This week got me thinking about pride.
What is it to be proud; to have a sense of pride? Is it ego or swagger? Is it an intangible swelling of positive emotion on account of someone’s success? We Brits swing from jingoistic notions of national pride to hiding personal pride under a bushel.
So here’s this week’s run down of pride-inducing moments….
Pride example #1 – personal pride
I had a successful week at work last week. Firstly, the Malaysian Prime Minister made an announcement at a big conference, “Invest Malaysia”, about the need to stimulate the capital markets to be more competitive in the ASEAN (Asia’s trade region) by addressing a critical shortage of talent. It might not be immediately apparent as to why I, a sustainability & climate change consultant, should be pleased about this.
The reason I cared was that I worked on a proposal to develop a ‘capital markets sustainability strategy‘, a chief pillar of which was about talent and the other two about climate change and microfinance. My work directly seeded the announcement by the PM; to launch a RM100million/£20million fund to address talent gaps and if I have anything to do with it, to address all three pillars. This all means possible work for me, which is a great feeling.
Pride example #2 – matesy pride
There’s pride for an ex-colleague and mate Parker – a PR – who through his quick wit responded to a Twitter complaint about Sainsbury’s that was subsequently covered in the press. Parker is not shy in boasting about his talent with the ladies (especially those called Rachel), his style (think grey-ET dressed in Lyle & Scott) and music taste (“eclectic”), but he is also self-deprecating, and doesn’t receive enough praise. Parker Pride.
Pride example #3 – familial pride
Then there’s my Grandmother, who celebrated her 90th birthday at the weekend. My Grandmother is a trooper, a battle-axe, a rich and generous lady who instilled in me a love of sports and the countryside. On a recent Skype call she asked me if I had played polo yet. No Gran, I haven’t, I’m a bit busy for that at the moment… but she always takes an interest, always asks questions. I’m both sad I wasn’t there and proud that she was able to celebrate this landmark. Granny Pride.
I also have pride in my brother, who has just completed his Engineering degree in Bristol. Four years of booze, fags, Chicken Cottage, the occasional essay and he’s done. In Vince Vaughn’s words ‘He’s all growns up’. I’m proud to have a good looking, 2nd Dan Karate expert for my brother. As my friend Darragh likes to remind me ‘he’s a better version of you isn’t he Jack?’. Bruv Pride.
Finally, my sister, who has pretty much single-handedly organised the Festival of the World Summit at the Southbank. This is an incredible achievement for her and she’s done it all with her own creativity and strategic vision. If you haven’t been yet, please go and show your support. Massive Sister Pride.
Well I suppose this week it’s all been about the Jubilee, but not being that into the Monarchy nor in the UK I’ll skip straight to the food and wine…
…. to something that always makes a man proud when cooked well.
I had been looking forward to a steak all week, having seen a fabulous, classic dish in the back of Wine Spectator; Steak with Salsa Verde – which I wanted to serve with a rocket salad. Picking up some sirloin (for her) and ribeye (for me) I got cracking on a Salsa Verde with a twist, using a big bunch of basil to accompany the parsley, lemon and garlic. The juicy rich meat sizzled in the pan, perfectly cooked, and I knew the green sauce’s tangy flavours would add a fresh, zingy edge to the meat. A simple dish, done well. I was proud of my effort.
Wine of choice was Argentinian Malbec. I specify the country of origin of course because Malbec is famous for being ‘Argentinian’, though it was raised in France as a Bordeaux varietal and is also planted extensively elsewhere. But for steak, it has to be a wine with minerally, fruity and tannic qualities to step up to the fattiness, sweetness and iron-like flavours of a medium-rare slab. For me, that’s Malbec.
Altos Las Hormigas 2009 Malbec from Mendoza (yes, the geography geeks will notice the nonsense of this post’s title + the location of this winery), at RM117 – approximately £25 – was a fab choice. Some years back it won some award or other and I can see why. For the European market, it’s keenly priced at about a tenner and can be found in our ‘local’ wine shop Highbury Vintners but I’m sure there are others. I must admit I wasn’t expecting a huge amount, but it was complex and full and reminded me why red wine can be so interesting. On the nose it was giving me black pepper, earth, chocolate and stewed black plums. It had flavours of baked figs, prunes, sort of honey glazed mushroom with a lean minerality running through it. The tannins were soft, and for my tastes could have been a bit firmer, but that’s just being picky. All in all, the perfect accompaniment.
Watching a bit of the Jubilee floatilla I was still left a bit cold by the national pride thing, but there was more than enough pride from the week just gone to keep me happy.