At the very end of an interview today for a non-wine magazine, the guy I was interviewing mentioned being a foodie. On my way back from the meeting I got to thinking.
Why is it that the love for food and wine creates something of an instant connection between people who share it?
Though I had a good network in my earlier field of Biotechnology, I never felt the kind of kinship there that I do in the food and wine world. Not just within the trade, but with anyone who shares the passion for food and wine. It’s an instant source of conversation. This connection disregards educational background, age, income or career, which is perhaps the true beauty of it.
I’m not talking about passion for food in a gluttonous sense, but as an interest in discovering new flavors, combined with curiosity for the origins of these experiences. Jean Paul Brun, the excellent Beaujolais producer of Domaines des Terres Dorées, called this desire to know and understand what we are eating an “intellectual need to return to our roots in a stressful world”.
Maybe the presentation of the source of every single ingredient in a luxurious meal has gone overboard – it occasionally feels silly when restaurants more or less give you the name of the cow where the milk for the cheese came from.
Nevertheless, being presented with a dish where every single component has been chosen with care and afterthought is quite a blessing. Knowing how much loving attention went in to creating the dish or drink I’m about to ingest creates a bridge between me and the chef, between me and the wine producer, and ultimately between me and nature, between me and the soil.
Food and wine is our sustenance and a part of our history, our origins, our biology and our pleasure. Sharing the experience with others creates a bond between me and others who share and appreciate it.
In my house(s, plural – we moved a lot) growing up, cooking was always part of what created a home. We were allowed – even encouraged – to help dad (or mom) from an early age or play around at will. We grew our own carrots, held our own sheep, got moose meat from the hunting neighbour. My whole life, the shared enjoyment of good, well made food has made me feel kinship.
I cook when I’m frustrated or sad, when I’m happy, and especially when I’m in love or want to show my friends I care about them. If someone appreciates my food or wine, it’s like having that care or love returned. Maybe that’s why this job feels less like a “job” per se and more like coming home, and people feel less like new work contacts and more like family or friends. And seriously – creating a career from a home full of family and friends: what better way can you imagine to make a living?