Our Eating Lives features stories about how food, cooking, and eating have shaped who we are and how we live.
My day is made sacred by the formalized drinking of specific beverages at specific times. And I don’t use the word sacred loosely or tongue-in-cheek. I would never drink a cappuccino after three. Or wine before five; an exception being made for a Sunday-brunch mimosa.
Recent research showed that having rituals makes things taste better, and the ablutions I perform before my Espresso Maker attest to this. First I pad sleepily downstairs in my muumuu and turn the machine on. Then I grind the coffee. Is there a more bliss-inducing sound than the sound (and smell) of good coffee being ground? Perhaps only the sizzle and pop of a perfect farm-fresh egg being fried.
Thick and persistent crema achieved and properly caffeinated, I forge into the work of the day. The work? Often it is waiting for that golden hour after lunch when I permit myself to have a second cup of coffee.
For the Second Cup of the Day I appeal to the Drip Coffee Maker. This involves the ritualistic (and somewhat fussy) fitting into the machine’s basket a relic of my religion called the Paper Cone.
The afternoon yawns toward late afternoon and, kids home from school, and pre-dinner, I practice the venerable beverage tradition of my ancestors, the Episcopalians on my father’s side who helped found the city of New Haven. It is called The Cocktail Hour. Blessed be.
Updating this practice for modern times and tastes, I do not drink as they did — several bourbon old fashioneds — but I take down from my shelf the under-$10 bottle of wine from France suggested by Eric Asimov’s column in The New York Times that goes well with cheese. I pour a glass. The soft nose of evening noses me. I feel content. It was day well imbibed. Let evening come… and with it, chamomile tea.