What Food Brings to the Table

Whistler has had a non-stop deluge of rain, which has gone far to remove whatever romanticism I have about the place. Whistler with sun? Love it! Whistler with snow? I adore it. Whistler with rain? The town quickly becomes a mud-encased tourist center. As the area is designed as pedestrian-centric, it becomes a bit depressing to walk from one event to another.

But this is but a small thing. Overall, I’ve been having a great time.

Last night, I was given a ticket to a $250-a-head event celebrating both Araxi Restaurant and Penfolds Winery from South Australia. I’ve been thinking about this meal for quite sometime now, as there was something about it that was nagging at me, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

And then it hit me. For all of the high-end wines served, the glasses of Brut Rose served at the reception, for all of the money that was clearly and unabashedly in the room, it seems to me that there is much in common between the meal last night and, say, a family barbecue.

The basics of the meal work the same. Socializing at first with drinks and snacks, then a great meal where people laugh and enjoy themselves and are further lubricated by more alcohol. By the end of the evening, the crowd is quite raucous, and many people have had a good time. Yes, there are differences in what is consumed, but the structure of the evening is oddly similar.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be as surprising to me as it has been. But some in the food media have invested much in a narrative that presumes that the $250 meals are more “culturally significant”. From my observations on the evening, there’s more similarity in our approaches to food celebrations that extends beyond class.

Yes, the food was exceptional, as was the wine. But to the people laughing and drinking with their neighbors, was food their primary focus? Or was it simply a catalyst that helped push the evening into a specific direction? *shrug* It’s difficult for me to say. I suppose the best lesson learned last night was that the better the food and wine, the better one’s evening will be, regardless of whether the food was the focus or not.

By any measure, the folks at Araxi put on one hell of a party, and the evening was quite an event.