A friend called me from Texas to read me the December 2008 review of my book. The reviewer calls me a jolly green jihadist on a mission and his sign off is something like I'm good at raising hell. My heart is on my sleeve, but isn't that the right place? Here's the bit that got me. "There's a nagging gap; raised in a Jewish orthdox household she does not eat meat or shell fish. Which raises a question she never addresses, with this sort of truncated regime, what for her is wine's purpose?" Why do people think I have to eat meat to love and understand wine? Why is there pity in their eyes--no steak and claret? How can you live? And some take it even further. A few years ago a book editor once screamed at me at a dinner, you don't eat meat and write about wine? Off with your head! Don't you know people who will eat anything that walks but that is because they have no sense of taste? I do. And what is so great about meat anyway? I stopped because I don't like it, not because I'm on a regime. Have they ever had grilled mushrooms or truffles on pasta or stinky and lascivious epoisses? Because I don't eat tripe or kidney pie I don't get the sensual delight of food? Yeah. I'm off on a rant. This is a hot button topic for me. And, what does my Orthodox background have to do with anything, especially when it comes to my wine knowledge and passion? My background for a wine writer is unusual which is why I included these autobiographical bits in the book. I mean, most of the people I grew up with still consider Carmel extra sweet a fine wine, but why would someone take this as a cue to question my wine motivation or even my knowledge? Last winter, my agent's British sub agent asked if I would consider editing out the few Yiddish words within the book's pages. Betsy and I had similar reaction to the suggestion...our anti-semite buttons went off, our respective red hairs bristled. The words stayed. Funny thing is that I sold Spanish rights to the book--it will be out in 2010--no one seemed to mind the Yiddish there.