How To Plan An Elegant Picnic

Picnic Basket

A proper picnic basket, also called a picnic hamper, is a gentlemanly must-have; there simply is no way around it, for a properly planned picnic in the perfect location and with the perfect food and wine can trump a dinner in any fine restaurant—at a fraction of the cost. In many ways, a picnic for two is the most romantic event known to man; and one for four or more can make for one of the most memorable, endearing outings amongst friends.

The absolute best way to acquire a top-quality picnic basket is as a gift:  graduation; house-warming; wedding; job promotion; otherwise, on-sale at fine stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s New York, Pottery Barn, or Williams Sonoma.

The best picnic baskets are the ones constructed like a classic wood-framed valise, preferably of leather; sturdy wicker with brass-studded leather corners; or sleek, chic, modern aluminum (for a dash of “James Bond”). Service should be for four:  salad plates; dinner plates; knives; forks; spoons; and stemmed wine glasses.  Most come with a good corkscrew, two candle-holders, basic serving-utensils, and four to six cloth napkins. The leather straps affixed to the outside of the basket are for securing a picnic blanket or tablecloth.

But executing a good picnic is no “walk in the park”; it requires careful planning. After all, what’s a boy to do if he brought an excellent bottle of Tuscan red but no corkscrew? So, the best way to begin is with a checklist compiled by pre-playing the event, from start to finish, in one’s mind, jotting down the elements needed to accomplish the actual event:

Set-up Checklist:

-a plastic drop-cloth (such as those used by house-painters when painting interior areas) atop which the picnic blanket/tablecloth should be placed in the event of moist ground/grass;

-a blanket or tablecloth large enough to accommodate the food set-up plus the diners;

-four weights for the corners of he blanket/tablecloth (in the event of windy weather);

-a disposable trashbag for discarded items;

-wet-wipes to clean hands;

-small bottle of hand moisturizer/lotion;

-so as not to soil the interior of the basket, plastic bags into which the used items should be enclosed prior to being replaced into the basket at the end of the event;

-paper towels;

-candles (depending on the time of day) that actually fit the candle-holders;

-matches or cigarette lighter (to light the candles);

-salt mill/pepper mill (as opposed to shakers since their contents may spill in transit);

-toothpicks;

-breath mints (in the event of a romantic ending to an already-romantic beginning;

-insect repellant.

 

Obviously, some of the above-listed items (except the picnic blanket/tablecloth) might not fit into/onto the picnic basket. Therefore, a separate bag (a reusable “picnic bag” made of sturdy plastic with handles like a paper department store shopping bag) should be used for carrying set-up items.

Food and Wine

Appropriate picnic food is essential for a successful picnic. And one of the easiest, cost- and time-effective ways to acquire picnic foods is from a deli or delicatessen section of a good supermarket. There, freshly prepared foods are served in to-order portions and packaged in disposable plastic containers for easy transport and serving.  Of course, if a gentleman is skilled in the kitchen and has a good supply of plastic food containers, he may prepare the picnic meal, which would be even more meaningful to his guest(s).

Picnic meals need not be elaborate; but they must be appropriate to the event, delicious, and photogenic. A colorful mixed salad outdoes a monotone Caesar salad—if not in taste, certainly in looks. And why serve vichyssoise, for example, if it will have long lost its chill by the time it is presented? Four courses—appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert—are sufficient.  Each course should be delightful, remarkable, and special, even with the occasional twist of the whimsical. Just as a host should endeavor to have his sit-down dinner guests talking about the event for days thereafter, a picnic should be planned with the same goal in mind:  Chocolate-covered, long-stemmed strawberries are “to die for,” but chocolate-covered, long-stemmed strawberries wraped in edible gold are like dying and going to Heaven.

 

Transported in a separate picnic bag (See above) if necessary should be the food:

-chilling-bag with insertible ice packs for white and rosé wines;

-bottled water (even if only wine is being served with the meal);

-wine;

-food (each course separately packaged and properly sealed);

-vase (bottled water also used to fill vase);

-flowers;

-small gift(s) for guest(s).

Volume Two of Wayne James’ Manly Manners Trilogy is now Published

Former senator and Senate Liaison to the White House Wayne James has just released the much-anticipated volume two of his Manly Manners trilogy, and the literary critics are lauding it.The edgy-but-elegant trilogy gives guidance on everything from how to eat caviar and open a bottle of Port with a feather, to how to suggest an enema before engaging in anal sex, to how to distinguish a blazer from a sport coat. Manly Manners is already being touted as “the new Bible on masculine behavior.”  James, also a lawyer, fashion designer, historian, and art collector, has been writing the 1,800-page, three-volume treatise since completing his tenure in the senate in January of 2011.

The premise of volume two, entitled Manly Manners:  The Cultivation of the Inner, Spiritual Gentleman, is that ethics must be at the foundation of etiquette; and that upholding good manners must be good men. Volume two guides the reader towards achieving inner peace and equilibrium, thereby increasing his inclination towards gentle and genteel behavior. To that end, the book delves into topics that are not typically included in traditional books on manners:  how to gracefully deal with the emotional upheaval of a heartbreak; what distinguishes “love” from “lust” and “in-love”; what differentiates a job from a profession or a calling; how to identify one’s genius, and what are the best ways to avoid midlife crisis; how to survive “frenopause”; what to expect in inter-generational, same-sex marriages; and what distinguishes a “man” from a “gentle man,” a “genteel man,” and a “gentleman,” for example. The book’s mission is to build gentlemen from the inside out—to make men internally happy. “It is harder for a man to be polite and helpful to others if he is fundamentally unhappy in his own life,” James said.

