September reminds me of Muscat grapes in France. I shared the memory with a Hungarian chef at work last week and he knew exactly what I was talking about. A heady ghost scent is in me even across time and a great distance. It makes me wistful for Europe.
Occasionally I see them in Canada, but the best half is MIA. Where did their smell go? They are half measures and nothing more. It must be the varietal.
I took the photo in Les Halles market in Lyon. It doesn’t do them justice.
The grapes are straight out of a Renaissance still life — the colour of Panama grass with a vermillion blush. To walk by a display is a baptism in ripe lychee fruit, honey, and jasmine in bloom at night. It's the smell of desire.
It reminds me of a Friday night dinner a long time ago. Paul Bertolli cooking in the kitchen. Votive light dancing on the dining room walls of the Old Prune restaurant. Blustery Perth County snow out the window.
I was five months sober then and didn’t drink the Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois served with the almond cake for dessert. But I stuck my nose in a glass and inhaled deeply more than once. So pretty.
I knew to taste it with the cake was a pleasure. And I didn’t need to go there. By then I had an appetite for freedom.
I’ve been asked to be an international judge for the Irish Food Writing Awards. It feels like the Northern Lights in my heart — the fit is bespoke. Look at the lead judging panel. So many humans I admire.
A pile of stories will soon arrive.
To have two great passions — food and writing — in one short life is a privilege.
There are aging filters on TikTok. You can tell a lot about how a person feels about growing older by their reactions. So much of it is plain sad. Disturbing really.
We talk a big game about diversity and blow off a life time of experience. Whatever!
I’m here to tell you that growing old is beautiful. Mostly if you’re growing.
Here’s a man who handles the filter like a grown up. (He's currently stranded at Burning Man.)
And to be perfectly clear, men have an easier time aging, culturally speaking. For a bit of perspective, here’s what a 70-year-old beautiful woman deals with.
Harvest is here. It’s the season for preserving fruit. What are you putting down that will save you on a stupid cold March night?
I love the photo of Aretha as much as the song. She knew her power. And where it came from.
“You don’t find this song; this song finds you.” activestment640
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