THE WELL-ROUNDED MAN KNOWS THAT THERE IS SO much more to
eating and drinking in style than a cold Bud longneck and a hot Hungry Man dinner. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with a good gut-filling meal. But there’s nothing wrong with higher-end food and drink. It’s not just about being open to experiencing different foods and different spirits
—although why wouldn’t you be? It’s about knowing how you prepare, present and consume that food and drink. It’s all a grand ritual.
Mastering the dining arts means letting go of some preconceived notions. No more stuffing your napkin into your shirt collar. You’re all grown up and the type of sophisticated dining you’ll be doing from time to time requires you keep your napkin in your lap, among many other subtle changes. Start by avoiding reverse snobbery. Sure, it’s easy to make fun of dressing for dinner or using multiple forks over the course of one meal. But since when did a Manskills man take the easy way out?
The trick is to understand that dining fine doesn’t have to be stuffy. It’s not about snooty waiters, uptight blowhard food critics, or drinking to a dollar amount. The real point is that it can be totally fun and cool. You don’t have to be a pretentious prat to open a bottle of champagne like a wine captain, or craft an omelet like a chef. Great food and great booze are their own reward and, if you have to dress a bit fancy to get there, you’re still the same dude inside.
Moving easily through the vaulted corridors of finer bars and restaurants (or your own culinary wizardry) really only requires a modest amount of knowledge and the skills that let you take advantage of all the pleasure the culinary arts have to offer. Develop a flair for mixing a delicious cocktail, hone your knife-handling abilities for kitchen duty, and perfect your grilling skills, and you will have a food-and-drink repertoire to make any man envious and satisfy everyone’s hunger.