“In order to write volume two, I needed solitude and quietude.  So, I set off for Italy, where a Tuscan friend lent me his family’s grand Palladian villa, set amidst vineyards and olive groves, to enjoy all to myself,” James said. “There, for one full year—actually, for thirteen months—I envisioned myself writing what I would tell a son or nephew or student who was about to depart for distant lands, perhaps never to return. The volume is a veritable ‘master’s class’ on ‘class’ as well as on modern men’s spirituality. The book also contains what I regard to be the masculine wisdoms. I wrote it from my soul—from a place that has allowed itself to be touched by youth and adventure, disappointment and triumph, life and love. My mission with volume two is to give young men a crash-course on what has taken me over a half a century—a lifetime—to learn.”

Published by the iUniverse division of Penguin-Random House, distributed by Ingram Books, and with a glowing foreword by Baron Peter von Troil of Finland and Sweden, Manly Manners:   The Cultivation of the Inner, Spiritual Gentleman (ISBN:  978-1-5320-2818-2) comes on the heels of the critically acclaimed volume one, Manly Manners:  Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century (Nov., 2016; 840 pages), declared by BlueInk Reviews, “one of the 21 best indie books of 2017”; “ornately mannered prose,” says Kirkus Reviews; and “Emily Post…would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on,” says Claire Foster of Foreword Clarion.

Volumes one and two of the Manly Manners trilogy are available in hardcover, paperback, and eBook formats at bookstores worldwide and online at www.Amazon.com , www.BarnesandNoble.com , and www.iUniverse.com .  Volume three is scheduled for a fall 2019 release.

Commandaria Wine of Cyprus–The world’s oldest named wine

Commandaria—the world’s oldest named wine

Commandaria, the storied fortified wine of Cyprus, is one of the world’s most luxurious dessert wines.  It has been enjoyed throughout the ages—from ancient Greece to the Crusades to the Age of Exploration to today—by kings and queens and knights and knaves alike, all the while inspiring conquest, soothing the palates of travelers from faraway places, and fueling international trade. Admittedly, Commandaria is today not as well-known as its other fortified counterparts—Sherry, Port, Madeira, Marsala, and Vermouth—but it is every drop as esteemed by the world’s wine cognoscenti and is experiencing a renaissance within the ranks of 21st-century young gentlemen who insist upon indulging in the masculine luxuries of life.

 History

Legend has it that the first wine-tasting competition was held in the 13th century in France.  Organized by France’s King Philip Augustus (1180-1223), the event, recorded in a poem by noted French poet Henry d’Andeli dated 1224, was dubbed “La Bataille des Vins” (“The Battle of the Wines”) and was open to wines from all over Europe. Emerging victorious was a sweet wine from Cyprus, widely believed to be Commandaria.

Commandaria holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine still in production.  Made from sun-dried grapes, the wine is first described in 800 B.C.E. by Greek poet Hesiod and was known to be widely consumed during the festivals of ancient Greece. At the May 12, 1191 wedding of England’s King Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria of Navarre in the city of Limassol (Lemesos) on the island of Cyprus during the height of the Crusades, Richard declared Commandaria “the wine of kings and the king of wines.” In 1212, Wilbrand von Oldenburg, Count of Oldenburg, writes: “The wines of this island are so thick and rich as if they are meant to be consumed like honey on bread.” And in 1363, at a symposium of sorts that would come to be known as “The Feast of the Five Kings,” organized by the Lord Mayor of London in honor of Peter I, King of Cyprus; King Edward II of England; David II, King of Scotland; John II, King of France; and Valdemar IV, King of Denmark, it was Commandaria that was served.

Towards the end of the 12th century, Richard the Lionheart sold the island of Cyprus to the Knights Templar (founded in 1118), who, upon recognizing that they could not maintain the island, in turn sold it to Guy de Lusignan, French King of Jerusalem (1186-1192) and founder of the Lusignan Dynasty that ruled Cyprus from 1192 to 1489.

During the Lusignan era, Cyprus became a beacon for settlers from Western Europe, amongst them arriving the Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller to whom an extensive tract of land in the area west of Lemesos (the area known today as Kolossi) was granted, such land holdings laying the foundation for the establishment of feudalism on the island of Cyprus.  Headquartered in a castle today known as Kolossi Castle situated on the sunny southern coast of the enchanting island, the estate was referred to as “La Grande Commanderie” so as to distinguish it from two smaller command posts on the island (“Phoenix of Paphos” and “Templos” in Kyrenia). The word “commanderie” referred to the estate’s function as a military headquarters.  Eventually, the area under the control of the Knights Hospitaller came to be called “Commandaria.”  And when the knights began producing significant quantities of wine for export to the royal courts of Europe as well as for consumption by the many pilgrims en route to the Holy Land, the wine assumed the name of the region that gave it rise. As such, the present-day practice of naming wines after the regions where they are produced began with Commandaria. (In 1307 the Commandery region came under the control of Philip IV, a descendant of King Richard the Lionheart.)

For the three centuries of the Turkish era, from 1571 to 1878, production levels of the luscious Commandaria wine declined drastically due to exorbitant taxation:  20% duty on grape production; 10% duty on wine production; and 8% duty on wine exports.

Today, the wine is produced and marketed as “Commandaria,” though it has had other names and spellings in the past: “Commandery” by Cyrus Redding in his book A History and Description of Modern Wines (1860); “Commander” by Thomas George Shaw in his book Wine, the Vine, and the Cellar (1863); and “Commenderia” by Samuel White Baker in 1879.

Production

Commandaria is made exclusively from two Cypriot grapes:  a white variety called Xynisteri, and a red variety named Mavro.  The grapes are left to overripen on the vines, thereby increasing their sugar-content. The period for harvesting is declared by the Wine Production Association of Cyprus when it is determined that the grapes have attained the desired levels of sugar. The grapes are then laid out and sun-dried for seven to ten days, thereby further concentrating the sugar-content on account of the additional evaporation that occurs during the drying-process. Thereafter, the juice is extracted by crushing and pressing and placed into reservoirs where the two-to-three-month fermentation process begins, the sugars in the grape juice converting to alcohol. (Because the phylloxera epidemic that scourged the vineyards of continental Europe did not reach Cyprus, the native grapes used to produce Commandaria are truly native—they are not, as is the case with most European grapes of today, grafted onto phylloxera-resistant American rootstock.)

