Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why I like my job today, the other reason.

I'm reading Of Human Bondage.  I like it, I should have read it thirty years ago (or more), but I like it.  Right now the kid is in Paris studying to be an artist. He eats at cafes and every meal includes wine as is the norm of that culture.

"The dinner was frugal, a plate of soup, a dish of meat, fruit, cheese, and half a bottle of wine..."

"...on the window was announced in large white letters: Dejeuner 1.25, vin compris."

I am aware, outside of Glendale California and pretty much most of the country,  that there is a way people live that is not very...American... but also, coincidentally, very appealing to my own aesthetic: simple, pleasant, and cognizant that we are only a small bit in a generous and magnificent ecosystem.  Whenever I read stuff like the above, or like wine maker's Elisabetta Gepetti's statement on her relationship to her terroir, I get nostalgic for something that in this country seems like a phantom idea. 

Not until I came to The Cave did I know anyone who drank - much of anything - and certainly not wine. I always ate well, always enjoyed cooking, but only since working here at The Cave have I come to see, and deeply appreciate, the importance and depth of connection to the terroir of our daily lives.  The Italians get it best, it seems, the very basic notion that all you have to do is reverently cultivate what's so generously been  provided us and then get out of the way. 

Versus, say, breeding it in a factory to do one thing and injecting it to do more of that and feeding it to do that some more and confining it so it does it faster and fatter and then shipping it everywhere.  For Americans, the relationship is with the label, the package, the bargain, the convenience, but not necessarily the food.

In this country, even in my family, people laugh at me for all this, but there is a world out there that gets it, countries and cultures where all this is the norm. The only people I know who embrace this are people who store wine here at The Cave. I'm so grateful for what they have given me, being here has changed me.  Yes, there's the mind-blowing generosity of product, but more than that is how that has sort of ...led my to myself, connecting me to these missing links.  The terroir is much richer for it. How does one possibly thank that?