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Attitudes and Platitudes

July 21, 2006
Not wanting to repeatedly rant unending platitudes, not wanting to keep on repeating the “repetition of the obvious,” one must nonetheless keep on keeping on ranting as to why wine, whiskey, smoking, dining and drinking are the avowed enemies of certain societal segments circa 2004.  Don’t we have too much else too worry about? War, crime, poverty, lack of health care, homelessness, hopelessness, but no, we must concentrate resources on the smokin’, eatin’ and drinkin’ wars. The no-no-nannies just can’t help themselves in their attempted quest to cheat death. Hey guys in case you haven’t heard, just like excessive hospitaxity on the hospitality sindustry, death is inevitable, so we might as well enjoy life while we are living. It’s neo-prohibitionists gone wild. But in an effort to keep up refuting their holier than thou philosophy, here are a few platitudes from some very wise sources. 

The Washington D.C. area is in the midst of an incredible celebration of the veterans of a past war, “America Celebrates The Greatest Generation.” The World War II veterans are a charming lot, walking around The Mall on Memorial Day; one could see the pride of a job well done in their eyes and pleasure at the recognition due to their great sacrifices. But how wonderfully politically incorrect some of them are. The following endearing quote is from Maureen Dowd’s New York Times Sunday May 31, 2003 column, “An Ode to Clarity,”  “We won because we were the smoking and drinking generation” grinned 83-year-old Joseph Patrick Walsh, who was part of the “miserable, cold” Normandy invasion.” Oh my God, they smoked and they drank and they fought a hellish war for our freedom and the lucky ones lived to tell and rightfully boast about it. In fact, there is a lot that is not terribly p.c. in related exhibits on The Mall, like a pack of Lucky Strikes in a display on Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in WWII, as well as numerous photos of smoking GI’s.

But times change, scientific discoveries are made, smoking is bad for you, food and booze overindulgence can be bad for you. But a little imbibing can also be good for you and in 1395 a lot of imbibing was recommended as beneficial. Note this Travel Section article also from the May 31, New York Times by Christopher Solomon, “Counting Euros, Not Calories, On a Sojourn in Strasbourg,” “In 1395 when it was not unheard of to prescribe a quart of wine a day for illness, a wine cellar was established in Strasbourg’s hospital, now called the hospital Civil. Now, each year, experts chose the most promising products of Alsace’s vineyards to mature and be bottled in there. Later, sales help benefit the hospital.” Digest that little tidbit CSPI, wine as therapeutic as prescribed by doctors!

Same Memorial Day, same museum, The Museum of American History where one can and should visit, Julia Child’s fantastic kitchen. Along with her DC-purchased Garland stove and cat memorabilia, it is filled with some her favorite quotes and anecdotes on her love of France, food, wine and the dining experience: “Wine is part of the food chain. In France and Italy people don’t drink to get drunk, they drink wine as part of a meal, it makes it more pleasant…there’s not anything evil about it, its part of the food.”  This original American icon of hospitality also states, “The thing about food is that you’re a much happier person if you eat well and treasure your meals” and “above all have a good time.” Knowing her love of life and of real butter, can you imagine Julia menu labeling her food and beverage for calories, grams of carbohydrates, milligrams of sodium and grams of saturated fat plus trans fat, as proposed by some legislators?

The New York Times Travel Section echoes Julia’s sentiments with the entire May 23, 2004  section devoted to the dining experience as the raison d’être of choosing vacation destinations. The big-type, capitalized headline is, “FOOD AS THE DESTINATION,” with articles on great Greek, Italian, French, cuisine, along with “Off the Interstate, great meals await: Dining detours in Durham, Malibu, New Haven and near Chicago.” Road rage could surely be diminished if one was anticipating tasty meals factored into travel itineraries.

So be sure to continue to celebrate living by indulging according to RAMW‘s platitude with attitude: Dine Out, Dine Often, Dine Deliciously and damn the torpedoes and anti-hospitalians.