Palate Pleasures: Surfe It

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(sir-fet) – An intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (as food or drink) – Webster Dictionary.

The happening upon of this word (not regularly in my vocabulary) resulted from the mis-translation of a request from the almost three year old (still haven’t worked out what she was on about) – a word that got me pondering on the propensity for excess in the realm of food and drink.

And that temptation certainly looms large for some, or even most of us, on occasion.
A touch of hedonism is well and truly on the cards when a celebration is in full swing – we have all thrown caution to the wind in the name of a good party, knowing full well that tomorrow may bring a twinge (or barrage) of regret in the form of a sore head, tummy ache – or worse.

Human beings have exhibited this trait since ancient times. The Greeks and the Romans had it down pat back then – (probably could give us a run for our money).
Within your average modern day restaurant it is something we still do witness and cater to on occasion – lunches that turn into dinners – that turn into dance floor extravaganzas, but for the most part we leave it to the Greeks and Romans, and reminisce (if we are old enough) about the ‘80s.In this day and age there are a multitude of things that seem to influence restraint – wallets, waistlines, RBTs, to name the obvious.

Whilst “everything in moderation” is a sensible philosophy to approaching the myriad of choices we face in life, I believe, it seems incredibly sensible to avoid extremism in any area yet still embrace the many possibilities there are … But then, there is another side to the coin, an equally sensible and obvious philosophy, that – “life is too short!”

And with this in mind, surely it is OK to let ourselves go for it a bit when we are fortunate to find ourselves in the coveted position of being able to feast decadently on food and wine.
I won’t lie, but certainly from the perspective of the restaurateur we don’t mind at all when you do. But our glee stems from not just the financial gains to be had, but from the pure no-holds-barred enjoyment of the dining experience. Without the usual constraints of finances, time management, health etc – the role of host in a restaurant sense really comes into its own. It is possible to provide true hospitality – in fact, to actually take the customer on a journey of delights, and whilst providing the experience for them, to live vicariously through them.

It can actually be an incredibly rewarding interaction – an opportunity for us to showcase the full possibilities of a culinary journey, test our knowledge of the cobwebbed gems from deep in the rear of the cellar. And an opportunity for human beings to truly kick back and relax in a social setting – without the cares and worries that impinge on our serenity.

This is where the true dining adventures happen and a mere meal becomes a legend!
Such Bacchanalian feasts are definitely not an everyday occurrence. And don’t get me wrong – it is very much possible to experience true dining delight on a much more minimalist scale. And the bonus is you get to wake up the next morning with a clear head too!

But I will conclude that next time you are choosing between an entrée or dessert, or a bottle or a glass – it is worth repeating this mantra: “life is too short!”
Happy dining! And, there’s always tomorrow …

This article was from issue 116 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus

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