May 01, 2007

Book Review: "Educating Peter" by Lettie Teague

The full title of this book is Educating Peter: How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert

I will cheat, just a teensy bit, by posting an excerpt from the amazon page:
Lettie Teague knows wine. She has been the wine editor at Food & Wine magazine for almost a decade. After many years of fielding these questions, Lettie was determined to debunk the myth that learning about wine is hard. She decided to find just one wine idiot and teach him a few fundamentals -- how to order off a restaurant wine list without fear, approach a wine merchant with confidence, and perhaps even score a few points off a wine snob.
If you're so inclined, you can also listen to the Splendid Table interview, which you can find here OK, now that you know the gist, I will offer my opinion, which is why Ms. Teague's people graciously sent me this book: to review it and post it on this blog.

I loved this book. I read it through voraciously, sometimes up to two hours at a sitting while I waited for the rest of the world (well, my world) to wake up. Big pot of hazelnut coffee, spa-type waffle robe, flip-flops, and this book, outside on my back patio. I felt as though I should have been taking notes. As I read it again, I plan to have a pen and paper handy. (and dammit, I have a no-renew-because-there's-a-waiting-list book checked out from the library.)

The book is fun, although as a read a passage out loud to my friend, he said, "it sounds like someone ran it through a thesaurus and replaced all the normal words with longer words, so it sounds more impressive," which is kind of accurate, (I don't think the average reader should have to pull out a dictionary (or to comprehend a book like this, but beyond that i thought it was a fun read.

Anyway, yeah, it's a keeper, and very well worth the price of admission, if you consider that you'll have learned several tricks to avoid bad wine that you'd otherwise pour down the sink. And it's also good to have a few good wine-drinking terms up your sleeve for tossing around at dinner!

My only comment would be that I'd have liked to see her talk about how to actually drink wine before the very last chapter. It sounds as though she let that poor Peter go around like a dolt until he got to the restaurants.

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