Beer has gotten a bad rap as a second class beverage. We can thank our ancient roman ancestors for helping to establish beer as a beverage of the barbarians. Wine was the prefered drink of their region and due to their prolific territorial expasion, cultural diffusion passed on the concept of wine being the choice of the aristocracy. Over the last seventy years, we as beer consumers have driven this concept home by falling for modern beer advertisement. Thanks to the Bud Bowl, frost brewing (which is impossible), clydesdales, 'twins', blue mountains that tell us when beer is cold, and bikini clad volleyballers, beer has been relegated to cookouts and frat parties. We have been taught that wine is for white cloth dining, fine cheeses, and glass swirling philosophical exhortations. Notice that there are no wine bongs. Beer has become fast food, McBeer is pervasive.
I believe that beer is food. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored not slammed down our gullets in super sized portions. The same holds for beer. I love food the same way I love beer, and this love of food comes from family.
In my family, we eat. We eat well and for long stretches. We make noise when we eat, not lip smacking, but sublingual utterances. Others around the substantial table return serve. Then when one course is done, we lean back from the table and talk, laugh, and reminice. Then we do it again. This is what family is to me.
This is how we eat:
The first course is the antipasto course. Platters of cheeses, soft to hard, pepperoni, olives (with pits or stuffed with cheese), roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, bread (always bread), marinated artichoke hearts, etc.
The second course is usually pasta. The range is of pastas and sauces are wide: penne, linguine, raviolli, gemelli, rotini served with marinara plain or with various meats, white cheese and cream based sauces, or various vegtable based options. Oh, and bread.
The third course is often times the meat course. Beef, pork, chicken, or fish. One this to be sure, there is always more food than those assembled can enjoy at one sitting. There is usually a salad and another vegetable to accompany. Did I mention bread?
Dessert for my First Communion party, and for all of the parties in our family is The Cake. It is a multilayer cake, chocolate filling in the middle layers, heavy whipping cream frosting, all on the base of a fluffy and moist white cake.
I don't care for cake, but The Cake is something different.
When my family gets together, they do so around the table. We eat, talk, rest, and repeat until the host decides that enough food has been served. We laugh and we laugh loud. We hug, we pinch, and we punch as well. It might sound strange, but food seems to be at the root of our familial bond, because it is there around the dinner table that that bond is forged.
This is why I think beer is food. I love beer, but I rarely crack open a bottle unless I have someone to share it with. No one throws together a five course meal just for themselves, it is a waste of something good. The same stands for beer.
That's why I say, drink good beer with good people.