September 10th, 2008

Last night I tried to explain to a friend, whose native language is not English, the difference between muffins and cupcakes. One is more like cake and one is more like bread, turned out to be the most understandable answer, cake and bread being two distinct ideas, recognizable cross-culturally. The first is indulgent dessert and the second is substantial food, we all knew. And now I sit down to write to you about the Cakebread Winery. This is a 30-year-old family operation that has dedicated itself to finding the middle ground between health and enjoyment. The matron of the family, when speaking about her renowned organic garden and kitchen, talks about learning to eat better so that she and her husband could live to enjoy their winery. They created something called the “Good Life Series,” and participate in something else called the “American Harvest Workshop,” two projects that discuss a clean organic diet and the role of wine in such a lifestyle. One son talks about the FDA including wine in its dietary guidelines, and another about the intangible pleasure a good wine adds to a healthy meal. They are, it would seem, trying to make a wine that is both cake and bread, if you’ll allow me, finally, to state the obvious. But the thing is, this neat moniker isn’t a fanciful bit of philosophical poetry; Cakebread, is their family name. Here is the place where somebody out there might be tempted to use words like fate and destiny. I don’t want to, but I would understand.

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