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Aug 20, 2017

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wYne 2K - Let’s parTAY
by Rosina Tinari Wilson
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 4.1

With the Big Day looming, we're so bogged down in Y2K doom-and-gloom scenarios that we've overlooked one not-so-small detail. Mired as we are in smug Americentrism, we've been assuming that we won't know the fate of the planet until the hour, minute and second hands of our own clocks click into January 2000.

But guess what. The world doesn't revolve around the U.S. of A. Far from it, in fact. Through the magic of time zones and the International Date Line, we're actually one of the last parts of the planet to experience whatever's gonna happen. So what does this mean? That we've got loads of time -- a good three-quarters of a day, in fact -- to gear up for meltdown if there is one, or to breathe easy if there isn't.

In other words, the rest of the world is our Y2K guinea pig. Starting on the morning of the 31st, we can watch the whole shebang unfold on the Web or the TV news, as midnight -- time zone by time zone -- sweeps through New Zealand (just over the Date Line), then Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa, before it reaches our shores. Odds are that whatever happens there first will hit us too. (West Coasters, in fact, can even use New York as a guinea pig -- just tune into Times Square by 9 PM and see if midnight back East brings noisemakers and party hats or a dark screen!)

One way or the other, this whole millennium thing is happening only once (barring some outrageous leaps in longevity) in our lifetime. So why not streeetch it out, ring in the New Year every hour with the eats, drinks and even music of each new time zone, and make Y2K the ultimate par-tay!

Either supply everything yourself or (easier and cheaper) assign the gang some of the pieces in your global potluck. Plan it right and you'll be sippin' and snackin' every hour on the hour (plus, thanks to some weirdo time zone glitches -- for India and Afghanistan, for instance -- on some half-hours as well). You'll be jammin' just about 'round the clock -- so party hardy, as well as hearty.

Here are some suggestions to start you off -- then ad-lib all you want and delegate like crazy. For help with geographical fine-tuning, check out the cool World Time Zone Map - http://aa.usno.navy.mil/AA/.

Y2K Hits the International Date Line and New Zealand
(morning of 12/31 in the United States)

Lay down a good base with brunch -- breads, pastry, tropical fruit. Smoked fish optional. Bonus points for New Zealand green-lip mussels; sliced kiwifruit also a plus. Drink NZ sav blanc, natch (though I wouldn't say no to a good mimosa).

One hour later -- Y2K hits a bunch of Pacific islands

Can you say Funafuti, Tuvalu? Who knows what they eat and drink down there, but this probably was once headhunter turf. Supposedly Spam (the canned mystery meat, not the email barrage) is very popular in the Pacific islands because it tastes a lot like...well, you know. If you can stand the stuff, cut thick slabs and fry 'em up with some pineapple chunks. Lay it all on a mess o' scrambled eggs and top with shredded coconut and/or taro chips for crunch. Drink anything with an umbrella in it (or add fava beans and pour a nice chianti).

One hour later -- Y2K hits Australia

Time to fire up the barbie. Marinate a mound of jumbo shrimp in lemon juice, vegetable oil, white wine and a little garlic and ginger. Grill 'em 'til just cooked through and serve with a tangy Aussie chard. Give some cubed lamb (just cut up a boneless leg) the same treatment, using red wine instead of white, and some rosemary or sage. Pour a fine Oz shiraz and say g'day to Y2K!

The next few hours -- Y2K hits Asia

Australia actually overlaps time zones with Japan and Indonesia; China, Thailand, Vietnam, India (on the half-hour!) soon follow suit. Your culinary skills deserve a break, so call your fave Asian restaurant(s) for some good takeout. Get sushi rolls, pad Thai noodles, a couple of Chinese stir-fries -- whatever your local places do best -- and quench your thirst with hot sake and cold beer.

Cool it 'til Y2K hits Europe and Africa

Stuffed and blitzed? Take some down time. While the Y2K bug swarms through the Middle East, kick back with a bowl of olives, take a walk or a nap, or challenge your buds to any game that doesn't require much mental acuity or manual dexterity. Then get ready for the next big time-zone barrage, as Y2K slams into Europe like conquerors from millennia past. Eastern Europe gets hit first: Serve up juicy assorted wursts with kraut, boiled potatoes and some great pilsner. Next it's a juggling act: Greek salad? Italian lasagna? German schnitzel? Swiss fondue (it's baaaaaack!)? Pickled herring, Scandinavian style? French, uh, fries? Something African (maybe you can get away with a peanut sauce)? All of the above? Your call. Now's a good time to get started on the bubbly: Either spring for the pricy Frenchy stuff or load up on Spanish Cava at a third the cost. A few European reds and whites wouldn't hurt either.

More down time, then Y2K hits the Americas

Take a couple hours off while Y2K crosses the Atlantic, then back to the grill when it hits Brazil. Rio restaurants serve all-you-can-eat barbecue: Waiters parade around with sword-sized skewers of beef, pork, chicken and things you probably don't want to translate, and they keep piling food on your plate until you give up. An hour later, when it's Argentina's turn, just go heavier on the beef. Wash it all down with some sturdy South American red or mix up Brazil's national drink, the caipirinha (white rum or vodka, fresh lime juice, sugar, rocks; stir).

Finally -- Y2K hits the U.S. of A

For West Coasters, like myself, it's only 9 PM. Ready for dessert yet? I, for one, am bringing in the darkest, densest chocolate concoction I can find, and tucking an avalanche of rich, luscious ice cream flavors in the freezer, with caramelized pecans and chocolate-covered coffee beans for toppings. I've been saving some late harvest zinfandel and zin Port to toast Times Square. When it's midnight here, out comes the magnum of good California bubbly. From here on out, food can be a free-for-all -- serve something Hawaiian three hours later or just do late-night snacks at random and call it a "global retrospective."

All of us here at Wine X wish you and yours a joyous, prosperous, flavorful New Year. Eat, drink and be optimistic, for tomorrow -- just maybe -- your Y2K worries will be OVER!

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