Friday, March 26, 2010

Look Out Fanny Pack. There's A New Sheriff In Town.

It is a well-known fact that as long as "Bless her heart" precedes or follows any insult, the perpetrator does not have to feel guilty for said spitefulness. It is drinking a big ole glass of water after a 44 oz. DDP. It is relaxingly sitting in Bob and Sheri's Cone of Safety. It's like it Never. Even. Happened.

So, here is my bless her heart for the day: Forget beauty, pretentiousness is in the eye of the beholder. I realize that what's on my mind today may come across as snotty. There may be those (among the MANY throngs of loyal readers) who critique on the basis of hypocrisy. Why is someone who spouts stuff about skipping rocks at Marrowbone Creek, working on a dog fence while wearing cowboy boots, and the importance of buying locally, talking about the artistry of the nationally-marketed Food & Wine magazine? Something along the lines of "she's getting above her raising." I get it.

I'm confident, though, that there are probably more of you who see the pretentiousness in not talking about the beautiful photographs, interesting recipes, and useful information found in this rather folk-hipster publication. To assume that people who live in a rural area - an area stereotyped (both falsely and occasionally for legitimate reason) as backward, redneck, or closed-minded - would have no interest in art or music or wine is the very definition of pretentiousness. It implies hierarchy and superiority, two concepts perhaps considered insignificant in this particular case, but notions that nonetheless have driven acts of racism, paternalism, and imperialism for centuries. We should not assume others' interests or capabilities. We should never settle for mediocrity or the typical primarily because we think others expect or need it. We should simply give others more credit than most of us are typically willing to do.

Okay, now back to why I really enjoy Food & Wine magazine. ...:)
I do not ask for, nor expect, waiters to pour a small amount of wine in a glass so I can smell, swish around, and sample. I would have no idea what I was doing. When I buy wine, I usually base my purchase on which bottle happens to look interesting that day. I don't know which glasses in my cabinet are for white wine as opposed to red. I probably mispronounce some of the wines I have bought and served to others. With that being said, I still enjoy the taste of wine. Reds are my favorite, particularly Pinot Noir, but I also like dry white wines (don't care for the super sweet). I enjoy having a glass of wine with my best friends and talking about life. I enjoy vineyards and wine-tastings. Wine, I suppose, is therefore a little like my cowboy boots - I like the aura it fosters.

The marketing agents for Food & Wine keenly understand this intangible set of emotions. I skim the pictures that portray a beautifully quaint, yet sophisticated, summer party and immediately think "I want to plan a get-together where wine glasses sit on aged barrels, banjo players perform under clear Christmas lights, and guests snack on Grilled Ham and Cheese with Strawberry-Red-Wine Jam." It is as much about inspiring as it is providing information. Now, do I own aged barrels or know a banjo player? No. Could I incorporate elements from the images and articles that make me think and dream and plan into my reality? Definitely.

Here are some of my favorites from the April 2010 edition.

Wine Pairings to Try Before You Die
Wine - Timeless Pairing - Maverick Match
Rich Chardonnay - Almonds - Goat Cheese
Sauvignon Blanc - Lobster - Leg of Lamb
Riesling - Poached Trout - Cold Cucumber Soup
Pinot Noir - Roast Duck - Doritos
Champagne - Caviar - Steak
Cabernet Sauvignon - Steak - Calves' liver
Zinfandel - Barbequed Pork - Chicken Mole Poblano

Sipping Without Spilling
"It's tricky to eat while holding a wineglass, as people repeatedly discover at cocktail parties and wine tastings. Here are three handy solutions.

Plate Clip - Prodyne makes rubberized stainless steel clips that attach to the side of a plate to hold a wineglass. They are more durable than plastic and also look better.

Cocktail Plate - These oval cherrywood plates, handmade in Vermont, are designed with a circular cutout that holds a stemmed wineglass comfortably.

Glass Holster [my favorite] - This nylon strap may scream wine geek, but it allows wearers to hang a glass around their necks, freeing hands for holding a plate, using a fork, or writing notes at a tasting. "

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Strawberry-Red-Wine Jam
Time: 30 min. Servings: 10
Twenty 1/2" thick slices of brioche
1/2 c. strawberry jam mixed with 2 tbsp. of Pinot Noir
10 think slices of baked ham
10 think slices of Gruyere cheese
Softened unsalted butter

Standard grilled cheese directions: Heat a large griddle. Spread 10 of the brioche slices with the jam. Top with the ham and Gruyere and close the sandwiches. Lightly butter the outside of the sandwiches and cook over moderate heat until toasted and the cheese is melted, 2 minutes per side. Cut in half and serve right away.


  1. You get your knowledge of wine from your mamma. I, like you, choose wine based on the attractiveness of the bottle. After all I never "met" a wine I didnt like. Let's try the grill cheese recipe sometime. It sounds delicious.

  2. You are the coolest mom in the world. Let's definitely try the recipe...after we've been to the liquor store to pick out the prettiest, most interesting bottles.
    Love you, Mom.

  3. I was really hoping this would focus more on fanny packs. But, I suppose you could put wine in a fanny pack. That is if the wine were in a bottle...a small bottle at that. Or, if the fanny pack were lined with plastic, which you could also use to smuggle food out of a buffet. Either way, fanny packs and buffets are probably the worlds greatest deterrents to "hierarchy and superiority". Elitist's kryptonite.
    In other words: I like to read what you write ;-)

  4. If only my mom could find a fanny pack large enough to accommodate her boxed wine. Or, if Ryan's made fanny packs available instead of plates.
    In other words: that comment was one for the ages.