Two of the attributes necessary to being a successful Professional Barfly (a journalist that writes about the food and beverage industry) are longevity and an ability to maintain the semi-detachment of a professional journalist. These two attributes were called to mind one hot and humid afternoon recently. I was sitting at the bar on Atlantic Avenue at the edge of the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood enjoying the first chilled beer of the afternoon. The ambiance, décor, menu items and language capabilities of the floor staff spoke to the “French-ness” of the restaurant. The open doors, windows, open wall panels and ceiling-fan-air-conditioning spoke to me even more “French” as the Kronenbourg lager I was sipping.

Longevity had been on my mind for a week or so after attending a family reunion. It was my wife’s family and the reunion was in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As a semi-detached member of the assembly I was particularly intrigued with the numbers of generations involved. Calculating my relative chronological association with the generations represented was sobering. My competitive personality was piqued by those relating their accomplishments and those of other family members. After lengthy recitations I was relieved to learn that I was the only Professional Barfly in attendance.

As I sat at the dinner table while the family history was recited and the generations recognized my mind wandered to where I keep my list of pretty-cool-things-done. Most of them had to do with eating and drinking with others, The more interesting the company the more interesting the meal. Crepes on a Sunday morning for friends, ground “beef” formed into “steaks” and flamed with Old Overhault, beef cheeks with the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs™, an eight (or was it ten) course tasting dinner in Cambridge, Massachusetts were all there. Then came to mind the lunch in Philadelphia when my interviewing the chef/owner developed into a three-hour long multi-course meal with him and a noted Belgian chef doing alternate dishes all with beer as an important ingredient, and the birthday party for my wife when the food for fifth people was prepared and served from our galley kitchen by the chef and souse chef from the Ritz-Carlton in New York City.

As the history of a family was being shared, my recollections seemed to resonate that sharing theme as well. As the two harmonized I realized that longevity is relative but the enjoyment of all of it is up to you to share.