Matt Kramer has an interesting comment last week on how he came to writing about wine:
"They were simple times (thank heaven) [when he began writing about wine.] . And in the provincial reaches where I worked, where the chilled salad fork was seen as the height of dining refinement, I was safe.
Later, after devoting myself exclusively to wine, I was surprised to learn that my fellow wine writers did not come from the food world. Many of them, in fact, were former sports writers.This was a shocker. They talked (and wrote) about wine as if they were trading baseball cards.
There's still, to this day, a major divide between the food and wine worlds.You might be astonished to discover how little many food writers (and chefs) know about wine. And how little many wine writers know about food."
Kramer's hypothesis, like many of his ideas, made me think hard about his basic point. I know in my case, I ate lots of food before I came to wine, that I learned a great deal of factual information about wine, and only then tried to learn about cooking in a serious way. Today I would rate myself pretty low in terms of expertize, but learning about food and wine at about the same rate.
But there is a clear divide. In Julia Child's memoir about her life in France, she describes her husband Paul as someone who set up a tasting group, who collected incredible amounts of information about various wineries and wine regions, but who really didn't know much about food -- even though he enjoyed her cooking thoroughly.
Of course, Julia went the other way -- threw herself into learning about French cooking with some incredible results. But, although she clearly enjoyed wine and had some nice ideas about matching food and wine, her basic wine knowledge was, she admits more than once in this memoir written at the end of her life, pretty superficial.
How about you? Which category do you fit into:
1. Much more knowledgeable about food than wine.
2. Much more knowledgeable about wine than food.
3. Kramer's full of it -- I know a great deal about both food and wine.