Food & Whine

by Marnie Macauley June 26, 2018


Closeup of unrecognizable adult woman holding a glass of red wine and smelling it before tasting. She's standing outdoors on summer afternoon. Blurry gras and red flowers in background. Toned image.

Shalom, San Diegans: We Jews thrive on belief, learning and our pisks (mouths) for talking and ingesting. After breakfast, we’re already planning lunch (corned beef or brisket?) After lunch, a snack wouldn’t hurt. After dinner? “So where shall we go for a little dessert?” We plan our attack at a buffet like secret agents. “The fruit salad, cottage cheese and beets are up front to the left. Take from the back! That’s where they hide the lox and white fish!” Biological foodies, do food and wine issues arise? Let’s look.

In Need Of Breather

DEAR MARNIE: I’ve been married for almost a year to a great guy. The problem is his parents. They’re originally farm people who are very strong and determined. We rotate Shabbat dinner. One Friday it’s at our place, the other at theirs. I have food allergies. After years of misery, I finally learned from an allergist that I can’t eat fish, eggs and milk, among other things. Try telling that to my in-laws!  They think I’m crazy, that NO ONE could possibly be allergic to something as natural as eggs and milk! How do I convince them? – Tired of Arguing.

MARNIE SAYS: Wheezing your way into anaphylactic shock would do it but it might do you in. The “scaring” part’s OK – just leave you out of it.

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

Your allergist. Tell me quick. Is he or she an MD? Looks professional? Doesn’t push weird “alternatives” (like recommending eye of newt to cure asthma)?  Carries real prescription pads? Good. Conspire to enlist some aid.

Invite the good doc to Shabbat dinner at your place. Add a few clued-in sufferers with similar woe-tales.  (Not too many or you’ll look like a coughing coven.) Do not introduce them as your allergist and the allergic.  Just, “meet Irv, Becca,” etc.

Encourage lively conversation.  The topic of “career” will of course come up and the “Doc” will be ID’ed.  Again … no big deal.

At some point, orchestrate the following:

STEP 1: Doc says to you: “Sasha … I hope you’re sticking to your diet.”

(WHOOP!  HEAR YOUR IN-LAWS WHIPPING AROUND.)  Doc continues: “I know it’s tough – no eggs, milk – but we wouldn’t want you to (FILL IN DIRE RESULTS).

STEP 2: Now for the woe-tales. Another sufferer, Jonah, can jump in with … “Y’know, I’m allergic to nuts! Well, let me tell you my Pesach charoset story. (FILL IN DIRE RESULTS).

By now the in-laws should be cowed enough to button it up – well, at least in your presence. Now go forth and breathe free!

A Corker

DEAR MARNIE: My brother-in-law thinks he’s a maven at everything, including wine. When we all go to an upscale restaurant, he brings the sommelier to tears with his smelling, swishing, twirling, rolling and talking “fruity,” “earthy,” “floral.” Marnie, the man took a two week course online, acts like Mr. Manischewitz and doesn’t shut up. How do we put him in his place? – Enough Already

MARNIE SAYS:  Oh mamala, what a terribly ignoble yet delicious question. If I were any sort of typical advice maven, I’d tell you to have compassion for this man with a hole in his goblet. Thank G-d you wrote to me. The next time you go out …

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy

You or your husband offer to do the honors. You test the wine. You got these special tips from one of Gordon Ramsey’s top sommeliers…Pierre. With the fervor of Emeril, ask the sommelier to uncork the bottle.

Take the cork, put it between your hands and roll it for a full minute. The heat from your hands should turn the cork dark if the wine is excellent. Fill a quarter of the glass with the wine. Hold a mirror to the glass, as the mirror is a far superior way of judging color. Stick a fancy long spoon you’ve brought and swish to test for just the right amount of sediment. Strike a match or lighter under the bulb of the glass. If it bubbles in under 30 seconds, it’s inferior.

Turn to the sommelier and blithely say: “This will barely do, but we’ll grin and bear it.” The shocked faces around you will be in awe of your prowess (maybe they missed a lesson?) No one will question it, but if they do, who are they to argue with? Pierre?

Then go home with your anecdote, open a bottle of Diet Cel-Ray and be “amused.”


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