At some point Mr.Standage forces me to a standstill, such things aren’t suppose to happen at tete a tetes , one is usually only obliged to manage to hold their liquor, smile defiantly and figure at least one witty thing to say during the course of the evening. What instead has transpired here (apart from my gastronomical deliverance) is the very thorough realization that what Mr. Standage happens to be saying is so clever, well observed and actually quite brilliant. Not that he didn’t figure this out earlier.
On the back of his previous book “A history of the world in six glasses,’ Mr. Standage has set out to explore how not history has influenced food but rather how food has very much been used to shape our current civilzation, affected the industrial revolution, led to the downfall of ideologues and been used to ferment cronyism and corruption in the third world amongst other things.
“See,” begins Mr. Standage “what you don’t realize, if it wasn’t for the Irish potato famine we’d probably wouldn’t have ended up with the industrial revolution. It was the demise of the agrarian system which led to a rethinking of economic stability and in fact the heralding of The Economist magazine which has always been about free trade.”
From there one is privy to more of Mr.Standage’s very thoughtful observations –hence the title of this evening’s tre exclusive dinner engagement “Food for thought,” which Mr. Bouley was so gracious to host.
Cocktails over and our appetites only just whetted we all proceeded upstairs where we all took our place amongst various dinner tables as we all listened with intrigue as Mr. Standage and Mr. Bouley openly pontificated with the merit of food, it’s vitriol, it’s influence on world affairs and how it has delivered us from one epoch to another.
From there our extremely affable and wonderful servers proceeded to deliver us a 5 course milieu of treats that left every person within earshot openly fawning.
Asked by my server before he served me my suckling duck and the comfit of vegetable mouse whether I had any allergies I proceeded to answer no in fact I had no known allergies but I confessed an abundance of ‘dis-functionalities.’
With our appetites absolutely restrained and dealt with heartfelt empathy by Chef Bouley who made a point of whisking by each table and greeting his guests we were all so ever delighted by our evening.
If I of course had to come up with a particular witticism perhaps it would be not ‘you are what you eat…’ but rather ‘you come from where you eat.’
In any event a splendid evening and to be sure it was all food for thought.