Tag Archives: Mise en Place

The Weekly Banjo #22: On Food

In case you hadn’t seen the videos or are completely blind, you can see that I also eat while I drink.  The pairing is obvious: alcohol (in general) makes you hungry, and beer especially so.  I’ve never subscribed to the notion that beer is too filling to have with food–I think it’s a cruel, nonsensical (read: bullshit) conspiracy against real beer makers by the light macro factories and wine industries–and learning how (and especially when) to pair beer with meals can make you a culinary genius.

This isn’t to say that beer can be paired with EVERYTHING.  This goes for any clash of flavors: lemon vs. chocolate, mint vs. orange, or the especially vexing philistine choice of red wine vs. nachos (or nearly any Mexican cuisine, for that matter).

You thought this was a good idea? How about I re-arrange your face, shithead?

Great chefs have adhered to wine pairings due to two distinct factors: tradition and ease (due mostly to tradition).  It is up to you, therefore, to make a conscious decision to first drink beer with your finer foods, and develop your palate to the point where you can order intelligently without being a snob.

The (loose) rules are fairly simple:

1. Just about any beer goes with (real) breakfast.  Test me.  Have eggs benedict with Guinness if you want to test this idea.  Fake breakfasts include shit like this:

Fake breakfast. Awesome in its own right, but FAKE.

Look, if you like this kind of sugar-laden garbage, I’ll suggest that real beer isn’t really for you.  The only cereal that lends itself to beer-drinking is Grape Nuts, and you don’t want Grape-Nut-Beer-Shits; while you may think your little book of matches can knock down the disgusting aroma, you’re wrong.  Real breakfasts usually hold something fried, salty, meaty–ALL beer friendly traits.

2.  Keep it light at lunch unless you *want* to have an ass the size of a ferry boat.

The animal on the left has stout with lunch.

Most unsuccessful drinkers knock themselves completely out of the game by ordering some belgian, opaque, wake-granddad-from-the-dead stout which not only makes their turkey sandwich meaningless, it also plows straight through their face before drinking time actually starts.  Have some dignity, man up and have a pilsener, you over-enthusiastic moron.

3.  Dinner is a warm-up, dessert is *supposed* to be bite-sized.

You need to have some room to enjoy your beer instead of pissing your face off.  Nobody likes to see you close the bar and leave a steamy trail of vomit on your way out the door and into the middle of the street, so do everybody a favor: drink like you are trying to close the bar, leave two hours early, and finish your debauch at your house.  Barfing on your stupid Bob Marley poster isn’t going to piss me off.  Cutting loose on my table brings out my inner Sam Elliott.

You better start showing a little class, you pussy.

Drink Successfully.



The Weekly Banjo #11: The Holiday Míse

The holidays can be perplexing for aspiring drinkers; mixed drinks abound, from the jolly (hot buttered rum) to the preposterous yet palatable (egg nog–seriously, who was the genius who invented such a… well… whatever that is).

Poor, poor rum.

The truly successful drinker already knows that the holidays, populated with salts and roasted meats, are perfect for beer.  Do note that I used the word, “perfect,” for there is nothing greater than ANY beer with your holiday ham, turkey, tamales, cakes, pies, stuffing, potatoes, cakes, pies, or tamales.

Now We're Talking.

So, what is the “Míse”?  Simply put, it’s your setting.  Think of míse as a 38% component of successful drinking–unless you are at a McMenamins establishment, where míse accounts for 80% of your SD component.  Indeed, a frosty beer at the Edgefield can taste better than it actually does simply because the setting is so incontrovertibly awesome.  Creating a great míse in your own home may be the simplest task you undertake.  Here’s a quick primer:

  1. Choose the surroundings that make you most comfortable and make them even more comfortable.  Drinking takes time, and you’re going to need a place to sit that won’t hurt your sitter.
  2. Choose your soundtrack and insist that it play while you drink, and make certain it fits your surroundings.  For example, if you are in a cabin in the woods, songs that remind you of home may be the right way to go.  If you are ice fishing, the droning fan of your space heater is likely the best soundtrack, etc.
  3. Get some food.  Beer makes you hungry, and you should be ready to indulge this hunger while you have the chance.  Salt makes the palate happy when the beer comes to wash it away, so have cheese, bread, and other salty etcetera to eat while you enjoy.
  4. Make it the right place to drink.  This isn’t a snobby thing to do, but often, people avoid the effort due to a level of embarrassment with creating ideal situations for themselves.  If you have this kind of embarrassment taking root in your conscience, ignore it or throttle it to death.  There is no such thing as an embarrassed successful drinker.

Creating a míse takes time and work, but it makes your drinking exponentially more successful.  Think of it: a frat party without a keg of macro-lager is simply ludicrous.  If I saw one so sorely lacking, I would leave immediately.  Conversely, if I attended such a party with nothing but local high-gravity micros, I’d feel very (very) out of place, and I’d likely leave due to discomfort with my surroundings.

Everything has its rightful place and time.  Successful drinking includes knowing what these places and times are.

The Weekly Question: Does it really matter where you sit?

You could say it’s all about the beer, but I’d be hard-pressed to enjoy my favorite beverage while sitting in a sewer pipe.

What do you think?