It’s my 75th entry, which is a bit of a milestone. And I also found out yesterday that I’m going to graduate from law school. Seeing as how this blog was originally started as a way to keep me sane despite the rigors of studying law, I thought a relatively novel post was appropriate.
Inspired by a blog I recently discovered, Appellation Beer, I decided to borrow a blog concept they use: Fantasy Beer Dinners. Imagine that you’re hosting a dinner party, and you can invite any four guests, living or deceased. Then, what four courses would you serve them, paired with what four beers? I’m sure the oenophiles have come up with a version of this eons before, and the age-old question of which historical figure/s you would love to have a chat with and its variants.
Epicurus is known for lending his name to the movement called “Epicureanism,” which has grown (or regressed) to refer almost exclusively to hedonistic overindulgence. However, his teachings were geared more towards the elimination of suffering in order to live a peaceful and pleasurable life. Similar to the Buddhists. The main difference is that Buddhists eliminate suffering by not desiring, and Epicureans eliminate suffering by satiation. He is also regarded as the first thinker to advocate free will over determinism. As a former student of philosophy and a lifelong student of wonder and discourse, I would find it fascinating to get to talk to Epicurus about his world view and how he would feel about his name being lent to a bastardization of his philosophy.
I would invite the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire because I like the way he thinks. I enjoyed reading Candide and had a mighty good laugh at the novel. His thoughts on religion, God and freedom of speech have been greatly influential on myself. I would love to have a long talk with him over a meal and some drinks. I’m sure his wit and intelligence would leave me listening the entire time. Plus, since he’s French, he can probably appreciate a fine meal.
I’d also invite the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, but probably not for the most obvious of reasons. The guy had a bit of a complex – being short, he overcompensated by working out a lot. He had a way with the ladies, as our historians love to point out. He also seemed to be a pretty wild guy, especially during his time in Europe. A former history professor showed us photos of Rizal getting drunk, and quite possibly stoned, in Spain and Germany. Rizal himself wrote about going to biergartens regularly. For me, this was a humanizing factor which really led to a greater appreciation for our national hero. I’d relish the opportunity to get into his mind and just really see what he’s like behind the glitz and glamor. Plus he’d probably be the life of the party.
Jeffrey Steingarten is perhaps the most knowledgeable person to have ever lived when it comes to food. His books, The Man Who Ate Everything and It Must’ve Been Something I Ate are at the apex of food literature. I love how his writing is simultaneously humorous and exhaustive. He also has taken the career path that I want to follow someday: Lawyer – food writer – food critic – Iron Chef judge. The man is living the dream. I’d love to hear his banter with the other guests, and I know that he could hold his own among the other intellectuals I invited.
As for the food, I wouldn’t go with an excessively opulent four-course beer and food pairing out of respect to Epicurus and his philosophy. Each course will be inspired by one of the guests as well.
O-toro sashimi paired with Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner
His chapter on toro left my mouth watering, and it’s because of him that I’ve been dying to try it. Luckily, I’ve sampled a slightly lower grade of toro with the Morimoto Imperial Pilsner before, and it was excellent. Plus, I’m sure Steingarten will appreciate the slight wink in favor of a man whom he’s both criticized and lauded praise on numerous times – Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
Bratwurst paired with Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Not Filipino food? Well, given his time in Europe, specifically Germany, I’m sure Rizal could appreciate a good brat, poached in the beer before being grilled and then served with the same beer as well. Bratwurst poached in nut brown ales is a classic recipe for cooking with beer, and well, Rizal is a national hero of a brown race, and we are proud of it.
Pizza and Pliny the Elder
I’m sure Epicurus would love this. Pizza, but the simple kind – not the triple stuffed, overloaded with toppings sort that contains ten different kinds of meat. Just garlic and cheese, plus some peperoncino for heat. This will be excellent with Pliny the Elder, the best DIPA in the world, and a throwback to antiquity that Epicurus would appreciate.
Cassava cake and Southern Tier Mokah
Well, there’s Filipino for you. Cassava cake is my favorite Pinoy dessert, and when done right it is, despite its simplicity, rich, creamy and just as decadent as any French dessert Voltaire would have had. Equally as enjoyable is Southern Tier Mokah, with coffee and chocolate added to the brewing process – a nice twist on having an espresso with one’s dessert.
I’ll probably do more of this fantasy beer dinners in the future, with different themes, as to the guests, the beers, and the food to be served. That was fun. Here’s to 75 x 75 more posts. I hope this blog continues to entertain, and maybe even educate whoever is reading it.