Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Vino Veritas

Last night was "nibbles" at my neighbor Kate's house where we all got to meet her childhood pal Wendy, and taste her her wines from Australia. "Hers," as in: Wendy made them. (I think her husband helped, but still....) She's a winemaker, and they have about 100 acres (or 30 something hectares, or 130-something hectares... I got kinda lost in translation).

I was especially impressed that Wendy managed to get our tasting supply into the country, because I recently saw Bottle Shock and had the impression you could only transport two bottles at a time. (Alan Rickman shoutout to Rachel -- I consider Alan Rickman to be Rachel's property, sorta the way Sam Shepard is mine.) I had the Pinot Noir and found it precocious, but not pretentious... sporty, yet insouciant... sardonic, but not smug -- much like me. All I know is it held up very well to the plateful of wasabi tenderloin biscuits I ate.

I am trying very hard to take up drinking. I don't wanna end up face-down in a gutter or anything, but I do consider wine to be culinarily significant and if you're gonna take food seriously, you oughtta know your way around a bottle or two.

A fellow guest at the party was trying to give up smoking, and I felt bad for her, because it's my understanding that wine makes you want to smoke (so I expect I'll be taking that up around 2010). She said it was getting easier with the help of ..."Vitamin X," to which I expressed inadvertently loud incredulity. "Really? Ecstacy helps you give up sssssmoooooking?" That stopped the conversation for a few minutes til she clarified that "Vitamin X" is just Xanax, and that I'd probably learn about that when I was her age. (She didn't know I woulda ground benzodiazapenes into my childhood Cheerios if I'd been allowed, but I really did think "X" and "E" was what "the kids today" called Ecstasy.) I also felt sad cause she can't watch Mad Men while she's trying to quit smoking. Then another lady said she can't watch Entourage cause she's trying to quit smoking pot. I assumed most people had given it up cause it got so douche-y.

There were about a dozen of us girls last night. Kate and Wendy are English, but if I'm remembering correctly went to Catholic school together in Bahrain. Wendy had a scholarship to Cambridge in the Classics, but got married and had 4 kids in Holland with her husband before moving to Australia. Another lady was Swedish; another married to a Brit... and so on.

The only thing I could think of to conversationally fall back on in such a transcontinental crowd was, "What do your roosters say?"

[I got that from David Sedaris, in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim: "'What do your roosters say' is a good icebreaker, as every country has its own unique interpretation. In Germany, the rooster greets the dawn with a hearty 'kik-a-riki.' Greek roosters crow 'kiri-a-kee,' and in France they scream 'coco-rico,' which sounds like one of those horrible premixed cocktails with a pirate on the label. When told that an American rooster says 'cock-a-doodle-do' my hosts look at me with disbelief and pity."]

Now, I'm not a total dumbass -- I didn't ask this completely out of context. We were talking about one of the ladies at the party who raises chickens in her backyard downtown -- which I thought was illegal (awesome, but illegal)-- and it turns out it isn't. You can raise chickens downtown, but not roosters. (Everyone else was far more up to date on the city livestock ordinances than I was, which was kind of embarrassing.) The problem is, when you order up baby chicks, you can specify hens, but inevitably, a rooster or two sneaks in. When they're babies, they look pretty gender-indeterminate (now this, I did know, having been raised on a farm and been disappointed by many a crop that grew up to lay no eggs, which was just one of many of my failed brilliant get-rich-quick childhood schemes).

So, I thought "what do your roosters say?" was a perfectly natural conversational segue... but it was initially greeted with uncomfortable silence, as if I'd asked somebody how much money they make. I didn't know it was so personal, or maybe just stupid. And I was just starting to awkwardly explain about David Sedaris, when the Swedish lady gamely stepped right in and said, "Kookly-Oooo." I think there was maybe an umlaut or something in there somewhere, but you get the idea.

She also reported their dogs say "voof, voof." How great is that?

No comments:

Post a Comment