August 29, 2007
To the Monk Thich Nhat Hanh
September 2, 2007

A new sidebar for a Champagne story we’re running in DiningOut—of my own creation. Let me know what you think. (Isn’t it nice to have a sneak preview?)
(the following is copyright 2007 DiningOut magazine)

Mr. and Mrs. Smith have invited you to their legendary holiday gala. It’s elegant, indulgent, and chic. Rumor has it, only the most stylish attend.

As you stand in front of the mirror, fixing your cummerbund and realigning your necklace, you wonder if perhaps a bit of flourish isn’t appropriate for the guest of honor: a 4-ounce tin of imported Beluga caviar. It’s a delicacy only the famous seem to enjoy, quietly savored with a bottle of—what else?—Dom Pérignon. As you rifle through your closet, looking for the perfect accompaniment to haute cuisine fish eggs, you imagine yourself a celebrity. Who would most likely be seen scarfing down a caviar-laced blini—and get away with it?

Whoopi Goldberg has sass, you think. She’s got poise, a bit of pomp, and a strange spiritual aura that makes her the perfect catch for movies featuring nuns. She’ll take the saltier, intense Sevruga caviar on a Ritz cracker and down it with a cookie-smelling Cristal Roederer 1997. It’s acidic, but childlike just the same—one way of breaking a stuffy adult habit.

But what about…

He felled audiences when he parted the Red Sea. At the moment, you’re struggling with the task of parting your hair. Still, you esteem the great Charlton Heston. So much so, you think you’d enjoy his flute of Pol Roger 1996, manly grasped and confidently sipped with a side of Tobiko caviar —straight from the spoon. The Jews didn’t even have sandals, you say to yourself. Why would I need a cracker for my caviar?

Or maybe…

He’s mysterious enough. Even enigmatic, you muse. As you shift your sunglasses over your sideburns, smiling into the bathroom mirror, you think: Ringo Starr would have a glass of Taittinger Brut Non-Vintage next to his gargantuan drum set. Between courses—or songs—you could affect a delicious British accent, still wearing your sunglasses, and drink the bubbly straight from the bottle. Then you’d reach for the tin of Beluga, smile, say your name for the crowd, and tease a fish egg or two from the rest with the tines of a nearby fork.

Someone honks. It’s time for the party. You realize your hair still isn’t parted, you’re wearing a pair of 1970s Elton John sunglasses, and you’ve never actually seen a nun drink.

Maybe next year you’ll go as a celebrity.

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