Once the fermentation process has completed (the minimum allowable alcohol content being 10% but typically realizing at around 15%), the alcohol-content may be increased by adding grape-derived alcohol (95% by volume) or brandy (distilled wine) with an alcohol-by-volume content of 70%, the result being a fortified wine with an alcohol-content of no more than 20% (with a potential alcohol-content—which might occur during the aging process—of no more than 22.5%).  In essence, though, because of the high concentration of sugars that naturally occurs in the grapes as a result of being allowed to overripen on the vines then sun-dried for seven to ten days, Commandaria need not be supplemented with additional alcohol in order to attain the minimum-allowable alcohol-by-volume content. Thus, fortification of Commandaria is not mandatory.

While the origins of what is today regarded as the method of producing Commandaria has been lost to time, evidence of the wine’s production appears in the poem Works and Days, written in the 7th century by Hesiod. Only grapes harvested from vines that are at least four years old may be used in the production of the luxurious wine, but it is generally accepted that the best wines derive from vines at least 10 years of age, the region known for having vines surpassing 100 years of age. In addition, vine-training must use the “goblet” method, and no watering is permitted.

The wine is aged in oak casks for at least two years in underground cellars. In a system similar to Sherry’s “solera,” Commandaria employs the “manna” system, the distinction being that in “manna,” the aging occurs within one barrel, with one-third of the wine being harvested each year before new wine is added to the barrel.

Regulation

Since 1990, Cypriot law requires that wine labeled “Commandaria” be produced in 14 villages situated on the foothills of the Troödus Mountains of Cyprus.  And use of the term “Commandaria” enjoys Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in the European Union, the United States, and Canada, thereby requiring that wine marketed as “Commandaria” in those regions be made in Cyprus per production standards and regulations.

The wine—which must be aged on the island of Cyprus, though not necessarily within the 14 villages where the grapes that produce it must be grown—is aged under strict regulations. The result is a sweet, rich, amber- or ruby-colored dessert wine.

Usage

Commandaria is best served well-chilled, between 42-48° F and 6-9° C, in a small, stemmed glass. Thus, in February of 2006, the Wine Products Council of Cyprus, a team of sommeliers, and the Riedel company collaborated in the selection of a House of Riedel glass excellent for the enjoyment of Commandaria.  The wine is traditionally paired with chocolate and chocolate-flavored desserts.

 

 

Marsala–The Great Fortified Wine of Sicily

Marsala

The world-famous Italian desserts tiramisu and zabaglione, and the celebrated Italian-American dishes chicken and veal marsala, all owe their existence to Marsala, the great fortified wine of Sicily.  And in many ways, it is the fame of those culinary specialties that has precipitated the relegation of the once-celebrated Marsala to the status of “cooking wine.”  But despite its admittedly humble position vis-à-vis its venerated fortified-wine counterparts, namely Sherry, Port, and Madeira, and despite the fact that Sicily has emerged as one of the world’s greatest producers of wine, Marsala has still managed—for hundreds of years—to maintain its position as Sicily’s most iconic wine. To this day, when people think “Sicilian wine,” they think “Marsala.”

 

The History of Marsala:

As with many of the great wines, there are many claims to Marsala’s fame. But the narrative that rings most plausible is the one which goes that when English trader John Woodhouse sailed into the port of Marsala, Sicily, in 1773, he indulged in the local, barrel-aged wine which, like Spanish Sherry and Portuguese Port, was fortified.  Immediately noticing the wine’s similarity to its fortified counterparts, which were at the time exceedingly popular in England, Woodhouse wagered that Marsala, too, would be popular in England. And he was absolutely correct!  So, 23 years later, in 1796, he returned to Sicily and began producing the wine as a commercial endeavor.

A decade later, in 1806, Benjamin Ingham (1784-1861) arrived in Sicily from Leeds, thereafter opening new markets for Marsala wine in Europe and the Americas.  So, it was just a matter of time before the Italians themselves began capitalizing on their own invention. Enter:  Vincenzo Florio. Born in Calabria but “adopted” by Palermo, in 1833 Florio bought a tract of land between those of Woodhouse and Ingham and began producing his own Marsala. Then, in the late 19th century, he purchased Woodhouse’s establishment, along with others, and consolidated the Marsala wine industry. Today, the Italian firms Florio and Pelligrino are the foremost producers of Marsala.

Classification:

Marsala wines are classified according to color, sweetness, and duration of aging.

Color

Most Marsalas are made from white grapes:  Grillo, Inzolia, Catarratto, and Damaschino, among others. But there is also “Rubino” Marsala, which is ruby-red in color and made from red grape varieties such a Perricone, Calabrese, Nero d’Avola, and Nerello Mascalese.

-“Oro” is a golden wine;

-“Ambra” is amber-colored and derives its color from the “mosto cotto,” the cooked, reduced grape juice, called “must” in English, that is added to the wine as a sweetener;

-and the claret-colored “Rubino,” which is made from red grapes.

Sweetness

-“Secco,” which means “dry,” is used to classify Marsala wine with 40 grams of residual sugar per liter.

-“Semi-Secco” Marsalas contain 41-100 grams of residual sugar per liter.

-“Sweet” Marsalas have over 100 grams of residual sugar per liter.

 

Duration of Aging

-“Fino” describes Marsala aged at least one(1) year;

-“Superiore” is the classification for Marsala aged at least two(2) years;

-“Superiore Reserva” is used to describe Marsala aged at least four(4) years;

-“Solera” is a designation reserved for Marsala aged at least five(5 )years;

-“Solera Stravecchio” or “Solera Reserva” describes Marsala aged at least ten(10) years.

