It isn't the sort of skill one learns at their mother's knee, like sewing or first aid.
Muddling is a lost art in a video game playing, Red Bull drinking culture. Most kids these days have never muddled in their lives. It is now only an essential skill for those who read the Sunday New York Times and who frequent the Vintages section of the LCBO.
Sort of like pipe smoking in a tobacco loathing world.
The lesson began as a kind of request.
Stef has recently been promoted to bartender from server at his job and many folks have been complaining that the joint where he works cannot make a proper Mojito. They are too sour, the patrons railed.
The Mojito recipe had been handed down from Head Office along with an ingredient list which was right and proper, save for the addition of a little too much lime.
Head office required bartenders to make the Mojito with a shaker which, I told Stef in no uncertain terms, wouldn't do at all.
What was needed was not a shaker but a mortar to muddle the mint leaves.
Stef looked perplexed.
The essence of a Mojito, his mother explained, was not just to tear apart the mint leaves, but to bruise them so that they would release essential flavors and oils. That is why the Head Office Mojito was receiving a failing grade.
He thanked me for my advice, though he cautioned that Head Office would not allow a mortar, let alone a pestal on the premise.
Then, I said, you will never make a proper Mojito.
Take a chance, Stef.
Bend the rules.
Put your lips to the world.
With that, we turned our attention to my own dilemma which involved NetFlix. We ordered the cheap television service in anticipation of a terrible summer of television.
Ah, said Stef, but you're missing out.
How, I asked.
You need to get American NetFlix.
Within minutes, he had deftly rearranged my television viewing to ensure that I would get the maximum pleasure from the television service provider.
Indeed, we were able to watch The West Wing and many other classic shows in their entirety, a pleasure denied we Canadians, presumably due to licensing in our backwater nation.
American NetFlix has better movies and documentaries, too, which Stef demonstrated by making us watch three hours of Man Versus Wild in which a crazy Brit demonstrates the art of bug eating and sleeping inside a dead camel.
It was, indeed, a revelation.
And so it was another successful family dinner night; Mom taught son the essentials of living a cultured life, and son taught Mom that there was an entire world of disgusting television at my fingertips.
Not to metion the importance of a proper IP address.
What do I mean, a proper IP address?
That is for me to know and for you to get your own 26-year-old.