WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
My wife and I spent a wonderful afternoon on Christmas Day serving delicious Christmas meals to some of the loveliest people I have ever met. Proud veterans from our military, young and old, from Vietnam to Afghanistan theatres of war, who have served this nation proudly and whom we served proudly with fabulous food and fun conversation. They deserve to eat well every day, and they have earned the right to have a roof over their heads. Tomorrow they probably won’t eat and may sleep over a vent.
Let’s stop worrying about foreign countries and focus on our own domestic crisis. Let’s resolve to give our servicemen and women an opportunity to enjoy the American Dream when they return from fighting for other countries’ dreams, which benefit our leaders in Washington, D.C., and little else.
The Philadelphia Veterans House works in conjunction with the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other veterans service organizations to provide shelter, meals, support and administrative liaison for homeless veterans as they seek to rebuild their lives. As we begin 2015 I would like to ask you to consider buying one less bottle of wine on your next visit to the wine store and sending the money you don’t spend to Philadelphia Veterans House, 4108 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19104. More information at www.phillyvetshouse.org.
Speaking of wine, after 20 years you know my philosophy about wine and food pairings. I don’t believe in them. Whichever wine you feel works well with your favorite food is the absolute perfect marriage. It’s your palate, and yours alone. I do have one suggestion that might help you determine a food and wine pairing if you don’t trust your own judgment.
I mentally use my arms as a scale. I imagine the food I am about to eat in the palm of my left hand. Is the food heavy, like steak? If so, the hand will be weighed down. Or is it light, like Sole? In that case, my hand will remain outstretched to my side. In my other hand I want to fill a glass with the wine best suited to the weight in my food hand. If the hand with the food is sagging, then I need to counterbalance in my wine hand with a heavy wine. Probably a robust red, such as Sangiovese. However, if the hand with the food doesn’t sag at all since it is holding Dover Sole, then the wine should also be light. Perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors don’t worry me as much as the balance. You don’t want a heavy wine to overpower the taste of the food or vice versa. It’s common sense and it seems more logical than the marriage concept.
I have to return to our Christmas Day experience. As I watched the temporarily well-fed veterans of our armed forces leave the Philadelphia Veterans House and step into the cold December evening, I couldn’t help thinking about our country’s priorities. Not only the USA, but also my original home, the U.K. and how both countries treat not only our hungry homeless veterans but our homeless and hungry fellow human beings in general. And how they are ignored as they lie over the vents in our cities or shuffle through congested traffic with their cardboard signs, begging for money. And I heard myself reciting a poem by Sir Walter A. Raleigh, who died in 1922:
“I wish I loved the human race
I wish I loved its silly face
I wish I liked the way it walks
I wish I liked the way it talks
And when I’m introduced to one
I wish I thought: “What jolly fun.”
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining