Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why we do what we do?

Red wine with red meat
At a Chinese lunch many years ago in Malaysia, the host honored me with an expensive bottle of red wine. To make the occasion even more special he asked the waiter for an ice bucket. I remember feeling a little odd and almost wasteful drinking chilled expensive red and eating spicy Sichuan cuisine.

Fast forward 15 years, sipping Sangria on my patio on a hot Australian summer got me thinking about the lunch in Malaysia. I start to wonder if it is really that odd?

I ask: "why is it that we do what we do?"

Just last week, I ordered eye fillet steak in a lovely restaurant owned by the French chef whose name I would not attempt to pronounce. The chef’s cooking genre is heavily influenced by his apprenticeship in Indonesia and he is now renowned for spice-flavoured steak.

I ordered a Sauvignon Blanc to go with my medium steak.

I caught the guy at the table next to me silently mouthing “red meat and white wine – huh?” to his girlfriend seated across his table. He was obviously trying to impress his date she had gone out with a man-about town, who would never be caught dead with white wine and red meat.

I cut a small piece of my steak with a sharp knife. A small piece of steak has a tenderer to-mouth experience than chewing a larger chunk. A sharp knife slices easily through the meat presented on the plate giving the diner the feel and expectation of a tender meat.

Pairing wine with food has only one objective and that is to enhance the experience of both food and wine either by complimenting OR contrasting with the food.

I chose to contrast my dining experience that night.

I wanted the crisp, acidic nature of the Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the spiced-up eye fillet leaving a refreshing sensation for the palate. In this way, every mouthful of this steak will be an ever new experience.

I savoured my spiced-up steak with the occasional sip of the fruity Sauvignon Blanc – I was in heaven.

I hope the guy at the next table enjoyed his Bueuf Burguignon (beef burgundy with bay leaves). I did not think his girlfriend was too impressed with his slurp, But he had red wine though – that must score some points with his girlfriend.

So why do we do what we do? I am sure I did what I did because I do think about what I do. I am not sure about the guy in the next table though..... CHEERS or YAMSING or KANPEI!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sante!....reminds me of the black envelope I received in the mail. Black?..Wow, i just received my new credit card..Its black, Tear the Platinum Plus card and convert it to black..platinum to black my grrrey cells say?..black = coal, charcoal, polluting black smog to replace my platinum!..wait i get more travel points with black so ...as i look at the charred remains of my platinum card & i wonder if Jian has missed the point. There are more points with RED.