 

What the “solera system” of aging is for Spanish Sherry is what the “perpetuum system” is for Marsala. (See Sherry). And as with all the great fortified wines, brandy—distilled grape juice—is added, thereby increasing the alcohol content and endowing the wine with longevity and hardiness, both indispensable qualities during the long sea voyages to market in days of yore.  The alcohol content of Marsala ranges from 15-20% by volume, and the wine remains potable for as many as six weeks after opening.

Uses:

Traditionally, a dry Marsala is served as an apéritif between the first and second meat courses. But today, chilled dry (secco) Marsala is served with cheese, fruits, or pastries. Sweet Marsalas, however, are served only at room temperature and enjoyed as dessert wines.

In general, dry Marsalas are used as apéritifs, while the sweet varieties are enjoyed as dessert wines or digestivos (after-dinner drinks).

Marsala is oftentimes mentioned in conjunction with Passito di Pantelleria, another famous Sicilian wine, which is made from grapes that have been dehydrated (thereby concentrating their natural sugar content) almost to raisins.

Designations:

Most countries limit the usage of the term “Marsala” to wines coming from the region surrounding the city of Marsala in Sicily.   And in 1969 the wine was granted DOC status (Denominazione di Origine Controllata/Controlled Designation of Origin), a quality-assurance system for Italian food products, especially wines, which ensures that production meets certain established standards set by an independent review board consisting of experts. Marsala also enjoys PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin), granted by the European Union, which officially limits the use of the term “Marsala” within the European Union to wine produced in the Marsala region of Sicily.

[A DOP/PDO (Denominazione di Origine Protetta/Protected Designation of Origin) classification may be obtained only after a group of producers from an area or province or region, for example—typically organized as a consortium—comes together and agrees upon production and quality standards, then selects an independent certification entity to ensure compliance with those standards. The producers then forward their classification request to the designated Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which, after review and preliminary approval, forwards the request to the European Union for final review and status designation.]

 

 

Wine-Tasting Etiquette

 

wine glasses and spittoon

 

Wine-Tasting Etiquette

Wine is one of the oldest and most storied alcoholic beverages:  The ancient Egyptian nobility imbibed it at lavish banquets; it was so important to the Greco-Roman world that there was a god of wine; and according to the Christian faith, Jesus transformed life-giving water into precious wine in his first recorded miracle. But despite the prominence of wine throughout much of human history, many men remain intimidated by it.  And of all the activities pertaining to “the beautiful liquid,” official wine-tastings arguably cause the most trepidation.

But a gentleman of the world must know the ways of the world. And since he is almost certain to be invited to an official wine-tasting at least once in his lifetime, he should know the etiquette associated therewith.

The senses of smell and taste are so intertwined that something can smell as it tastes and taste as it smells.  At a wine-tasting, of the five senses, the senses of smell and taste are of paramount importance (with the sense of sight coming a close third). As such, rule number one at a wine- tasting is that extraneous scents and flavors are to be avoided.

Wearing perfumes and colognes to a wine-tasting is an absolute no-no for olfactorily obvious reasons. Even scented body lotions or garments laundered with fragrant detergents should be avoided (Perhaps one day wine-tastings will be conducted in-the-nude, but until then…). Likewise, perfumed hair conditioners—especially because of the proximity of hair to the nose and mouth—are considered particularly egregious. Also, a taster’s palate should be as neutral as possible:  Consuming smoked or heavily spiced foods shortly before a wine-tasting can adversely impact the appreciation of a wine.  Some purists even insist that a taster should not brush his teeth for several hours preceding a tasting—not even if the tasting occurs in the morning! And attempting to circumvent the no-brushing rule by chewing gum or eating breath mints is a sure prescription for a disaster of gastronomical proportions.

Generally, a wine-tasting will be presided-over, whether by a sommelier, a wine merchant, or a knowledgeable pourer.  While more casual tastings may take place at a bar, more formal tastings are typically conducted with tasters seated at a long banquet table.

When multiple wines are being tasted, the general approach is to begin with whites before reds, young wines before old wines, delicate wines before robust wines, dry wines before sweet wines, etc.

The typical “equipment” for a wine-tasting is wine glasses, a linen napkin (for pat-drying one’s lips after spitting into the spittoon—but more on that later), individual spittoons (thank God for that courtesy!), and, on occasion, offerings of water crackers, plain bread, or mild cheese to “reboot” the palate when “palate fatigue” sets in after so many wines have been tasted that the taster’s ability to distinguish the characteristics of one wine from another becomes blurred.

To rid a wine glass of any trace of the detergent with which it was washed, the person conducting the tasting will pour a little wine into each taster’s glass, then, holding the glass by its stem, tilt the glass while rotating it, thereby allowing the wine to coat the entire interior surface of the bowl of the glass. Then, of course, that rinsing-wine, no matter how precious, is discarded into the spittoon. (Drinking the rinsing-wine would be like drinking the water in a fingerbowl!)

Once the glasses have been prepped as described above, whether by the pourer or by the tasters themselves, the tasting begins, the operative term being “tasting” (as opposed to drinking!).  As a wise Italian once said, “We taste with our mouths, not with our stomachs.”

Bottle by bottle, a mouthful-quantity of wine will be poured into each taster’s glass. Whether white wine or red wine, the taster holds the wine glass upright by its stem (whether elevated off the table or with the base of the glass upon the tabletop), and swirls the wine for two or three seconds so as to aerate it, thereby releasing its aromas and flavors. Then, holding the wine glass about one inch from the nose, the opening of the bowl tilted towards the nose, the aromas of the wine are gently inhaled via the nostrils and slightly parted lips, thereby heightening the perception of the wine’s flavor since both the senses of smell and taste are engaged.

