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Lightly Toasted: Chronicles of the Friday Night Cocktail Club

The One Drink Professor 
Oct. 18, 2010 11:51 am 
Updated: Oct. 19, 2010 3:27 am
I wouldn't call it a hijacking exactly. But under some duress I'm now going to turn the blog over, for a few weeks, to the One Drink Professor. To be perfectly honest, I'm not at all convinced he's an actual professor. But he dresses like one. He smells of pipe smoke. And after a cocktail, he's inclined to increasing levels of gasbaggery, as you will see. Little can be done to stop him. Except to pour him a second drink. And then if you're lucky, in a while, he gets sleepy.

What follows here are brief discussions over a series of evenings between the Friday Night Cocktail Club and the One Drink Professor. They have been heavily edited for your protection.

The One Drink Professor stares into what remains of his crystal-clear Plymouth martini. He is approaching the halfway point. I ask him if he's a "martini's half full"  kind of guy.

We've set a leisurely pace. Soon we're talking about Allrecipes.

"How long has Allrecipes been around?" he asks.

"Something like 14 years, maybe 13," I say.

The One Drink Professor quietly turns a cocktail olive in his glass before saying, "Well, Allrecipes has really shrunk the world, you know?"

This I recognize as a rhetorical question.

"Cuisines developed over long periods of time, more or less in isolation. They were very tied to their place. You've removed the barriers and made everything accessible. You've brought the cooked and the cookers into the same room. You've collapsed the geological and social walls. You've flattened the world."

"Not me, really. I just work in Editorial."

The One Drink Professor is now two-thirds through his drink, and he's opening up. I ask him, "Haven't cookbooks already done that?"

"Not to the same extent. Not with such immediacy. Cookbooks could never do it. The library would need to cover every cuisine in the world--and there could be no real-time communication, no dialog. If I want something familiar and comfortable, I can always find it: Meatloaf, tuna casserole, baked chicken, or lasagna. Or if I want to explore, I can do that, too. If I suddenly have a hankering for Indonesian satay, I can find it, last minute before I leave work, maybe discover a few interesting tweaks, and then stop at a grocery and have it for dinner. Or I can even change my mind on the way to the store, and decide I want Moroccan food, use my iPhone app to find a recipe--and it all works out. As long as I can get the ingredients, and increasingly I can, it's mine. It's shrinking the world down to the size of a...dinner plate."

He is now staring into the cold clarity of the final few sips of his martini. "That's a lot to accomplish in just a little over a decade. Technology is on a trajectory, you see."

I had to agree that it was. The One Drink Professor was hitting some kind of stride.

"Well I'm taking the long view now. This thing that you have here, it's the latest tool in a long line of tools that have helped us feed ourselves. Once technology was unleashed, it was really set forth on an insane trajectory, where one day we're knapping out hand axes from stone, and the next we're dreaming up the idea for the fish hook or bow-and-arrow, and the next Steve Jobs is announcing the delivery date for the iPhone and Allrecipes is launching an app for it."

Things are beginning to get a little fuzzy now. They will most likely be cleared up, but next time.

"At any rate, It's a great time to be around, and to be hungry," says the One Drink Professor, and just like that we begin to think about the possibility of dinner.
Oct. 19, 2010 2:48 am
Haha! Glad I happened to catch this. Very entertaining.
Oct. 19, 2010 3:27 am
Well done, Lorem. One Drink Professor is a great character for your blog. No wonder you're in the biz. However, I had no idea Allrecipes has been around that long!
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Lorem Ipsum

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Seattle, Washington, USA

Member Since
May 2008

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About Me
My wife and I and our two devilish kittens live on Capitol Hill in Seattle. A few years ago, I got a masters in gastronomy. I'm a food/wine writer. I’m also blogging about cocktails.
My favorite things to cook
We cook fairly simple dishes using fresh local ingredients that we pick up at the Seattle farmers market. My favorite thing is making a nice slow-braised or long-roasted something on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I like cooking with wine (in the dish and in the glass...and in the cook).
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom never liked to cook, but she did well despite herself. Her mother, my omi, was from Munich and made delicious rouladen, sauerbraten and other traditional German and American dishes. Always bins and bins of home-baked cookies at Christmas. Wonderful rye bread. And beer. Opa would say, "Brotzeit ist die beste zeit."
My cooking triumphs
We’ve made the signature timpano dish from The Big Night a couple times. And for Thanksgiving 2007, we made Turducken. My wife and I are always volunteering to cook the big holiday meals with the family. We mix a signature cocktail, and get down to it.
My cooking tragedies
I made Thanksgiving Dinner for myself once when I was snowed-in in Denver. I nearly burned down the neighborhood.
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