April 12, 2017

"Do you think in your lifetime you’ve drunk more wine than water?"/"That’s a good question. Certainly, the last twenty years, yes."

"I don’t drink that much water, you know? It’s an interesting thing, because now there is an obsession with water. I mean, we go 20 feet, we go walking, and we have to have water. When I was a kid, I left in the morning to go to the woods with my brother, and we never had water. Granted, we stopped in a village, there was a fountain, you drank the water. But even now, I go play boulé or I go mushrooming for two hours, someone says, 'Do you want some water?' No! I can go two hours without a bottle of water."

So begins the GQ interview with Jacque Pépin, which I got to via Metafilter.


readering said...

The implication being he can't go two hours without a glass of wine? Who is he, Winston Churchill?

Sebastian said...

You know, that's one guy I'd like to have dinner with.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Current conventional wisdom say you must drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Lots of people will tell you this, and that other beverages do not count.

The problem is that there is no science backing that very specific prescription. Yeah, water is important. But eight 8-ounce glasses daily? That is modern folklore.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

Bobby Boucher's Mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush.

Not to mention a lack of high quality H2O.

J. Farmer said...

I think the water obsession comes from the bogus statistic about the supposed health benefits of drinking eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day. Like much information in the nutrition/fitness world, it's a completely unsubstantiated number. Plus, the wine/water distinction is a little blurry, since probably 80% of wine by volume is water. Hell, nearly 75% of the animal muscle people eat as meat is made up of water.

J. Farmer said...

@Roy Jacobsen:

Beat me to it :)

Sebastian said...

So, Althouse, can you taste the difference between water and wine? (Sorry if you covered that previously.)

Fred Drinkwater said...

In McPhee's "Rising from the Plains", the protagonist geologist, David Love, remarks at one point that if he takes a drink now, he'll be thirsty all day.

Limited blogger said...

I stopped drinking 20 years ago, but I still may have drunk more whiskey than water.

Fred Drinkwater said...

IIRC the original author of the "eight glasses a day" scheme later pointed out that he meant that one should consume that amount, including the water naturally contained in everything else consumed, NOT that 8 "extra" glasses of water were appropriate.

tcrosse said...

OTOH here in the desert it's easy to become dehydrated if one doesn't take an occasional sip.

The Godfather said...

There have been a few times in my life when I was VERY thirsty for a drink of water: Basic Training at Ft Bliss TX in July & August, hiking up the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in late August. I like wine, but I have never wanted wine THAT much.

Anonymous said...

Yes! What is the obsession with water? I'm a SAHM and there is an obsession with pricey water bottles as status symbols! Every mom is carrying around some $25 bottle! Ridiculous! Plus water is bland. -- Jessica

Freeman Hunt said...

Why is wine considered a good thing to pair with a gourmet meal? Wine dulls the senses. I notice a slight difference even after one glass.

"Here is your delicious, painstakingly-crafted meal. And here is the drink to go with it to prevent you from receiving utmost enjoyment from it."

J. Farmer said...


I'm a SAHM and there is an obsession with pricey water bottles as status symbols!

I think you just put your finger on it. Water bottles give the opportunity for conspicuous consumption. Penn & Teller used to have a a Showtime program where they would debunk popular myths. Bottled water was one of their targets. You can watch part of the segment here. Fiji is probably the best at it. They crafted a beautiful square bottle, came up with a fetching story ("untouched by human hands...earth's finest water"), and they charge a big markup. It works. Same strategy as Patron, who purposely priced their tequila well above the average to convey a message of luxury.

dbp said...


Glenda Jackson explains the benefits of wine when eating gourmet food very well here.

whitney said...

I'm I the only whose favorite drink is water? Has been since I was child. But not soft water like in Florida. Yuk.

dreams said...

Water is good and if it's hot weather, cold water will cool you off. I've read about the benefits of wine for your heart health but I never could get into it.

rhhardin said...

There was a coffee-flavored hard candy when I was a kid, but it's easier if you work at home to get coffee with water.

rhhardin said...

Something called "Smart Water" (in the overpriced-water section of the supermarket) is actually spectacularly good at rehydrating you after exercise.

There's a noticeable bounce-back that regular just-water doesn't give you.

BudBrown said...

People sure complain about Florida water. Like most of my relatives. This cousin has this filtration system and another has this one. What we liked doing as kids was drinking water from the outdoor faucets or the hoses that were always around. I suppose liking water from the hose is an acquired taste. But when you were inside
then you had a glass of water and the proper way to serve that was with ice. I remember in 1960 we were visiting these people outside Boston and I got handed a glass
of water without ice. Ok, I was only 6 and there was a clump of snow in their driveway, the first I'd ever seen, but if you're inside and it's in a glass the water needs ice.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...


No, you're not the only one. If I could drink only one thing, it'd be water. (Sorry, coffee!) I like mine iced, though.

Did Pepin say anything about "vitamin waters"? These are basically water flavored with fruit extracts, sweetened with Splenda, and vitamins added. So, basically calorie-free. Some are sparkling, some not. We tend to get ours in bulk at Costco, but honestly they're ubiquitous in every supermarket here. They are a very new phenomenon; I don't recall seeing them more than a couple of years ago.

Tommy Duncan said...

You can survive:

3 minutes without air

3 days without water

3 weeks without food

Carrying a water bottle around is silly.

David Baker said...

I love Jacque Pépin, he's such a shoemaker! I love him because he's always talking about the joy of cooking with friends and family - while in the background it looks like he wants to brain his daughter. Also his friend, a genuine French chef.

By "shoemaker" I mean he'll shoehorn just about anything he can find into a dish. Julia Child corrected him all the time - the one cook he considered his equal.

