traditions by passing family-favorite recipes on from one generation to another. If you alter something, list your new ingredient out to the side of the recipe.

Generations alter traditional foods according to their own taste and the availability of ingredients. Let’s revisit the old. You never know—you might like it, plus, you’ll be keeping your heritage alive.

Join in and appreciate what others have experienced lately. Rediscover what your family has done in the past, and keep those memories alive. Many of our female ancestors did not work. They kept house and ensured that home-cooked meals were always on the table for family members and anyone else who happened to stop by. The great cooks in our families didn’t receive any true glory or honor for what they did—except from those us who enjoyed their delicious meals.

Some of us who stood on our tippy toes by the stove, observing a loved on in action—concentrating on the right consistency for a sauce or ensuring something didn’t boil over or burn—made our career choices right then and there. What a great feeling it is to watch each fork be lifted to each mouth and then see a smile of satisfaction slowly spread on each face as the food prepared delights the taste buds and settles the hunger.

Make someone happy with your favorite food creation. Take a chance on a wine you cannot pronounce, or one that is more than just a pretty label or bottle. Add some books on “gastronomy” and ingredients to your home library. Elevate the quality of your food and drink.

Take time to enjoy what’s available to consume, educate yourself on each item and share the information with others!