5. Lower Case Gourmet

Aug 08, 2015

5. Lower Case Gourmet


Art or indulgence? Can the balanced association of wine with food be seen as an “art” form or is it a beautifully presented indulgence leading, occasionally, to an addiction?

Mentors: Who was your mentor during your discovery phase who has continued to influence your adult life…and how?

Motivation: Could you, in the upstream later years, offer yourself to a young person as a mentor? If so, what would motivate you to do so?


  1. Jean Sozio Says: October 21, 2015 11:59 pm

    1. I believe in the health properties of grape juice but am suspicious of the effect of alcohol in the body vs on the body. I know that alcohol is in oveI r-the-counter cold remedies and even flavor extracts. Does it cleanse the blood of bacteria??? This would be good. Does it pickle your organs? This would be bad. Addiction starts out as an easy choice to try it and inevitably ends as a much harder choice to abstain. I would not take the gamble.
    2. The first Christian in our family
    3. I believe in the necessity for youth to learn the full word of God as soon as possible that it would nurture them as they mature.

  2. Bluefish62 Says: December 31, 2015 8:18 am

    1. I’m not so sure I see wine and food pairing as an “art form.” But I will contemplate a tad more. I know in Italy and other countries parents allow their children to drink wine at a young age and teach them about drinking,,,etc.? If I’m wrong,,,,please someone throw me a “clue phone!” I know my first drink was vodka and OJ, not wine. It was the 70’s in California though!

    Of course in Germany, it’s beer, right? At least this is what I have “heard.” Supposedly this early allowance of drinking, some believe, prevents a person from developing addiction or from over-drinking. In other words, their parents believe this might teach them how to “drink responsibly.” This is “hogwash” thinking I believe. At least in some respects. You never know who will become addicted to a substance. Whether or not you are taught how to drink or not. Whether your parents drink or not. Addiction sometimes happens.

    A human brain includes thousands of different synapses, neurons, synaptic gaps, and neuroreceptors. Along with over 60 neurotransmitters to include serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. Plus a host of a thousand additional factors that might lead to substance abuse and addiction. To include genetics and mental health issues. I think trying drugs and/or alcohol, especially when under the age of 15, leads to a greater risk for addiction. But who am I? A neuroscientist?? Hardly! Most of my brain is tied behind my “heart!”

    I’m just going from experience as a person, a parent, and also an X -Probation Officer. I saw a LOT of it with the over 140 defendants I had on my caseload at any one time. It was an endless circle of different faces with the same issues. It was defeating. It always revolved around the same issues. Drug or alcohol abuse, mental health illness, no money, no education, no job, no skills, more drugs, alcohol, etc. You see the cycle.

    2. Geez, I’m almost ashamed to say, I have none. I moved each year during the last four years of high school. Each year having to start completely over. It was tedious and painful. But I always survived and even thrived at times. However, this made it extremely difficult to develop any long-term mentor type relationships or friendships. I had several teachers from each year that were mentors during that school year. They took me under their wings, so to speak. Believe it or not, I’ve mostly found my way on my own, possibly by leaning on my friends. Whoever they might have been during that time. My “gang” I guess! Not sure, but I guess it was the life of an army brat. People came and went each year just like that. Poof. I was gone and they were gone. I just learned to deal with it. I’ve moved 28 times in my life and attended over 13 schools.
    3. I always have and always will be willing to mentor any youngster. Or even an adult! That’s my gift. Helping other’s see their beauty, potential, and “lovability” (even when I have a hard time seeing this in myself).

  3. Lynn Says: February 21, 2016 1:57 am

    Art or Indulgence: Wine and food and a well prepared meal and companionship around a table with conversation being the true depth of what occurs – ah. Wine was common in the day of Jesus and we base our spiritual rituals around the substance of bread and wine. Bluefish 62 referenced how some countries include wine as part of their children’s growing up experience as part of meals ( or what I feel she implied). I have also heard of that custom. I no longer can drink any kind of alcohol for I am on one medication that does not mix well with it. I once was a social drinker, appreciating a glass of wine when with friends and enjoying a meal. I associate wine in that context and in the church ritual context. However, I do know those who have become addicted to alcohol. For those who have come out of their addiction to live sober, one sip of any alcohol can trigger them back to the addiction. I think we all need to be sensitive – if serving a meal to friends – to know the preference of our guests and have alternative drinks for those who cannot partake of wine. For truly the art that matters is the memory of the ambience enhancing the relationships of such a given time. I’d probably remember the food served and its beauty and taste over the wine that accompanied it. I took “wine” as the focus of “addiction” but food could also count in such a discussion for those who struggle with food addictions.