In all the years I've been following him, I've learned almost nothing new about cooking. But still, I love watching him.

Bob Boyd said...

"Reminds me of the time we were lost in the wilds of Afghanistan.
We were separated from our supplies and were forced to live on food and water for several days." - W C Fields

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Don't get your hopes up. He won't be posting videos of himself with a winebox anytime soon.

J. Farmer said...

@Bob Boyd:

Ha. I miss the days of the lovable drunk embodied by W.C. Fields. But I think his most killer line on water has to be:

“I don't drink water. Fish fuck in it.”

David Baker said...

(Oh, Lord. "O'Reilly" just came on and Dana Perino is sitting in)

dreams said...

"(Oh, Lord. "O'Reilly" just came on and Dana Perino is sitting in)"

I don't care for either one of them, O'Reilly is a big blow and Dana Perino is a lightweight.

dreams said...

When I played golf in hot weather and when I mow grass in hot weather I have an ice bottle with me so I can stay hydrated and cooler. It's silly to say you don't need water when doing hard labor or running outside in hot weather. When I do 30 minutes on the treadmill, I make sure I have water to drink while I'm doing it.

Bob Boyd said...

@J. Farmer

That's one of his most famous lines. Here's another:

I always carry a flagon of whiskey, in case of snake bite.
I also carry a small snake.

J. Farmer said...

@Bob Boyd:

Ha. And also: "I never drink water. I'm afraid it will become habit-forming."

glenn said...

Toss in beer, Brandy and in my younger says bourbon and we are getting close.

andy karas said...

Off topic. Your site is taking an inordinately long to time to load today and that continues as you move from the topic to the comment section. Highly unusual in my experience as I visit daily. Problem with Blogger, the server, or someone interfering?

J. Farmer said...

@andy karas:

Problem with Blogger, the server, or someone interfering?

Blogger. I experienced similar problems several days ago. And it resolved after several hours. Due to the different servers Blogger uses, the problem is likely limited in its geographic scope.

DanTheMan said...

>>I love Jacque Pépin, he's such a shoemaker!

David, I assume you know that "You cook like a shoemaker" is a grievous insult to a Frenchman.

fivewheels said...

"There was a coffee-flavored hard candy when I was a kid..."

Coffee Nips? I haven't had them since I was a kid either, but they're still out there. You can get them through the Amazon portal.

Big Mike said...

Wife and I have a running joke based on something Jacques Pépin said on one cooking show. "Now we add just a leetle wine," as the wine literally glug-glug-glugs out of the bottle.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amazon: Pepin - Fast Food My Way
Solid cookbook.

Ann Althouse said...

Coffee Nips! I used to eat those.

exiledonmainstreet said...

J. Farmer and Roy Jacobsen: Perhaps 8 glasses a day is overkill (and you can definitely overhydrate yourself) but I can think of how not drinking enough water can hurt you. My SIL has gone through two exceptionally painful bouts with kidney stones. She does not like drinking water. After the first episode, she was told to drink more water. After a while, she fell back into old habits. After passing another stone, she forced herself to drink a lot of water. I don't know if not drinking water is the main cause of kidney stones or whether some people are just more prone to them, but if you are, drink up!

I drink a lot of water because I don't like soda.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Dietary factors and practices may increase the risk of stone formation in susceptible individuals. In particular, inadequate fluid intake predisposes to dehydration, which is a major risk factor for stone formation."

The key word is "susceptible." Forming kidney stones does seem to have a heredity component and other factors (too much salt and/or sugar, too much animal protein, too much Vitamin D in the diet) increases the risk, but of course, you don't know if you have that unlucky genetic predisposition until you actually get one.

I haven't, but after seeing people who have (an uncle had to be taken by the ambulance to the ER with one after his blood pressure got so high from the pain he nearly had a stroke), if I was told I had to drink a bucket of sludge every day to avoid getting one, I would.

Vimax Medan said...











StephenFearby said...

Then there's Hydrogen Water (AKA Hydrogen Rich Water and Reduced Water)!

Probably over 300 studies on it, mostly in the far east. But the VA sponsored a (positive) study on it in 2014 for TBI. (Something the NFL should take note of.)

Two other examples:

Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;168(6):1412-20.
Hydrogen water consumption prevents osteopenia in ovariectomized rats.

"...HW consumption prevents osteopenia in ovariectomized rats possibly through the ablation of oxidative stress induced by oestrogen withdrawal."


OK, them's rats.

How 'bout in human critters (newborn)?

Open Med (Wars). 2016 Oct 21;11(1):399-406.
Hydrogen water reduces NSE, IL-6, and TNF-α levels in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy [HIE].

"...HIE consists of a series of complex pathological alterations after hypoxic and ischemic changes in brain tissue, which result in neuronal cell apoptosis. Inflammatory cytokine-mediated responses play an important role in the mechanism of ischemic brain damage [17]. This study retrospectively analyzed the efficacy of hydrogen water in the treatment
of neonatal HIE..."

"...This study showed that hydrogen water can reduce levels of NSE, which is the most sensitive biochemical marker of neuronal damage in neonatal HIE. In addition, hydrogen water reduced levels of TNF-α and IL-6, which mediate inflammatory responses. Therefore, hydrogen water is efficacious in the treatment of neonatal HIE."


There's no lack of vendors trying to sell you equipment to make this stuff for whatever ails you. Some more expensive and complicated and credible than others.


Bob R said...

Pepin's "Techniques" is a great cookbook - my favorite. It's an updated version of two older books that were filled with black and white pictures. Taught me a heck of a lot about butchery. Very basic, but detailed and deep at the same time.

Vimax Medan said...