After the fragrances of the wine have been explored and appreciated, it is then time to taste the wine primarily with the mouth: A small amount of wine is taken into mouth and allowed to “set” for a second or two before it is swallowed so as to ascertain its drinkability.  Immediately thereafter, a more complex tasting occurs:  In a process called “aspiration,” more wine is taken into the mouth then gently swished around the closed mouth while simultaneously being aerated by gently clenching the teeth, slightly parting-pouting the lips, then inhaling through the nostrils and slightly parted pouted lips. [For some tasters—quite understandably—the aspiration process looks too ridiculous and sounds too disgusting to be entertained, regardless of its alleged efficacy.] Once the wine’s qualities have been determined, it is released from the mouth into the spittoon; the mouth is pat-dried with the provided napkin; and the remaining wine in the glass is also discarded into the spittoon.  (Incidentally, spitting into the spittoon should be done as elegantly and uneventfully as possible. It should, for example, never rise to the level of animation with which one would hawk and spit upon an archrival’s grave!) The wine glass is then placed onto the table in preparation for the next wine. If only one or two wines are being presented for tasting, the remaining contents in the glass may be drunk rather than discarded into the spittoon. But if many wines are being tasted, the tasters must be mindful to do their work with their mouths, not with their stomachs, for multiple glasses of wine, especially whilst not eating, will leave many a man in a drunken stupor.

Fresh glasses are not generally provided for each wine to be tasted.  Instead, the pourer will “rinse,” as described above, the tasting-glass with the wine to be served, thereafter pouring fresh wine from the bottle or decanter into the prepped glass.  If multiple wines are being tasted, glasses will be changed when switching from white wines to red, or from dry to sweet, for example.   Rinsing glasses with water is highly disfavored since even miniscule quantities of residual water can adversely alter the profile of a wine.

At the end of the tasting, the specialist is thanked.  When the tasting is conducted at a bar by a bartender, he or she is generously tipped.

Finally, a gentleman who participates in a wine-tasting should always arrange for a designated driver.

 

Wine glasses

Wine-Tasting within the context of Wine-and-Food Pairings

Wine-tastings are sometimes conducted as wine-and-food pairings, where dishes are presented as complements to the featured wines.  At pairings, each course, typically from appetizer to dessert, is presented with a different wine that is poured into its designated wine glass.At a wine-and-food pairing, the wine is expected to be drunk, not merely tasted.  So spittoons, thank God, are not provided, for to have them would make for a most unappetizing occasion. Also, thank God, no aspiration antics are indulged in. Instead, the wine is savored with the meal, just as would be the case at a dinner table or in a restaurant. Only the desired portion of each wine need be drunk. At the end of a particular course, its corresponding wine glass is removed when the dishes for the course are being cleared from the table.

Generally, a wine-and-food pairing is conducted in a restaurant, with a sommelier or wine merchant officiating.  Under such circumstances, the waiters and waitresses are tipped and the officiant is thanked.

And as is the case whenever alcoholic beverages are being consumed, designated drivers should be employed to safely transport tasters to and from the event.

 

 

 

Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men Coming to Market in October 2017!!!

 

WJS All Purpose.JPG

 

Fashion designer, former senator, men’s lifestyle influencer, and Manly Manners author Wayne James will unveil his new line of herb-and-spice blends and dry-rubs specifically formulated for the 21st-century man in October.  Called Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men, the line features five all-natural, no-preservatives, kosher blends:  all-purpose, salt-free, seafood, vegetarian, and game/holiday.

“My aim was to introduce a line of ‘quick-fix’ seasoning-blends that enables the novice as well as the expert to prepare gourmet-flavored meals in a matter of minutes,” James said.  “The modern man is flavor-conscious, but he is also very busy. He therefore needs a product that gives him quick, easy, but excellent results. Today’s man wants a seasoning that allows him to effortlessly expand beyond the backyard grill. And if adding some sex appeal to each meal is part of the deal, then so much the better.”

Blended and bottled in Maryland, spice capital of the United States, James’ packaging is decidedly and distinguishingly masculine:  glossy black caps; minimalistic black labels with gold lettering; detailed ingredients and nutritional listings. “The packaging nods at quintessentially male products such as distilled spirits, shaving creams, cigars, and condoms.  I want men to instinctively reach for the bottles, whether on a supermarket shelf or in a kitchen cabinet.  The packaging looks manly—as if to say, ‘I am more potent than other seasonings,’ ” James said.

But James’ line of seasonings is not off-limits to female customers.  “I definitely see women purchasing the seasonings for the men in their lives—as gifts or to encourage them to demonstrate their masculine prowess in the kitchen.  I also envision women purchasing the products for themselves, perhaps out of curiosity at first, then because of the seasonings’ distinctive flavor-profiles.

All five blends are based on recipes that have been in James’ family since the mid-1700s and feature 18 to 29 ingredients. And the designer, a gourmand in his own right, is no stranger to the food industry:  In 1993, rather than launching a fragrance like most other fashion designers, James introduced the Carnival Seasonings line which sold in outlets such as Fresh Fields (now Whole Foods), Dean and Deluca, and in military commissaries.

“Our business model has now shifted to online marketing to meet the demands of the modern customer,” James said. “Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men will be available in a few key stores around the world; but for the most part, customers will have to purchase the product online on Amazon, eBay, and ShopAtWayneJames.com.”

 

WJS All Purpose.JPG

When Sugar Daddies and Boy-Toys Marry–each other

Anyone who has ever tried marriage will be the first to say that it is no “piece of cake.” And some marriages, because of their composition, are more challenging than others. A gentleman entering any such union should be prepared to work extra hard to ensure its success.

 

Trans-generational marriages

A trans-generational marriage is a marriage where there is a significant age and/or maturity disparity between the two parties. When an older man is dating a significantly younger woman, he is, for the most part, regarded as a “dirty old man” and she, a “gold digger”—until the couple is officially married. Thereafter, he is simply regarded as an older husband and she, his young wife—unless, of course, he is extremely wealthy, in which case the young wife retains her pre-nuptial characterization, only intensified. In the much-less-visible cases of significantly older women dating younger men, such women are regarded as “cradle-robbers” or “cougars,” and their young men are viewed as gigolos—until marriage, at which point the women are labeled as “nymphomaniacs” and their young husbands, “opportunists.” Where the older women are exceedingly wealthy, their post-marriage status reduces to “fool” and their young husbands’ are elevated to “shrewd.” But regardless of the scenario, the institution of marriage tends to impart an overall degree of dignity, no matter how minute, to such relationships. In many societies today, men are not able to marry each other. So for the most part, when an older man forms an intimate union with a younger man, their relationship tends to be described by outsiders as one between a “sugar daddy” and his “boy-toy.”  And in the jurisdictions where same-sex marriages and unions are legally recognized, the sugar daddy/boy-toy characterization tends to continue into the marital phase of the relationship, though with an elevated sentiment—especially when the older man is not exceptionally wealthy and/or the young man not exceptionally beautiful.

When an older person marries a younger one, the onus is on the older person to make concessions for those age-consistent characteristics of the younger spouse that may present challenges in the marriage. In trans-generational relationships, the older spouse is at once parent and spouse, and the younger person is both child and spouse. The fact is that the older person has already lived through the stages being experienced by the younger; and just as the older spouse, in his younger years, should have had the opportunity to experience life, so should the younger. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of telling a pre-teen that he should not eat candy because sugar is bad for his teeth, or asking a teenaged boy not to masturbate. The major challenge of trans-generational marriages is that neither spouse is fully prepared to deal with the maturity level of the other spouse. But between the two, the greater responsibility for accommodation falls upon the older for the reasons presented above. Very few older spouses, however, are confident or self-assured enough to endure the emotional challenges that are likely to arise in trans-generational marriages. A good beginning-point for tackling such challenges, however, is for the older spouse to revisit his life when he was the age of his younger spouse. (See above, “The Social Evolution of a Gentleman Within His Lifetime—An age-line”). The ability of the older spouse to empathize with the younger spouse is crucial to the success of the marriage. And the younger spouse must be willing to sympathize.

Though relationships evolve, the impetus for many trans-generational relationships is sexual attraction and an admiration for the vivacity of youth on the part of the older spouse, and financial security and respectful admiration on the part of the younger spouse. But it is oftentimes those very things that can complicate such relationships, for the longer the marriage endures, and the older the older spouse becomes, the less sexually compatible he becomes for the younger spouse. And the more financially secure the younger spouse becomes in his own right, the less relevant the financial security provided by the older spouse becomes. So, like a candle burning from both ends, such is the nature of many trans-generational relationships. And while the financial security issue tends to be less divisive where there is true love between the parties, the sexual incompatibility issue tends to intensify with time: A 20-year-old is more likely to find a well-preserved 45-year-old sexually attractive than is a 55-year-old likely to regard a well-preserved 80-year-old as sexually attractive.  And if the younger spouse is anything like the older spouse, when the older spouse is in his 80s, the younger spouse will be sexually attracted to people 20 years younger than he/she—people in their 30s, not people in their 80s. The solution in such circumstances, therefore, is for the older spouse, again, to make the accommodation, thereby allowing the younger spouse to satisfy some of his sexual needs outside the marriage. And the older spouse should also do all within his power to maintain his physical appearance and mental health. It is the responsibility of the younger spouse, however, to ensure that his extra-sexual relationships do not intrude upon his sexual, emotional, and spiritual commitments to his spouse; his extra-sexual relationships cannot rise above the level of hedonistic sex (See chapter, “Sex in the 21st Century—No Holds [or Holes] Barred!”) if the integrity of the marriage is to be preserved and nurtured. In addition, recognizing the dignity of marriage, it is incumbent upon the younger spouse to ensure that his/her interest in extra-sexual relations be openly discussed with his/her spouse (The older spouse should be quite capable of comprehending that interest since it was those very trans-generational sentiments that led to the formation of his/her marriage.); that there be mutual agreement; that the extra-sexual relationship be handled with utmost discretion and respect so as to preserve the dignity of the marriage and that of the older spouse; and that the extra-sexual relationship never take precedence over the duties and responsibilities of the spousal relationship. In cases where mutual agreement cannot be achieved, the younger spouse must honor the wishes of the older spouse since sexual incompatibility in the later years of marriage should have been anticipated at the formation of the marriage. Such is the proverbial marital bed made by trans-generational couples, so the youngcer spouse must be prepared to lie (no pun intended) in that bed. The moral of the story, then, is that trans-generational marriages, though not impossible, are exceedingly complicated. And very few people possess the level of maturity required to commit to and maintain happiness throughout such unions. It would behoove a gentleman, therefore, to exercise extreme caution before entering a trans-generational marriage or union.

 

 

The Etiquette of Trans-generational Marriage–when older people and younger people marry each other

Trans-generational marriages

A trans-generational marriage is a marriage where there is a significant age and/or maturity disparity between the two parties. When an older man is dating a significantly younger woman, he is, for the most part, regarded as a “dirty old man” and she, a “gold digger”—until the couple is officially married. Thereafter, he is simply regarded as an older husband and she, his young wife—unless, of course, he is extremely wealthy, in which case the young wife retains her pre-nuptial characterization, only intensified. In the much-less-visible cases of significantly older women dating younger men, such women are regarded as “cradle-robbers” or “cougars,” and their young men are viewed as gigolos—until marriage, at which point the women are labeled as “nymphomaniacs” and their young husbands, “opportunists.” Where the older women are exceedingly wealthy, their post-marriage status reduces to “fool” and their young husbands’ are elevated to “shrewd.” But regardless of the scenario, the institution of marriage tends to impart an overall degree of dignity, no matter how minute, to such relationships. In many societies today, men are not able to marry each other. So for the most part, when an older man forms an intimate union with a younger man, their relationship tends to be described by outsiders as one between a “sugar daddy” and his “boy-toy.”  And in the jurisdictions where same-sex marriages and unions are legally recognized, the sugar daddy/boy-toy characterization tends to continue into the marital phase of the relationship, though with an elevated sentiment—especially when the older man is not exceptionally wealthy and/or the young man not exceptionally beautiful.

