Wine: a mysterious and forbidding drink that must be approached with trepidation and reverence, for who knows what horrors might await the unprepared soul who takes a sip!
Wine is complicated, fraught with potential for disaster. What if you choose the wrong one? What if you pick a bad year? What if you can’t get the cork out? How can you tell if it’s gone off? At what temperature do you serve it? How do you store it? Do you have the right glasses? How much should you pour? How do you hold the glass – by the bulb or the stem? What if you don’t like it? Do you have to swirl it around and do that strange mouth-swash thing when you take a sip? Must you describe it with a rarified, codified language that makes no sense? What is a bouquet, and must one also present it to the hostess? Come to think of it, how does one give a bottle of wine? In a paper bag? In a box? In a velvet sheath? And should the hostess open the bottle you bought or one she already has on hand? Why is wine that is actually red in color bad? How come it’s called “red” then, and not “burgundy,” or “claret”? It is? Why is wine that is called “noir” not black then? What wine should you drink with which course? What’s up with those bottles woven in straw, and why did people cram candles in them? Is wine that comes with a screw-top bad? What about plastic corks? Do you have to wear a smoking jacket to enjoy wine? How much is too much? Do people still stomp on grapes with their bare feet to make wine? That’s nasty.
Wine in Cooking and Dining, Culinary Arts Institute, 1976