Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.
I wonder what kind of reaction this week’s installment might get.
Our family recently rerturned from a trip to Ireland.
And it’s the Emerald Isle that provides the source for this week’s Culinary.
You mean the country where you had such a marvelous time ?
Yes, that country.
Let’s begin with this photo taken at Oliver St. John Gogartys, in the Heart of Temple Bar, in the heart of Dublin City.
Yours truly is with Tommy Bryne, the patriarchal leader of our tour guides, The Bryne Brothers.
What’s the no-no?
Is it that I am NOT drinking a Guinness?
NO, that not it.
Is it that it appears that I’m drinking some sort of girly-girly libabtion?
It’s a Tanqueray and tonic.
Is the no-no because the G & T is served in a goblet that’s probably best suited for wine?
Is it the garnish being a lemon instead of lime?
Could be difficult to SEE what the no-no is but it is indeed my beverage. And the no-no is actually not all that awful or egregious.
Order that cocktail at just about every Irish bar/pub and you might very well get a chalice-shaped glass with gin poured, and only gin. On the side will be a mini-bottle of Schweppe’s tonic water to be poured over alcohol. And also in the glass a very small number of tiny ice cubes. Hard to pick them out in the photo because they’re either so microscopic or have melted already.
Certainly not a major issue, but some of the Americans on our tour did take notice. They simply politely requested more cubes.
Apparently being stingy with ice is standard operating procedure in Europe. But why?
Lisa Bramen wrote about this on Smithsonian Magazine in 2011:
One explanation I’ve heard elsewhere, and which may hold some truth, is that Europeans see ice as taking up valuable real estate in the glass, so that they would feel cheated if they got too much ice and too little beverage. This theory has two problems: It doesn’t explain, again, why water shouldn’t be served with ice, and it doesn’t take into account the fact that one is often served a whole can or bottle of soda, which could then be used to refill the glass. My guess on the first issue is that drinking water with a meal is (or at least was) less common in Europe than here—a Parisian waiter once sarcastically presented my requested water as “Champagne”—and since no one had become accustomed to ice in drinks the preference carried over to water.
OK. Bramen also speculated as to why Americans like me wanted their Irish mixologist to be more generous ice-wise:
“My theory is that it has to do with our ‘more is more’ mentality. Because somewhere along the line free drink refills became the norm, giving customers lots of ice was actually seen as adding rather than subtracting value. It’s like the giant slab of cream cheese many delis slap on your bagel, when a light schmear would do nicely. Personally, I think they sometimes go overboard with the ice; I like my drink chilled, but not glacial.”
Me? If the cocktail requires rocks, I want glacial. Cubes to the top.
I close with this comment seen on Reddit:
It’s not that Europeans hate ice, but it’s just not a very practical way of cooling your drink, and alters the taste of whatever you’re drinking – which is fine if it’s supposed to be that way, but not if the beverage can stand on it’s own (would you ever put ice in your beer?). We Europeans just prefer to put it in the fridge and drink it once it’s been cooled that way.
One of the many reasons the Brits lost in 1776?
CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES
The Star-Spangled Banner as a weapon of mass terrorism or, Paulina is a complete idiot
Just Because the Menu Is Meant To Be Shared, Doesn’t Mean You Have To
Don’t Knock the Parmesan Espresso Martini Before You Try It
ICYMI, Culinary no-no #773: Is she wearing anything underneath that fur?
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