Skip to main content

Three Philosophers - For Matt

Less than a week ago, I lost someone I knew. I saw on Facebook that Matt Schuler had died. At first I thought it was a joke. A sick joke. Then a few more posts and a couple of emails later, I realized that it was true. And it launched me down a nostalgic, wistful road.

Matt and I were part of the original 13 - thirteen students who began their high school careers at York School in Monterey a year early, as eighth graders. By the time we graduated five years later, our class had swelled to 32 with a few kids drifting in and out through the years. For the most part, it didn't matter who had arrived in eighth grade, ninth grade, or even transferred in as a junior. What it meant to me was that Matt and I shared many, many classes. From English to Physics and Chemistry to Choir, he was there. Most memorably, he and I were the only two in our class who slogged through five years of Latin when only two were required. By the fifth year, we began to bicker about what we should read. He wanted to read Pliny's war histories while I longed to read Ovid's love poetry; our teacher, Mr. Sturch, brokered a truce: two days a week I would read Ovid, two days a week Matt would read Pliny, and one day a week we would read whatever Mr. Sturch wanted us to read. Sounded reasonable.

Over the twenty years that have gone by since high school, Matt and I lost touch. But as many of us have, we reconnected through social media. And my family and I had the pleasure of brunching with Matt and his girlfriend Kim when they were in town for a family function. Since then, Matt followed my kitchen blog and commented on my recipes or my libation creations. Just a couple of weeks ago, I penned a blogpost about National Absinthe Day and the bottle I had picked up on my way home from work. "I think the St George is close to the best American absinthe," he wrote. I wondered which one he would have deemed the best, but I didn't ask. I should have because now I'll never know.

Though I wouldn't characterize my relationship with Matt as a close friendship, we were more than acquaintances. We were two people who had shared five years at a very small school; shared tables over meals, both as adolescents and adults; and shared a passion about good food and great drinks. Reading through the remembrances written by Matt's friends, I see a picture of a man who was giving and loving - one who constantly challenged the people around him to be better, to learn more, and to seize the day.

One of the stories another friend posted - Three Philosophers by Paul Berry - introduced me to a new beer. Leave it to Matt to introduce me to a winning brew even after he's gone. When I was standing in front of the cooler at WholeFoods after my run, there it was. Three Philosophers. So, I bought it.

And I came home, cracked the bottle, told Jake the story that Paul had shared, and poured it. "Slowly so as not to disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the sumptuous bouquet," instructed the label. Sounded like something Matt would say.

The verdict: this reminded me of the richness of Samichlaus but a little lighter - perfect for summertime.

Thanks, Matt. As usual, your recommendations are spot-on. Cheers...wherever you are. You are missed.


Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas