Tuesday, December 13, 2011

May I recommend roasting a few extra quail, for contingency's sake?

Alumni of our entry on frogs legs might be the first to attest, to how the circumstances of everyday life occas-ionally present the venturesome palate with impromptu opportunity. Particular-ly in these holiday weeks, guests of a keen appetite and brow may pile aboard without texting, and it would be folly to hold them to that formality. No one is ever more satisfied - don't we find - than with his own, personal animal; and a brace of quail affords a lishy jumble of legs for munching. I happen to like a Nuits-St-Georges if the birds are seasonal game, a Volnay if not; but the Champagne one's begun with will always do. A cuvée rosé will nicely split the difference.

But I concede to you, these are very orthodox approaches; yet I grew up in a household, when birds were served, where a brace of sterling cocks would grace the table, from another century. You may say what you like against silver, or rather what you like in favour of little plants in shiny cachepots. But nothing flashes like it, the warmth and colour of the viands before one's face; and they are our subject.

With wine, the venial sin of our time is to offer a feast as a plinth for exhibiting the vintage. Apart from being in exceptionally poor taste, at great sacrifice of the senses being celebrated, this is simply a vanity invented by vintners. You'd probably be right to think, the company might prefer a luscious white with the quail; the answer is rather a quick sauté in extra virgin olive oil and de-glazing in Spätlese, say, for its delicate residual sugar and forward fruit, and then

relying on continuing with a non-vintage brut from a good house; and the silver will likely turn vermeil before your gaze, picking up the gold in the glass and on the plate. Technique, with ingredients, is as fundamental in their delectation as their natural selection, in the first place. But as to that, has a personal animal not always posed a natural claim, spontaneous, unor-thodox, or not? Moreover, all of nature abhors an appointment. In spon-taneity we learn how the waste of our unctuous wines is not in expending them, but in exposing them to comparison.

One has occasion to reflect on this, in these swirling days and nights of repat-riated families, hobbledehoys back home to supplement allowances and endure forgotten aunts. Lamentably, the diaspora seldom diffuses that illumination with which it bursts, in the scene of its conception. We must wonder why that is. But that project of diffusion does take place, and all we suggest is, a tolerant readiness toward the personal animal, and a wine of measured deference to the glow.

vi  the birds guy

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