American oenophilia

Travelling in the Galapagos and Ecuador, obviously a large proportion of my shipmates and lodgemates were from the US. While I’m on the subject of transAtlantic foodiness: when did Americans all become such wine-buffs? I appreciate that the section of American society that turns up on Galapagos cruises and in Ecuadorian ecolodges is a fairly narrow one, but I still found it rather striking. None of them were capable of just quickly ordering a bottle of something; I haven’t heard so many discussions about grape varieties for years. And when the wine did come, they all had to express opinions about what it tasted like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of a nice glass of wine. I’d just rather drink it than talk about it.

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simple pleasures

A good-quality chicken breast, sliced nearly through and opened out like a book. Oil it and place it between two sheets of clingfilm, then beat it flat with a rolling pin. It doesn’t have to be carpaccio thin, just flat enough to cook through quickly.

Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and salt and cook on a hot ridged frying pan. Just wait until the thin parts of the meat turn opaque before turning over and leaving for about a minute. Sprinkle the chicken with a little lemon juice and put on a plate to rest for two or three minutes.

Eat it, including the juices that have collected on the plate, with a few green leaves topped with olive oil and freshly grated parmesan. And a glass of nice white wine.

A flask of wine, a loaf of bread, – and thou

Apparently, if you ask wine experts to match the tasting notes to the wine, not only are they unable to identify them on the basis of other people’s notes (beyond obvous things like ‘it’s a sauvignon blanc’ or ‘it’s oaky’), they are unable to identify them on the basis of their own tasting notes from a few months ago. In other words, all that stuff they come out with (“I’m getting a slight hint of candle-stubs and grass”) is too impressionistic to be really informative.

Presumably the same would apply to a lot of poetry reviews.