Monday, August 4, 2008

Toward a Unified Theory of Food-and-Drink Pairing.

That's something I'm working on. Well OK, it's not really a theory. Just a simpler way of thinking about it. Less pretentious and mystical. More user-friendly, less snobby. In the end, it's all hedonism anyway.

Here's what I've got so far:

Taste really is subjective, so experiment. Palates vary widely. So do contexts and moods. Recommendations (Try that Rodenbach with some shrimp, my friend!) can be useful and occasionally spot-on. They make great starting points. But in the end, it's all about what you like. Experimentation--testing and tasting--is more than half the fun. Obviously this is true for any food and drink on its own. But I reckon it's especially important for pairing.

Connected with that idea: Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Most of the pleasure we get from beer, wine and food happens because we remember to check our senses. Taste especially, but also sight, smell and texture. It's sensual in the most literal way. The ability to stop, ponder and enjoy what we're doing is what separates us from animals.

Food and drink often taste better when we're on vacation. Usually that's because we want it to taste better, so we're paying more attention. I'd argue that you can have that in your own kitchen any day of the week.

I know, I'm probably reinventing the wheel. But some people earn a living by appearing to wield secret knowledge. Making it more complicated than it needs to be. Here it is, demystified: Play with your food. And enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment