(Editor's Note: This piece from Embury Wine & Food Editor Stuart Krimko has been amongst a backlog of posts I've had piling up to due to chronic modern urban distractedness and terrible sloth on my part. How backlogged? Check the original title: Back to School cocktail reading and listening. A thousand apologies to Krimko, whose other fine pieces can be read here. J.R.)
I've got some good drinking stuff on my to-do list for the upcoming school year. Several of you have asked me to recommend wines from Trader Joe's, which is a noble task that I have been postponing for too long; I'll get to it soon, but in case you're thirsty this moment and reading this on your smart phone in the booze aisle of your local TJ's, pick up a bottle of VINTJS Sauvignon Blanc. This is some of the best less-than-eight-dollar-a-bottle white wine I've had in some time, and I've had it several times since realizing this was so. If you need more convincing, I'll do my best in my next post.
Now, onto slightly more literary topics. Over the past few months I've enjoyed making my way through the New Yorker's podcasts. They've set up a nice format: a writer who has published a story in the magazine chooses a story that another writer published in the magazine to read aloud. The first in the series is John Cheever's "Reunion," read by Richard Ford, in which a boy named Charlie meets his father in Grand Central Station for an afternoon of Beefeater Gibsons. I love Beefeater martinis, but I prefer mine with olives––I was going to say I prefer mine up with olives, but I've recently been delighted by Beefeater martinis with olives on the rocks. Will martinis on the rocks come back into fashion soon? Were they ever in fashion?
Cheever, not Krimko
"Reunion" is heartbreaking and hilarious. Richard Ford does a wonderful job of switching back and forth between the voices of the meek, embarrassed, wistful Charlie, who narrates the story, and his drunk blowhard of a father. The story takes no more than a few minutes for Ford to read, but Cheever has packed much into those few minutes: underage drinking, the proper ratio of gin to vermouth, the echoing splendor of Grand Central Station, the everlasting battle between obnoxious customers and exasperated wait staff, and the distressing vagaries of the father-son relationship. When Charlie tells us, at the end of the story, that this was "the last time I saw my father," we want to pat him on the back and pour him another drink.S.K.