Daily Archives: September 21, 2011

The Gastronome

Gastronome definition -a connoisseur of good food; gourmet; epicure.

Looking through my very old copy of The Anti Bull Cookbook once again, I came across an article about a gastronome.  We have all met them.  “He’s portly, fruity and rather pretentious, not to say on many occasions, downright pompous.”

Fortunately, these people seem to become more rare as this 21st Century progresses but I clearly remember such a person.

When we were newly married and very young and living in London, my late husband and I had been asked for dinner by one of his business acquaintances.  It seemed to be a good thing for Robert’s career prospects and as we were being asked to a first-class restaurant, he accepted with alacrity.  Oh dear, what a mistake.

The host was so very pompous and as soon as we were seated in the restaurant began by telling us all the places in the world where he had eaten.  Many were Michelin star rated and he proceeded to give them his own rating.  He then took over the process of ordering for all of us.

Having accomplished this the Sommelier was called  – no mere wine waiter for him – and a lengthy discussion ensued on the correct wines to have with each of the courses.

Then followed two of the most boring hours I have ever endured.  This man was used to laying down the law to his underling sycophants.  He knew everything about everything and he had strong views on all things.

The food was excellent but that I suggest was nothing to do with him.  He had chosen one of London’s (then) top restaurants.  How could he fail?  But how the time dragged.

These people were at least 25+  years older than us.  Can you picture it?  A 20-year-old and her 28-year-old husband, out ‘on the town’ with this pompous 45+ gourmand?  His wife who was a quiet little mouse said very little. After being introduced to us she sat back and let her husband take over.  From the dreamy look in her eyes, she had taken herself off to some other, more interesting place.  No doubt she had plenty of practice and no doubt she had heard his ramblings many times before.

It was an interesting evening. I had never met anybody quite like him before and there was the added bonus of a Michelin starred restaurant in which we ate. And in retrospect, I did learn a lot from him, once I could put aside the bull nonsense and listen to what he said about food and wine.  But  I wasn’t in any hurry to repeat it.  I couldn’t imagine having these two for dinner in our one-bedroom, ‘garden flat” – here read’ semi-basement with access to rear garden’ in a not particularly upmarket area of London.  And as at that time, my husband’s expense account was measly, we didn’t reciprocate.  I did know enough to send a thank you note to the wife the next day with some flowers.  But spend time in his company again – never!

“A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek”  Samuel Johnson