Letters To My Students: “Love Is Like A Red Wine Reduction”

Dear English 269 members:

Love is like a red wine reduction.

In cooking, a reduction means to simmer a liquid until only the flavorful compounds remain.  A red wine reduction, for example—the French workhorse sauce— is to boil a bottle of wine until there remains just one precious cup, thick as nectar, filled with fruit and zest and spice—the wine’s final, sweetest breaths.

But if you reduce it too much, you also boil away the flavor.

Love is like a red wine reduction—Delicate.

– – –

Does the word, “Love,” mean anything anymore?  Jonas’ father reprimands Jonas for using a word that’s become so generalized it’s almost obsolete—and he’s right.  Consider how casually we use the word:

“I love noodles.”

“I love your socks!”

Which word, then, pulses deep as the beat of our hearts?

– – –

In The Giver, Jonas asks incredulously, “What if they were allowed to choose their own mate—and chose wrong?”

Gentlemen, did you choose the wrong girl, or are you the wrong man?  How about we focus on being the right man, so such a question need never be asked.

Let’s reduce love—just enough.  Let’s concentrate it, squeeze out all the flavor.  “Show, not tell.”  Show and tell.

Tell her you love her, every day.

Remind her often how precious she is to you.  Tell her that she’s a gift, a pleasure to be with—because she is.  And every day, lay down your life for her.  Put her above yourself, in every way that you can think to do.  Leave no doubt in her mind– or in yours– that when the time comes, you would be glad to die for her.  Men, this is our privilege.

Because love is like a red wine reduction—Sacrificial.

– – –

Today, we’ll take cultural memory one step further and discuss why history matters.  We’ll talk about the link between color and emotion.  Also, why does The Community emphasize precision of language?  Is it to be precise, or imprecise?   Have you noticed the euphemisms?

I look forward to reading your papers, due next week.  In your writing, reduce.  Pare down.  Make the most of each word.  Better one meaningful phrase than five pages of stuffing.

Most of all, I hope are you are well and loved in these last days of winter.


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