Welcome to my blog! I’ll begin by explaining why I’m blogging in the first place. One reason is that my youngest daughter insisted I drag myself into the 21st century (when I was just getting used to the 20th). She set this thing up for me. (Thank you, Bear.) Another is that since my “mind” column in the Star was terminated in 2001 (by a singularly unpleasant Life editor) and my freelance contributions to wine journals were rendered superfluous (when those journals acquired regular contributors) my writing has been restricted to The Medical Post. The Med Post is a wonderful publication, but you can’t get it on line if you’re not a health-care provider. (It has to do with the presence of pharmaceutical product ads in the paper.) This unfortunate situation has led to rumors that I don’t actually write and might not actually exist. “A Glass of His Own” proves the rumor-mongers wrong. I’m here, and I write!
So who am I anyway? For starters, I’m a Templar of the Table. I grew up in a home where boiled chicken breasts and a glass of apple juice were considered haute cuisine. When I left home, I discovered more ambitious fare. A good friend and I made regular visits to the late lamented Restaurant Napoleon and other places conveniently located near Toronto General Hospital. Elizabeth Vinassac at Napoleon was my culinary Mrs. Robinson and frequently ignored my order to substitute food and wine I “needed.” My friend moved to Richmond Hill and developed a taste for Manischewitz, but I was well and truly seduced.
Speaking of seduction, I met my wife in 1983. I cooked for her for two months before she prepared her first meal for us. It was like watching a super-heroine doff the glasses and drab clothes to emerge as the Queen of Cuisine. We visited the St. Lawrence Market and the old Front St. fine wine store every Saturday morning, and spent the rest of the day and week feasting. We also took the introductory and advanced wine appreciation courses at George Brown College and met our own personal Yoda, Monsieur Jacques Marie. I’m proud to call him my friend and master.
Those Saturdays taught me that good food and wine are more than just a pleasure. They are the substance of civilization. This isn’t empty hyperbole. Societies evolved through food-sharing around a communal fire. Solid research has demonstrated that children who dine daily at a family table enjoy lower lifetime rates of psychopathology and delinquent behaviour than those who scarf down drek from a bag with a clown on it. Food and wine aren’t just fun and nutritious; they feed your head!
Why should you read my blog? Truthfully, I’m not sure everybody should. I have firm biases. I hate cuisine that’s all set-dressing and wardrobe, and adore a perfectly made hamburger and a well-roasted nice chicken. I regard many new-world wines as grape borscht and prefer European bottlings, especially from intelligent winemakers in regions that don’t resemble Malibu. I’m a huge advocate of traditional dining styles involving family and friends, and abhor fast food eaten in sad isolation.
That said, I’ll try my mightiest to post bits that will stimulate and engage you whether you share my preferences or reject them as antiquated and anachronistic. You could do worse than to follow me, and it costs nothing. What could be wrong with that?!