GOOD EXAMPLE MAKES GOOD FOLLOWING …
My mother-in-law is a real kitchen princess, but then a real 84-year-old Brabant girl, so everywhere there is booze, booze, booze in, booze under and over... the Brabant people among you will undoubtedly recognize this. Apple pie? Not only Goudreinet goes into this, but of course also raisins soaked in brown rum. Rabbit leg? Wine to deglaze and wine to drink as soon as it comes to the table. With red cabbage, of course with a good shot of port. And so I can go on and on. Hospitable as she is, there is already a glass of wine or beer waiting for you before you have properly hung your coat on the coat rack and the stock of drinks, of any kind, is almost unlimited because saying no to your guests does a Brabantine would rather not.
Fortunately, she can also appreciate my cooking skills a bit, so she has a nice meal at our house almost every Sunday. And then we 'of course' drink a good glass. The ladies mostly dry white wine, unless the dish asks for red wine, then we immediately switch to the next bottle. I usually stick to (blonde or heavy blond) beer, because I tolerate that just a little better. But then all of a sudden it's Dry January and mother-in-law comes in and sees us sitting with a glass of ginger water. “I really don't understand you,” she says, “no alcohol at all in January and then drinking again as if nothing had happened”. No mothers, even after January we will limit ourselves when it comes to alcoholic drinks. In recent years we have started to drink less and less after Dry January and this year (just like last year) we will continue until mid-April anyway, because Rotterdam Marathon, remember?
“Oh yes, that's true… well, just hand me a glass of water then”. But you can just drink wine or port or whatever, we just don't participate and are really not tempted. But she perseveres in her choice and joins us in solidarity, she drinks water throughout the aperitif and dinner, without grumbling and it's fun too.
Would my wife and I have set a good example now? It was really not the intention to keep an elderly lady from her wine, but she chose water herself. And if that is the case, that we have got an experienced Brabant woman on the water, would it perhaps also succeed in getting more people, including peers, to think about drinking alcohol? But then without being immediately worn as a do-gooder, just by drinking something else, by setting a different example.
In an earlier edition in 2021 I already wrote that it was about time that drinking non-alcoholic drinks was considered just as normal as drinking alcohol. Fortunately, we are seeing this more and more in the hospitality industry. In addition to an extensive regular wine list, a self-respecting restaurant also has non-alcoholic wines and beers, in some cases excellent kombuchas and if you are really lucky you can even choose from various types of tea to accompany your dinner. And let tea be a fantastic alternative to alcohol during dinner. It can enhance the flavors of your food, you stay clear and therefore taste everything even better. Still unsure? Try green tea with your sushi, I dare say tastier than Sake.
During my first Dry January I still regularly drank non-alcoholic beer, but the need for beer, with or without, has now completely disappeared. As I write this I pour another delicious Japanese Sencha and I look forward to an exceptionally good night's sleep and waking up wonderfully fresh and relaxed. That prospect alone is enough motivation to effortlessly extend my Dry January for a few months