Ancient Fire is the name of my brand of homemade wines, meads, ciders & beers. Under that name I also write articles on my projects, wines from around the world, food & pairing, the wine business, wineries, travel and all things I enjoy in this life. -- Jason
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
What Comes Next?
I got away
to Vermont (the source of the photos) for our first summer trip this past
weekend. The best lazy days at the house in VT involve, walks along the nearby
wooded dirt roads and hours sitting in the shade catching up on magazines and
books I’ve been socking away.
all-of-the nothing with new & interesting beverages and effortless meals
provided lots of time to consider menus, new drinks and recent food and beverage experiences. It was clearly fate that two pieces I read over the weekend
got me thinking about a next evolution in wine and food evangelism, i.e. wine
and food blogging.
I have always
believed that at the core of every successful and inspiring food and beverage
professional is a salesman for the product and the bandleader for the buzz all around
it. Having that, the creativity of these chefs, designers, sommeliers, growers,
producers and the others around them can create magnetism for ravenous consumers.
These actors CAN be magnetic, but only if their creativity and personality show
piece was the editorial opener for Beer Advocate Issue #65 penned by Jason
& Todd Alstrom who founded and edit Beer Advocate for the ranks of the beer
geeks everywhere. In “Does Your Local Support Its Locale” Jason and Todd make
it clear that local isn’t separate from quality and the “coolness” of the
people involved, and only when it has those two things is local beer worthy of unconditional
support. Yes, I agree on this point as well. I further expand the point to wine and food too, and yes this means there are rules. No
kidding, there always have been rules. For those of us who write about our culinary
adventures as fans, we need to take notice. We can’t cheerlead for empty products
or ideas and expect to be taken seriously or garner support. We too need to be authentic and bring something
interesting to the party!
piece was “Is Seasonal Eating Overrated?” in the August 2012 issue of Food & Wine Magazine.
article writer Katherine Wheelock pokes at the issue of what to make of
seasonal menus; how ingredients get trotted out their respective season and the
dearth of creativity many restaurants and chefs bring along with the season’s
bounty. Again with the rules. She and the chefs she interviewed state that nobody
should be breaking their arm trying to say “good job” to themselves just
because their menu tracks the seasons like a sundial. It’s about the creativity
exercised on the ingredients and not just because they are in season. Again,
authenticity and creativity matter.
So where the
hell I am going with this? Authenticity matters. Make it personal. Dig deeper. Be
creative. Doing so will net rewards in the relationships you create and the
opportunities you find in front of you. That’s where I’m going.
None of us
should be writing about boring seasonal lineups of food and wine just because
they are seasonal. Why praise chefs who aren’t being all that creative? Do you
write about restaurants? Share the ones that really show you something, eat at the others. Wine?
Scrap boring reviews and write about the people, the food or the setting. Beer?
Same thing. The who and why trumps the what. Wine-making or beer-making? Ask
about the why, you can learn the how.
“But I want
to share and participate in the community!” Of course, we all do. When you don’t
have something interesting to share be a cheerleader for other worthy
individuals who do. They get feedback, you learn and the community gets bigger
and stronger when we all do this.
writing this post soon after I got home from Vermont. The next day I came across a
similarly themed post by friend and fellow blogger Richard Auffrey. In “Rant: No More Burgers & Cupcakes” Auffrey opens with the question “Whatever
happened to originality?” Read the rest of his post for his thoughts on folks
pig piling on food trends and the glut of trendy food that is neither original
or interesting. This confirms I am not alone in my feelings and that the game