CHEERS M’dears!

Posted: February 29, 2012 in life
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Couple Clinking Glasses by Fireplace

Hold the front page. The French have said (or at least an academic at Reims university has) that neither the coupe nor the flute makes a better vehicle for champagne than an ordinary wine glass. So the question of flute versus coupe can be dropped, and those who have only known the flute need no longer be baffled by the prisoner in Koestler’s Darkness at Noon who dreamed of “girls with breasts like champagne glasses”.

So many “correct” table conventions don’t make sense: you hold a hock glass by the bowl, but its long stem was designed to keep the hot hand off the cool wine. No gentleman smokes a cigar with a band on – though the band was designed to protect Cuban ladies’ fingers while they smoked.

Naturally there is confusion when the manners of one country passes to another; small children resting elbows on the table can be bewildered by being told in Britain that “all joints on the table are to be carved” but it’s mains sur la table in France. At least we’re lucky not to have imported the habit of belching to show how much we’ve enjoyed the food.

Whatever the truth of the matter, I love it when academics turn their erudite brains to everyday subjects. My favourite is the study by Tania Sanchez, whose institute spent years of research on perfume to discover what scent most drives men wild: “We discovered,” she said, “it is bacon.”

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