When an older person marries a younger one, the onus is on the older person to make concessions for those age-consistent characteristics of the younger spouse that may present challenges in the marriage. In trans-generational relationships, the older spouse is at once parent and spouse, and the younger person is both child and spouse. The fact is that the older person has already lived through the stages being experienced by the younger; and just as the older spouse, in his younger years, should have had the opportunity to experience life, so should the younger. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of telling a pre-teen that he should not eat candy because sugar is bad for his teeth, or asking a teenaged boy not to masturbate. The major challenge of trans-generational marriages is that neither spouse is fully prepared to deal with the maturity level of the other spouse. But between the two, the greater responsibility for accommodation falls upon the older for the reasons presented above. Very few older spouses, however, are confident or self-assured enough to endure the emotional challenges that are likely to arise in trans-generational marriages. A good beginning-point for tackling such challenges, however, is for the older spouse to revisit his life when he was the age of his younger spouse. (See above, “The Social Evolution of a Gentleman Within His Lifetime—An age-line”). The ability of the older spouse to empathize with the younger spouse is crucial to the success of the marriage. And the younger spouse must be willing to sympathize.

Though relationships evolve, the impetus for many trans-generational relationships is sexual attraction and an admiration for the vivacity of youth on the part of the older spouse, and financial security and respectful admiration on the part of the younger spouse. But it is oftentimes those very things that can complicate such relationships, for the longer the marriage endures, and the older the older spouse becomes, the less sexually compatible he becomes for the younger spouse. And the more financially secure the younger spouse becomes in his own right, the less relevant the financial security provided by the older spouse becomes. So, like a candle burning from both ends, such is the nature of many trans-generational relationships. And while the financial security issue tends to be less divisive where there is true love between the parties, the sexual incompatibility issue tends to intensify with time: A 20-year-old is more likely to find a well-preserved 45-year-old sexually attractive than is a 55-year-old likely to regard a well-preserved 80-year-old as sexually attractive.  And if the younger spouse is anything like the older spouse, when the older spouse is in his 80s, the younger spouse will be sexually attracted to people 20 years younger than he/she—people in their 30s, not people in their 80s. The solution in such circumstances, therefore, is for the older spouse, again, to make the accommodation, thereby allowing the younger spouse to satisfy some of his sexual needs outside the marriage. And the older spouse should also do all within his power to maintain his physical appearance and mental health. It is the responsibility of the younger spouse, however, to ensure that his extra-sexual relationships do not intrude upon his sexual, emotional, and spiritual commitments to his spouse; his extra-sexual relationships cannot rise above the level of hedonistic sex (See chapter, “Sex in the 21st Century—No Holds [or Holes] Barred!”) if the integrity of the marriage is to be preserved and nurtured. In addition, recognizing the dignity of marriage, it is incumbent upon the younger spouse to ensure that his/her interest in extra-sexual relations be openly discussed with his/her spouse (The older spouse should be quite capable of comprehending that interest since it was those very trans-generational sentiments that led to the formation of his/her marriage.); that there be mutual agreement; that the extra-sexual relationship be handled with utmost discretion and respect so as to preserve the dignity of the marriage and that of the older spouse; and that the extra-sexual relationship never take precedence over the duties and responsibilities of the spousal relationship. In cases where mutual agreement cannot be achieved, the younger spouse must honor the wishes of the older spouse since sexual incompatibility in the later years of marriage should have been anticipated at the formation of the marriage. Such is the proverbial marital bed made by trans-generational couples, so the younger spouse must be prepared to lie (no pun intended) in that bed. The moral of the story, then, is that trans-generational marriages, though not impossible, are exceedingly complicated. And very few people possess the level of maturity required to commit to and maintain happiness throughout such unions. It would behoove a gentleman, therefore, to exercise extreme caution before entering a trans-generational marriage or union.

 

 

The Ten Stages of Life

The Personal Evolution

During the first decade of life, children want, more than anything else, to feel loved, safe, and protected by their families; and when those needs have been met or sufficiently satisfied, children want freedom to play. Friendships, generally entered into with little reservation, are primarily in situ, with not much interaction amongst the young friends continuing beyond the venue that brings them together. Sugar is their equivalent of the sex (and sometimes, drugs) they will so crave in their subsequent decades.

During the teenage, pubescent years of the second decade of life, children begin seeking emotional independence from their families, opting instead for acceptance, emotional support, alliance, approval, and recognition from their peers. There is very little selection process in their choice of friends; practically anyone within their age range is a potential companion. There is a preoccupation with thoughts of sex. Thoughts of the future—goals, higher education, careers, status, etc.—begin to emerge. Opinions are frequently voiced as their newfound sense of independence seeks expression.

