Embarrassing Food M�nage

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Now that I am sharing more about myself, I think it is the appropriate time to admit something very embarrassing...

It doesn't take a sommelier to figure out that the worlds of wine and food are intimately related. Wine connoisseurs are constantly discussing the perfect pairings to match their prized bottles of vino while foodies relentlessly search for that bottle of wine to compliment their delicately crafted dish. In fact, as The Wine Whore on the streets, one of the most common questions people ask me is: what should I drink with ? or what should I eat with ?

Don't get me wrong, I often endeavor to put together special dishes. My personal specialty is working with red meat. I can sear, grill, and serve a steak that will satisfy even the most critical of carnivores. That being said, I am NO gourmet cook. Most of the time, I come home from work exhausted and barely willing to prepare a microwave meal let alone a four course presentation of duck a l'Orange. Even Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals are often too time consuming for my daily grind. Should that stop me from enjoying a nice bottle of wine?

Absolutely NOT!

I am a firm believer that the occasion should not be the cause for a good bottle of wine but that a good bottle of should be the cause for an occasion. You should be able to enjoy a nice bottle regardless of where you are, what you are doing, or who you are with (within reason of course). If it is truly a good bottle, it will make the environment in which it is experienced just that much better. It is in this way that wine compliments the storyline of life instead of always upstaging it.

My embarrassing secret: I often enjoy what many would consider to be scandalous affairs with food and wine. I am embarrassed to admit that I have no qualms about pairing wine with everything from everyday comfort food like Mac N Cheese to the classic hotdogs and beans. I�ll be the first to admit that my wanton disregard sometimes backfires but there are many moments of passion that result from rewarding combinations that otherwise would remain unknown to my tongue.

Last Saturday, was one of these dirty occasions. I have to admit that I did it once again. I just couldn�t help it. With no other appealing alternatives available, I resorted to pairing a South Australian Shiraz by Kilikanoon (Killerman's Run 2007) with none other than the classically gourmet dish: spaghetti with tomato sauce. Now I am aware that there are many ways to prepare an excellent dish of spaghetti but since I am being entirely honest, I am going to admit that none of what I enjoyed that evening was prepared from scratch. That is, unless you consider Ragu to be crafted "from scratch"? Not likely.

Although my affair was dirty and sinful, it felt good. The slightly sweet tomato sauce complimented the spice of the Shiraz quite well. Overall it was an enjoyable m�nage that took only minutes to put together.

As for the vino, for only $20, this was a decent bottle of wine. While I wouldn't consider it to be in the same league as the beautifully dynamic bottle of Penfolds Bin 389 that I enjoyed a couple weeks ago, in terms of character, its softer body exposed itself with moderate decanting as a smooth partner to the texture of the spaghetti dish. The most important thing that I noted about the experience was that all of the components went together well. No one taste, texture, or smell overpowered another. To combine in harmony so elegantly is a symphony to the palate even the greatest of connoisseurs could deny enjoying.

So there�s my dirty secret. Should I be embarrassed to admit combining comfort food in such a taboo fashion? Maybe so, but for me, it's all part of the job of being The Wine Whore.

We are all out of time for today�s session. Tomorrow, I'll announce the winner of the Scavenger Hunt and answer the question you probably have been wondering about for weeks. In the meantime, share your most embarrassing or strange food pairing by clicking here and sharing the details of your affair and whether or not it was a symphony to your palate or just a big disaster.

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Frank said...

Embarrassing Pairing: House Fly and Mi 2006 El Llano Red from Napa
When: Saturday Night
Where: Bob and Jen�s house Labor Day get together

Saturday, wifey and I are enjoying a night of lots of great seafood paired with excellent wines and friends. During the evening, there was a steady stream of traffic in and out of the back door to enjoy the nice summer evening on the deck, and to snag a few shrimp and tuna pieces directly off the grill. As a result of the in and out traffic, several houseflies got in (it�s hot and humid here in Southern, VA which encourages lots of annoying insects and flies). As the night went on, and all of the white wine was enjoyed (MANY bottles), several of us had white wine palate fatigue and needed a red to finish off the night. Bob, the host, was gracious enough to not only share his home with everyone for the party - he also opened a bottle from his stash.

At some point during all of the food and conversation, a freakin housefly must have nose-dived in to my glass � the fly either fell in or I caught him with a swirl. I took a sip of the red that unsuspectingly included the fly. Please note that there were lots of people, lots of conversation going on and the wine was very dark purple so the fly was easy to miss. It only took me a nano-second to realize there was a little something in that wine crawling around inside my mouth. I panicked � didn�t know what to do so I bolted for the sink, nearly knocking some lady out of the way (think George Constanza in the apartment fire episode). As I got to the sink I let out a huge wine spit. Apparently others who were gathered in the kitchen noticed this and there was a slight silence� but hey, I had downed many glasses of wine so I was somewhat immune to the fact that several others saw me do a massive spit in the hosts sink! Of course, my wife was the DD for the night and had no wine since she was participating in the Va. Bach RnR � marathon the next morning. She saw this go down and was of course mortified � and let me know about it on the way home. Although some would consider that embarrassing, I feel I acted quickly. I could have done something gross like spit it on the floor, on the counter or back in to the glass, but I used split-second thinking and went for the sink.

The moral of this story� Cab/Syrah blends to not pair well with houseflies!

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! That's a great story!

While I can see your wife lecturing you on this one, I think you did the right thing. After all, how embarrassing would it have been if the wine came shooting out of your mouth. At least you had the courtesy to run to the sink first. :)

Thank you for sharing this helpful advice. I think I'll make sure to get a bug zapper for my next wine party!

You left out one important detail... how was the wine?


tampawinewoman said...

It should be stated that in addition to selling wine on a retail level, I also work in a restaurant selling and serving wine on the floor. I get paid to pair wine. On a personal level I host at least one wine and food pairing dinner at my home every month. All of that being said, I am guilty of the kind of sin that you described above on a regular basis. My guiltiest pleasure I would have to say would be dry rose (Crios Malbec Rose) and grilled brats or just plain old grilled hot dogs. The whole thing just screams cheap and easy!

The Wine Whore said...

Ohhh, grilled brats/hot dogs and Malbec Rose sounds very tasty! I wonder how many cool comfort food combos there are out there that people are anonymously enjoying on those everyday occasions.

It's time to come out and share what you are REALLY eating with your wine!


Mark Fusco said...

I don't think it's a "Sin" at all to pair some wine with so called comfort foods. Unless it's a $400 with hot dogs ;) Our culture seems to think that you can only have wine with nice meals. European culture looks at it differently. They consume wine with the most ordinary of meals.

It's nothing for me to pair one of my review wines with a simple salami sandwich, or a frozen dinner, hot pockets, etc. OK, so I don't do the frozen dinner angle too much ;) The point is that if you feel like having some wine with whatever you are eating, then do it!

The Wine Whore said...

You bring up a great point!

I bet most other countries wouldn't think twice about eating ordinary food with a glass of wine (unless like you said, it's a $400 bottle).

What would you say is the funniest or craziest pairing you have ever tried?


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