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I returned a few years later. No appointment. Arrived just as a busload of Belgians was pulling away. The proprietor was doddering through the room consolidating the remains of tasting glasses into a large plastic bucket. “Ah, he’ll top up his casks with that,” I assumed. When all the glasses were emptied, our vigneron placed the bucket on the floor and issued a shrill whistle whereupon his dog trotted in and proceeded to lap up what must have been several hundred dollars’ worth of Premier cru Burgundy.
from Reading Between The Wines by Terry Theise (2010). Very Highly Recommended.
Big Momma Sweet made sure she had plenty of women and they all danced and howled and satisfied every lust that money could buy in prelude to the vicious night. Some brought grills in their truck beds and coolers packed with venison and pork and the smell of charcoal and meat wafted in the humid air in breaking grey clouds. Some wandered over to the open-air barn and admired vehicles that they had once owned but had been forced to turn the titles over to Big Momma Sweet to settle their bets.
from The Fighter by Michael Farris Smith (2018). Highly Recommended.
Of course, many old wines disappointed. You never knew, until you opened it, how a bottle would be. When Broadbent tried an 1875 Margaux, he rhapsodised about its “extraordinary nose like crystallised violets and clean bandages!” At another event, however, he glumly lamented the state of an 1858 Mouton, wincing at its “incredibly awful creosote, tarry smell” before jotting in his notebook the ultimate condemnation” “Not tasted”.
from The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace (2008). Highly Recommended.
Inside our house, my mother is also cooking and I have little choice but to wait in anticipation. There is something artistic about the way she moves about the kitchen cooking, the little things she says, the snippets of songs she sings. It all goes into her rice, tacos, enchiladas, menudo and caldo de res.
She’s poetic, lyrical in her creations. I take out my cell phone and record her, hoping to keep the moment ingrained forever.
from Homelands by Alfredo Corchado (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Guests weren’t allowed in the crowded maternity ward, for health and hygiene reasons, but my mother couldn’t stand the hospital food and she was starving. She was waiting at the open window for the gibanica: a feta cheese and phyllo pastry pie, and “reform torte”, a nutty creamy dessert — both made by her mother, at her request. Dad spotted her and threw the ball of twine… She didn’t catch it….
He threw it again and she caught it.
“If you’d thrown it like that the first time, I would have caught it,” she said, hauling the basket up, eager to have the last word.
from Miss Ex-Yugoslavia by Sofia Stefanovic (2018). Highly Recommended.
Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gibanica_single_slice_with_full_pie_in_background.jpg. Attribution: Cyrus Roepers
The tension in the air was as taut as the glass string I was tugging with my bloody hands. People were stomping their feet, clapping, whistling chanting, “Boboresh! Boboresh!” Cut him! Cut him! I wondered if Baba’s voice was one of them. Music blasted. The smell of steamed mantu and fried pakora drifted from rooftops and open doors.
But all I heard - all I willed myself to hear - was the thudding of blood in my head. All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was victory.
from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003). Very Highly Recommended.
The staff lunch is a daily ritual that serves as a tasting forum and often draws guests who just happen to show up around twelve thirty. “We see these heads in the window,” says Beckey, “which is terrific, because Russell is incapable of cooking for less than twelve.”
Clearly a man of large appetites and enthusiasms, he can take no credit for his towering height, but his Falstaffian girth is presumably his own accomplishment. He is also widely reputed to have both an excellent palate and an extraordinary memory for older vintages.
from The Juice, Vinous Veritas, by Jay McInerney (2012). Highly Recommended.
The serious-looking waiter set more new glistening stemware in front of us. We were refreshed all around with the Comte Armand. As the wine rose to our lips, we were vertiginously winched up to a more rarefied plateau. It was as if we had just left the harbour and entered the sea, as if the clouds had parted and the sky had turned lavender and wraithlike little sprites were dancing on the surface of the water.
“Now this is Pinot Noir, “I said.
from Sideways by Rex Pickett (2004). Highly Recommended.
There was a bucket of mussels and a plate of snails, neither of which he’d had before. Since Coca-Cola was so expensive, a dollar for a tiny bottle, Pat insisted he try un verre du vin, the first dry wine Parker had ever tasted. For someone raised on meat loaf and soda, these tastes were all new and wonderful, a revelation, and it didn’t hurt that he was so much in love. Parker couldn’t get over the different aromas and flavours in the food and wine, and he wanted to taste everything—frog’s legs, pâté, Camembert—and much more wine.
from The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy (2005). Highly Recommended (Very Highly if you’re interested in wine!).
The maturation had not been uniform. The June flowering — the floraison — which had filled the air with that sweet, familiar aroma that ever since he was a child he had likened to the scent of honey, had occurred unevenly throughout the vineyard. The fruit on some vines was further along than the fruit on some other vines. Were the least mature grapes mature enough?
