Imagine for a moment, you are joining five of your friends who are already sitting at a restaurant table. They are all tucking into plates of the same delicious roast chicken but the contents of their glasses differ. Al is drinking Cotes du Rhone; Bea is sipping at a Riesling; Carl’s tankard is full of Guiness; Dee is on water and Ed has a Coke.
Ok, let’s change the picture. The same five friends are sitting at the same table. This time, they all have glasses of a delicious Cotes du Rhone (probably the one Al was drinking in the other scenario) but as you’ll have guessed, it’s the food that’s diverse. Al is eating the same chicken as before, Bea is relishing a prawn curry, Carl is enjoying a slice of rare roast beef, Dee has decided to pass and Ed has a slice of chocolate cake.
Setting aside the deliberate exaggeration, the first picture is one you might be more likely to encounter in the US, where restaurants have more dynamic wine-by-the-glass programmes; the second reflects the European tradition of diners tending to compromise over which bottle of wine they will all drink with their varied dishes.
My question is “given the fact that you are going to be sitting at these tables with your friends, does one of the scenarios appeal to you more than the other. If so, which would it be? And why?
My own view, for what it’s worth, is that if it’s a dinner with friends, I’d be equally happy with either. And yes, I do have friends who drink Coke with their chicken and wouldn’t mind washing their chocolate cake down with a glass of red.