Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why Do You Travel?

I travel like everyone else in that I want to see new places and have new experiences. But more importantly I go to learn and bring that wisdom home.

Little things like how to cook mussels. One day at lunch at L' Avant Comptoir, the tiny wine bar near the Odeon station in Paris, I saw clams served out of a teapot and began chatting up a new ex-pat acquaintance, an Italian married to an American, and he gave me the scoop. "The mussels are better. The trick is to pull them off the heat after 30 seconds of hard steaming. And don't add water."

Well, I went home, bought a teapot, and cheated by adding a splash of wine, some garlic and butter, because everything in life goes better with wine, garlic and butter. I do have an old habit of putting my own spin on everything. And in my experience everything is better with wine, garlic and butter. Think about it. The results were fantastic, so now I have three 'go to' dishes when entertaining, beyond the grilled bone-in Ribeye steak and Texas style Chili.

So I travel to learn and one is never too old to learn a new recipe, or to learn to make a better life, or to have better relationships. On the eve of turning another chapter in my life, I look forward to the next one, and the future is bright. You learn from your mistakes and keep your eyes open to better ways to succeed. And the teapot mussels are proof.

But I still can nail a wine/food pairing. And that's an old trick.