I just got back from a pleasant lunch at a California/French restaurant, where I ordered a nice glass of wine with my meal. Halfway through lunch, I looked around, and noticed that absolutely everyone else in the joint was drinking iced tea or coke. What happened to the genteel practice of drinking wine with a meal? Are we such lightweights that the prospect of 6 ounces of rose of Cote du Rhone floors us for the rest of the afternoon? If I am eating good Italian or French food, I want wine, dammit, not some sugarwater solution laced with caffeine. The same goes for good Japanese cuisine; I’m going to want some Sapporo beer or sake with my sushi.
In the '80s I remember that folks weren’t afraid to drink a beer or wine at lunchtime. And the last time I saw Paris, I ate at a lunch place where local businessmen dined, and every table sported a carafe and wine glasses. I’m sure they were able to go on to transact business back at the office that afternoon. We Americans must be total lightweights by comparison.
Oh, where did we go wrong? When was sensual pleasure replaced by dot.com drive? At not one table near me was anyone discussing anything other than business. We Americans are certainly different in our approach to dining than Europeans. Here’s to fine eating and dining and leaving the business back at the office. Cheers.