Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An Inspired Word

Inspiration.  It's not a simple word.  It invokes, at times, feelings of awe, and often feelings of determination.  It's not a simple action- both to inspire and to be inspired, but when it is achieved, beauty rides it's coattails.  It isn't something that you can plan for- it is something that just happens, like a flash of lightening that doesn't alert you to when it will strike.  

However, as hard as inspiration is to achieve, it takes only seconds to lose.  Negativity, doubt, monotony...all can take an eraser to the pencil of inspiration and wipe it away.  And then that ugly word drudgery takes over.  This is visible every day unfortunately- routines take over, and the bright colors that inspiration lends dull out into gray, and here is where "average" resides.

The world of food and wine is one of the easiest places to see this.  People often refer to me as a food snob based on the restaurants I gravitate to, I instead see myself as a seeker of inspiration.  Food writers are famous for saying that the food in certain establishments is "inspired".  They don't often go on to explain that however.  What we mean, if I can take the liberty to define it for all, is that the chef isn't following the trend.  The chef has lived an experience, seen something majestic, be it a sunset, or an incredible dance routine, or witnessed an act of love and has transferred whatever that was to the plate in front of his diner.  It means that laurels haven't been rested on, that true flavor hasn't been substituted for butter and salt.  It means that what that chef is serving to you, next to that piece of chicken or seared scallops, is heart and soul.  It's creativity, courage, imagination and yes, inspiration.  It is meant to tell the diner a story and, with any luck, pass on inspiration.

Each week when I have the opportunity to teach people the fundamentals of wine, I spend a portion of this time talking about wine as a piece of art.  What is art, really?  The expression of a person's love, right?  Art is something, sound or sight, that represents what is in a person's heart.  Wine, and food, are forms of this.  When wine is created by a vintner with pride and with love, it shows.  Just as a chef finds ways to season his food without crutches or easy ways, a vintner does the same.  They look to the earth, to the weather, to their topography, and ensure that what they bottle is a representation to what the year gave them.  They don't doctor it with chemicals, instead they work with what they are given to offer their customers something beautiful; something inspired by the year they were given.

Inspiration is around every corner, it is in every meal or in every glass of wine when prepared with love.  I was reminded this weekend of what this really looks like, and now I challenge us all to seek inspiration.  I challenge us all to find real love, the love that pushes us to be the best version of ourselves, to take risks, to break the monotony, to buck the norm.  Put the schedule on hold, turn your face to the sun, and breathe- inspiration will find you.  

And find a really good glass of wine...         


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