A Wine and Food Bedside Book 

By H W Yoxall, Claude Morny, Andre Simon

                              Foreword  (H W Yoxall) 

I was a subscriber to Wine and Food from its first volume to its lamented demise; and as I re-read this selection from its pages the first effect, naturally, was the evocation of the person and personality of the magazine's founder and long-time editor, Andre L. Simon.

If ever there was anyone to whom the overworked vogue-epithet 'charismatic' can legitimately be applied it was to Andre - as everyone called him, tout court. With his pink complexion, his lovely white hair, his rusé smile and his charming French accent — the last, I think, somewhat consciously preserved during his lengthy residence in England - he certainly had charisma.


It was this quality that enabled him to persuade authors of the calibre of Hilaire Belloc, E. M. Forster, Osbert Sitwell, Cyril Connolly and Warner Alien to write for a magazine little-known in its debut and never claiming more than a few thousand readers, for the reward of a case of wine, or just a well-chosen lunch, or even nothing but a graceful letter of thanks. Andre was the sort of person who had only to ask you to do a thing for you to do it, out of affection.

There have been quite a number of men who have known a lot about wine, and quite a number of men and women who have known a lot about food; but very few who have known as much about both wine and food as Andre. Certainly the growth of interest in gastronomy in this country, and indeed in the whole English-speaking world, owes more to him than to anyone else.


                                                                       ANDRE L. SIMON


It is it not strange that the English, who love their food more than the French, have never coined any words of their own for gourmand, gourmet and gastronome? Throughout the whole of the English-speaking world those three French words are accepted at their face value and they have retained their original meaning.

Gourmand is the greedy fellow who does not mind very much about quality so long as he gets a lot: even when he is not actually asking, he is hoping for more.

Gourmet is the 'choosey' eater with definite likes and dislikes of his own, who prefers quality to quantity.

Gastronome is the cultured and knowledgeable gourmet: his approach to all that is best to eat and drink is that of the epicurean philosopher who recognizes the ethical value of the amenities of a gracious way of living; it is not that of the materialist whose chief concern is merely sensual gratification.

Gastronomes do not 'live to eat', nor do they eat and drink only because they must to keep alive. They eat their bread with joy and they drink their wine with a merry heart' as we read in Holy Writ. (Ecclesiastes ix, 7.)

The greater number of gastronomes there will be in the world, the happier a world it will be.


                                                                         ANDRE L. SIMON

                                                                  ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE

The world, we know, is made up of all sorts of people; young old, good and bad, dull and brilliant. God loves them all, there are very few of them whom we like at all times of day and night, yet many do we welcome when in the mood for them; there are also quite a few for whom we have use at any time. It is the same with wine. There are all sorts of wine, young and old, good and bad, still and sparkling. therere are times, moods and occasions, when young wine will give us greater pleasure than the old; others when we shall enjoy the company of the old far more than that of the young. there are are people who have been known to prefer bad wine to good, just as there are men who are fascinated by bad women.

Of course, there are also wines and women as dull as they are good. Let us be fair. Are we not to blame? Quite possibly, it may be our faulty technique or the wrong dish that makes them dull. Diamonds sparkle on a woman's hands or head, because you look at them or because they do their best to dazzle you, but because that is the way they happen to be be; they sparkle just as much when locked up in their case. Wine and women are not made that way. They sparkle when you look at them, when you like them and they like you. Not otherwise. That is why the same wine and the same man may be overrated luxuries or the dearest of minister-angels. That is also why it is so important and so fascinating to understand - Wine.


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     A Wine and Food Bedside Book -  Guildhall Library, London  - Andre Simon Collection ref - AS936