Alain de Botton’s perfect dinner party turns my stomach
It is generally regarded as cheap and undignified to make attacks on specific writers replica prada womens wallets, even if that writer is Jan Moir. That doesn’t mean it’s always wrong to do so. And so to the account in this week’s Times, by writer and hack philosopher Alain de Botton – author of the Art of Travel and the Architecture of Happiness – on his approach to the perfect dinner party. His initial point, Authentic Prada Shoes For Sale that if the food is the best part of a dinner party something has gone wrong, is uncontroversial. Many of us know the agony of the dinner party which Apertura Outlet Prada Montevarchi is really just a cock-waving Authentic Prada Handbags For Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Store Cheap contest by some self-inflated male cook – and it always is men – who have invited you solely to admire the macho things Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Uk Sale they can do with fire, knives and dead animals.
His next, however – that people spend too long cooking, given how long it takes to eat, just makes me want to slap him. Curiously it also negates one of the few flimsy theses with which he has built his writing career. In his book on travel he argued that the anticipation of a holiday was actually a part of the pleasure of that holiday. And if that doesn’t apply Apertura Outlet Prada Montevarchi to the anticipation of a good dinner party, expressed through the pleasure of cooking for it, then surely his own thesis is bollocks?
For me, an afternoon of cooking is a part of the whole process. That’s before we even consider the fact that De Botton fails to recognise the way in which the act of cooking for others might represent a generosity of spirit, an instinct to feed.
No, for him the solution is ready meals, of which he declares himself a big Authentic Prada Outlet Online Usa fan. This is, he says, the best way to feed eight people. Though he does recognise the importance of booze. Cleverly he puts that in the hands of an expert, his wife who, he says, “would take care of that with a bottle of red and a bottle of white”. A bottle? One of each? Between eight? The modest amounts aside, it recalls Kingsley Amis’s observation that one of the most lowering sentences in the English language is “red or white?”, as if the great and wondrous expanse and promise of wine, can be reduced to just two dismal shades.
But best – by which I mean, worst – of all is De Botton’s approach to conversation at the table. Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shopping “Good conversation,” he says, “is when people make themselves vulnerable and reveal things about themselves Are Prada Nylon Bags Worth The Money that could be taken against them in the future”. What a nice man. To facilitate this process he likes to pose serious and pointed questions, such as: “What’s everyone afraid of at the moment?” or “Why have you come out tonight?” or “What’s the point in your life?” I particularly appreciate the last one because I would very much want to ask Alain Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Outlet Online de Botton what the point of him is.
At this point in a Word of Mouth post there is a convention that we pose a general question arising out of the specifics; something like ‘How do you engineer the balance between food and conversation?’ But I confess that the question I would really like answered is, what would you cook if, by some terrible misfortune, Alain De Botton came round your house for dinner?