    Mentors: Again I can relate to Bluefish 62’s experience for I, also, was moving each year as I was growing up. I can remember favorite teachers and how they influenced my life for that one year I was with them. If I were to think a bit outside the box of “mentorship”, I’d have to share about the beautiful relationship that was a constant in my life and it was a man and his wife/ the man being my father’s best friend. He, in all the important ways possible, was my emotional father. We (as a family) saw them often over the years even with our traveling. He was an art teacher – a professor in a college; his wife taught art in high school. They had no children of their own and saw my brothers and I as the closest they came to having children. Dick lavished me with the gift of “noticing me” in the way that a young girl needs to be noticed: “I love that nail polish you are wearing”, How beautiful your hair looks in the sunlight”. For one never acknowledge by my own father, Dick made me feel like a princess. I did not go into teaching because of his being a teacher; but he was so delighted when I did. When my father remarried and he was told to rid himself of all who had known him before his new wife was in his life, Dick was one of the casualties. I believe I became his “mentor” then as he never could understand what “he” had done. I was able to share with him the dynamics that had brought this misguided disownment about – including my fathers own flesh and blood. He never really got over that loss but we remained close and I was able to spend a week with him after my mother died – a time I needed someone who loved her as much as I did to help me openly grieve. We grieved together. His wife had died a few years earlier. We shared of most all of our memories together. That was a treasured week and I was totally unprepared for his death coming one month after I returned home. It was not expected in any way. What a gift God gave to me in Dick – and what timing for us to have a week together to share about “my lifetime” of knowing him. A mentor? Perhaps in the deeper ways of how a father remains loving – yes. And that he is the one who comes to mind with that word – and Graham’s question – indeed it must be!

    Motivation: As one who is in my later years, I am surrounded by younger adults – some who were once my muxh younger students when I taught. I have never thought of myself as a mentor to them as we all just simply spend time sharing from our lives. But looking at this in the light of the questions – the word, “mento”r – we may have opportunities to speak into the lives of those coming a ways behind us in terms of years and experience. We all have our stories. We all have the experiences of what life has handed to us and how God has interwoven our faith to guide us along and through. The sharing at those depths becomes a mentoring time yet it may not have that label of intent upon it. I simply know that my life has been one of sharing with many and there is joy in the sharing. “The sower went out to sow some seeds. . .” Yes. Our stories and times of sharing are seed sowing times and we may never be conscious of it or how a word will affect another but if we lace our words with love and grace – all will be nourished in the experience.

  4. Carol Ritchie Says: June 16, 2016 9:40 pm

    Art or Indulgence
    “BU2B – Brought up to believe. Believe in what we’re told.” From one of my favorite Rush (Canadian Band) songs. Since I am in the food industry, the belief of pairing food with wine (or really wine with food as noted in your book) is something that is ingrained in me. It seems like the food rationing that you all experienced, and then Andre Simon’s vision and statement, basically reminding people that it was okay to enjoy the finer things in life helped guide them to “live it up?!?” Perhaps there was a bit more caution and respect for enjoying wine after rationing. What if Andre, or anyone else did not encourage people to indulge, our eating/drinking habits might have stayed consistent with moderation? I have visited wineries in California and Australia, I find the history, growers, winemakers, and families to be dedicated to their “art”. So in that respect, I find that the winemaking process is art. It helps me to respect the wine (and gives far greater rewards – appreciation for the process) than the mere satisfaction (or headache!) than going overboard. (borrowing from Andre’s quote!) And of course the pleasures of the table, connecting with people, fellowship, etc. I can see where it can be addictive, or anything for that manner. In teaching cooking classes, I find that the students are inspired by television food programs. The younger generation knows what Extra Virgin olive oil is. As a Midwestern American girl, I did not! I think there is hope in inspiring the future generation to take care.

    I feel rich with fantastic mentors! My mother is of course my mentor from birth. She set a good example, and a solid foundation for me. Early on, my dear friend Eileen set a clear path of leadership for me. She was my 4-H Horse Show leader. She is now a clockwork angel in heaven, and I carry everything she has taught me in my heart. Martin Yan and Nathalie Dupree are solid mentors, freely sharing advice, support and guidance. I treasure their friendship, and they both taught me to be strong, stay true to my passion and message, help others and pay it forward. Bishop Ackerman continues to be a strong mentor in my life. I have known him for 28 years, his wife is a treasured mentor and friend too. They have helped me stay grounded in my faith, and taught me the value of sharing my gifts. And of course you, Graham! Your shows and teaching have always inspired me. I soaked up your energy, and presentation skill example like a sponge. When I discovered “The New Seasoning Cookbook” that you wrote, it was the first time I had read a cookbook where your words seem to leap off the page and into my heart. This began a unique mentorship. I learned so much from you by your work, and then connecting with you through your reflective readers club (and Skype!) My dreams came true with you writing Flash of Silver and creating a way for us to all stay in touch and learn!

    Through my mentors, I have seen the value of passing it forward. Now that I am upstreaming, I find that being a mentor, and seeing talent flourish is even better than the success that I have experienced. I feel there is a need for more mentors that can simply listen, and share sound advice. It is our most important work!

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