Monday, April 13, 2009
Premio Dardos Award, Life is Meals and remembering our first Chateau Lafite-Rothschild wine
Vicki Lane, mystery writer and author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries, passed the Premio Dardos Award to me. This award is for “recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web." Thank you very much Vicki for this prestigious award.
Currently Vicki is at work on her fifth novel. In addition to being a published author, she is a wonderful photographer and an accomplished gardener. I urge you to stop by her blog, Vicki Lane Mysteries.
Each morning I read a daily passage from Life is Meals – A Food Lover’s Book of Days. This charming book by James and Kay Salter makes a wonderful hostess gift. It’s a memoir filled with food history and facts, favorite cookbooks, dinner parties and friends, fond food memories, restaurant stories, household tips and recipes. Broken into 365 brief entries, you can dip in and out as you like. After reading this book I now have come to believe that my family may be related to Winnie the Pooh. Here are some examples.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,”
Said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh, “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.
A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Paraphrased from Theo’s Birth
1985 in Paris Kay Salter gave birth to their son Theo. Jim had read once that the lips of the future kings of France were moistened at birth with a good French wine so they would always remember the taste. Being the bon vivant that he was he purchased a bottle of Chateau Latour for the occasion. As Kay was being wheeled into the delivery room Jim took a moment to speak to their French obstetrician, Dr. Bazan, who had been summoned from a dinner party and was still wearing his evening clothes. Jim explained that when the baby was born they would like to wet its lips with the wine. Things proceeded as expected and at one in the morning Jim was standing outside the delivery room when he heard the cry of an infant followed by, “Pull the cork,” from Dr. Bazan. A few drops of wine were applied to Theo’s lips and then the remainder of the bottle was shared by Jim, Kay, the doctors and the nurses in celebration.
Later the Salters purchased a case of another fine Bordeaux, Chateau Leonville-Barton 1985, the year of Theo’s birth. When Theo was old enough to drink, they asked hopefully, “Recognize the taste?” He looked as if he did.
Speaking of fine wines, my husband and I lived in Houston during the seventies. His mother had told him to always buy the least expensive house in the very best neighborhood. Good advice even today. We bought a darling one bedroom cottage on an acre in the close in Memorial area, east of Voss Road; a very fine neighborhood indeed. We were visiting with our neighbor one day and he asked if we liked wine. We were young and thought we knew a little bit about wine so we said yes. He invited us to dinner the following Saturday.
Before dinner he took us to his wine cellar for a sherry he had blended himself. If you aren’t familiar with Houston, cellars are a bit of a rarity there. He had his built for his wine collection, which was quite vast and contained many bottles of rare vintages. In fact during that time Tony’s, one of Houston’s finest restaurants, would occasionally call to borrow a bottle from him if a customer ordered something from their wine menu that they happened to be out of.
At the dinner table were three wine glasses at each place setting. He and his wife announced that we would be doing a wine tasting of three vintages to taste the difference in them. Much to our surprise (and delight) on the table sat a three bottles wine, a Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1962, a 1964 and a 1966. Needless to say all three were excellent and the finest wine we’d ever tasted. We did our best to carry on a conversation about fine wines as if we knew something, which we really didn’t. As the evening progressed he excused himself and went back to the cellar and brought up another bottle of wine. This time it was a Chateau Duhart-Milon-Rothschild 1964. He explained that the Duhart vineyard was across the street from the Lafite but because it wasn’t labeled a Lafite, it was less expensive. It was every bit as good as the Lafite in our eyes as well as his and he was the expert. They graciously gave us the labels from the four wines, which we framed and they still hang in our kitchen today.
Do you have any food books you read frequently? If you do, I hope you’ll share the titles with me.