In their late teenage years and the first years of their third decade—in their early 20s—young people get the urge to redefine themselves, oftentimes moving away, sometimes ostensibly for college or for work, in order to shed one identity and develop another.  Many of the friendships of the second decade that are incompatible with the new self that emerges fade into childhood memories, and the process of engaging new friendships becomes significantly more efficient and discriminating: Only friendships that complement the new self are nurtured. As the young adult in his 20s makes his way in the world, his major support network—emotionally, socially, and sometimes financially—is his cadre of close friends.  Some of the friendships forged during this period endure a lifetime. The first profound experiences of sexual and emotional intimacy typically occur in this decade, oftentimes with lifelong effects. The 20s is arguably the most liberating, creative decade of a person’s life:  He is emancipated from his parents and their expectations; he is surrounded and supported by his emancipated contemporaries and their oftentimes-liberal outlooks on life as he takes his first steps into life as a young adult; and he has not yet committed himself to starting his own family. A person in his 20s is as inclined towards taking risks as he will ever be in life. People in their 20s regard themselves as special and endeavor to change the world. Career choices are generally exploratory and eliminatory

People in their 30s begin settling into their work-choices, the vocation-exploration phase of the previous decade having created and eliminated certain opportunities. Emotionally and socially, people become more nuclear as their circle of close friendships, which was almost all-encompassing during their 20s, is drastically reshaped as friends move away for work-opportunities and others marry or commit themselves emotionally and intimately to partners. Many people stop believing that they are special and abandon their dreams of changing the world or achieving great things. Much time and energy are spent on building family and intimacy. People become more introspective and Existential, realizing that their lives will be primarily determined by their decisions.

People in their 40s begin resigning themselves to the people they have become; they begin coming to terms with themselves—good, bad, or otherwise. The opportunities to form new, profound friendships are significantly diminished, with most new relationships being the result of professional interaction. For “forty-somethings,” anyone invited to enter their lives must take them as they come or leave them as they are. New friends must meet certain tried-and-tested criteria. People become more emotionally efficient, having learned over the years how to deal with triumphs and failures, losses and gains.

People in their 50s, recognizing that they have entered the second half of their physical existence, begin a process of self-assessment, focusing on whatever they determine to be the most important things in life. Much time is spent pondering legacy.

Many people die in their 70s, so people in their 60s begin concerning themselves with health and longevity. Eating healthily, minimizing stress, and focusing on the well-being of family and community become exceedingly important. Sexagenarians begin “giving back” to the societies and institutions that nurtured them. And as their friends begin dying of natural causes, they become very mindful of their own vulnerability to time. People in their 60s begin a process of mending salvageable relationships and correcting wrongs. Many of them return to religion; rebuild relationships with their siblings as their offspring begin focusing on their own lives; and rekindle old friendships. People in their 60s conscientiously begin the spiritual journey.

People in their 70s, because death of their contemporaries seems to surround them, begin readying themselves for death—as untimely as it may be. Society and its views become less significant. Like children in their “terrible twos,” septuagenarians begin reasserting themselves as free individuals, unrestricted by expectations, rules, and other people’s opinions. Their physical, mental, and spiritual selves are as much in equilibrium as they will ever be in Earthly existence.

People who live into their 80s realize that they have been specially blessed with longevity. But they also realize that each day is a gift.  For every day of physical exertion, two days of recuperation are now required. So octogenarians become more selective in their social outings and activities. Rest and peace of mind are prized above all. Days are structured, with particular activities being scheduled for particular periods in the day. Long conversations are cherished. Intimate knowledge of family history, as well as accounts of life’s experiences, is shared with loved ones.

Though there are some examples of professionally and socially active nonagenarians and centenarians, for most of the few people who live into their 90s and beyond, life is on “automatic pilot.” The daily routines established during their 80s are adhered to, but simplified. Appetite is diminished. Interest in worldly things wanes. Few things surprise the elderly, for they have seen much. Their major regrets are the things they had the opportunity to do but did not do. As with children, who have just come from the spirit world, the elderly, en route back to the spirit world, become acutely aware of the spiritual realm.  Thus, they sit and ready themselves for the moment of physical death.

 

Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Rave Reviews from Publishing Industry’s Foremost Critics!

Manly Manners:  Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century by fashion designer and former U.S. Virgin Islands senator Wayne James is garnering stellar reviews from the publishing industry’s most discerning critics.  Besides offering comprehensive instruction on etiquette-book standards such as table manners, men’s hygiene and wardrobing, and thank-you letters, the 840-page treatise (volume one of a trilogy) also provides sound advice on subjects as varied and unexpected as how to delicately suggest an enema to a sex-partner prior to engaging in anal sex, what to expect when attending a Japanese funeral or a Persian wedding, and how to conduct oneself when granted an Audience with the pope or visiting a gay sauna (with or without rentboys). And the author’s effortlessly elegant, witty writing-style is generating critical acclaim: “Sophisticated, amusing and entertaining” (BlueInk Review); “Emily Post…would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on” (Foreword Clarion); and “…the author provides a polymathic description of the world for people who wish to experience it to the fullest in a gentlemanly fashion” (Kirkus Reviews) are just a few of the compliments that have been paid to date.

front-cover-of-manly-manners-vol-i

 

“My aim was to write a book that speaks to the times,” James said.  “As such, topics once regarded as taboo or unsuitable for etiquette books are discussed openly and unapologetically.  How could I, in good conscience, write a book on 21st-century men’s manners and not give guidance on bullying, same-sex marriage, surviving police detention and incarceration, and international customs and faux pas?  The world has changed, and so must books on manners.”

Wayne James at Trunk Bay.jpg

Author Wayne James on hilltop overlooking Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The book’s foreword is written by Baron Peter von Troil of Finland and Sweden, whose maternal family line has been connected to the author’s family since the 1870s—for six generations.  And carefully placed throughout the book are illustrations, lists, and charts, all of which converge to make Manly Manners user-friendly and engaging even to young adult readers. An extensive index facilitates the navigation of the volume, and the book’s tone is decidedly egalitarian and inclusive.  “Any young man can cultivate himself into a gentleman,” James said. “Manly Manners provides a comprehensive roadmap.”

Published by the iUniverse Division of Penguin Random House and distributed by Ingram Books, Manly Manners:  Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century (ISBN:   978-1-4917-9427-2) is available online at  www.Amazon.com , www.BarnesandNoble.com , and www.iUniverse.com and in bookstores worldwide in hardcover, paperback, and e-Book formats.