Interestingly, in his vineyard journal, the Grand Monsieur made no mention of the evil that had occurred in his prize vineyard.
from Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter (2014). Highly Recommended. (Very Highly, if you have an interest in wine!)
At each place there is at least one hollowed-out tree truck with a hole at the end, where at harvest time they stomp grapes to get juice for making wine. The two women said they could easily get 1 ton of grapes into a tree trunk. First the boys walk on the grapes, and then the older and heavier men crush them harder. … It takes about two hours to finish the job. Turpa, one of the women, proudly pointed to one tree trunk and said the family had been using it for three centuries.
from In Search of Bachhus by George M. Taber (2009). Recommended.
Once, I woke in the night… I just couldn’t sleep. We got up and ..watching him make pancakes, something I kept saying I didn’t want. With a big tray of food between us, we sat in bed, watching an old black and white movie, and I know nothing will ever taste as good as that syrupy mess…. Everything quieted in me.. and I allowed myself to be dependent on this one person… Steve. I had that once in my life. Maybe that’s enough.
From In Pieces by Sally Field (2018). Very Highly Recommended
… the Greeks, to whom we owe the proverb oinos kai aletheia, wine and truth, which became in vino veritas when the Romans took over. Claret still has this aura for me, of a wine to be not swilled but meditated, and always in good company—which does not, of course, preclude drinking it alone, if your company reaches the required standard (which, after a glass or two, I find, mine does).
from Roger Scruton’s My Fall, part of Wine Reads edited by Jay McInerney (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
There he ate the meals that Visitación brought him twice a day, although in the last days he lost his appetite and fed only on vegetables. He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians. His skin became covered with a thin moss, similar to that which flourished on the antique vest that he never took off, and his breath exhaled the odour of a sleeping animal.
from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez (1967). Very Highly Recommended
…we walked around in the balmy evening, looking at menus, deciding where to eat. What a heavenly, under appreciated time that is in any day. The pleasure of choosing, the anticipation of a couple of hours with good food and better flirting.
from Maeve in America by Maeve Higgins (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
In Clare, de Valera had a new running mate, the GP Patrick Hillery. Hillery was a political neophyte: when De Valera told him to go to the Fianna Fail head office to sign the (party) pledge he thought he was being asked to give up drink. But he was assured that he would know all he needed to about politics after a campaign with de Valera.
from De Valera, Rule 1932-1975, by David McCullagh (2018). Recommended.
One afternoon, a number of rainbow runners were lying on the deck and I took a filleting lesson from Em Phumanny, the bowl-cut Cambodian with Buddhist tattoos. We planned to make kinilaw, a kind of Filipino ceviche made of a cold, chopped, vinegary whitefish. “The fish is not cooked, you know?” said Tony, “It is cured in the vinegar.”
I squatted in the sun near the cutaway rail while the pirates watched us drowsily.
from The Desert and The Sea (977 days captive on the Somali pirate coast) by Michael Scott Moore (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
..in Jame’s tiny kitchen, she roasted a chicken, cubed potatoes, peeled yams into a casserole dish the size of a steno pad: Thanksgiving dinner in miniature. James, who had never cooked himself a meal, who subsisted on burgers from Charlie’s Kitchen and English muffins from the Hayes-Bickford, watched in awe.
After Marilyn basted the chicken, she looked up defiantly, closed the oven, and peeled the oven mitts from her hands. ”My mother is a home economics teacher,” she said. “Betty Crocker is her personal goddess.” It was the first thing she had told him about her mother.
from Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014). Very Highly Recommended.
The game wound down and dinner was served, a roast, and a salad of watercress, rocket, and Roquefort, then dessert, a charlotte Malakoff au chocolate much admired by the party-goers, which brought Mme Reynard a flush of pleasure. “Say what you want about Julia. I know some will drag her through the mud, but in the end, what are they actually accomplishing with this?…”
“Who is Julia?” Tom whispered to Joan.
Tom misunderstood. He turned to Susan and asked,”Who is Julia?’
from French Exit by Patrick deWitt (2018). Recommended.
As winter approached…they would finally make their big move and the whole world would find out what they had been up to.
It was going to be a great and important day. To celebrate the years of hard work, Norris promised to take Randall and Berryman to dinner at Peter Luger, a famous Brooklyn steakhouse, where gruff old waiters throw down $80 platters of sizzling porterhouse. It seemed a fitting tribute because Luger’s happened to be Chuck Blazer’s favourite restaurant.
Blazer had been a terrific cooperator. There could never have been a case without him.
from Red Card, FIFA and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports, by Ken Bensinger (2018). Highly Recommended.