Foie Gras, Baked Brie, Carpaccio


One aspect of the wine cult where pretense, snootiness, and faux sophistication are sure to rear their ugly heads is the whole subject of food pairings. People are mortified that their guests will think them philistine or the Clampetts if they offer the wrong wine with the food they’re serving. The wine makers and sellers and reviewers further this completely unnecessary terror with their recommendations, often on little signs near their shelf space. The real purpose, I suspect, is either: A) Create an aura of sophistication around their otherwise mass market, cheapskate priced product, or, B) Create an aura of sophistication around themselves. Imagine if, in the automobile realm, the maker of an entry level econo-box described it thusly: “You’ll enjoy leisurely rides at sunset along California’s Pacific Coast Highway in your new Hyundai Accent…” Yeah, really. The leisurely ride will be rush hour commutes, or trips to Piggly Wiggly for milk.

I just looked, minutes ago, at the website for a wine I’m about to write about. It cost me 7 bucks for a magnum bottle (and then I had a dollar off coupon, too!). The maker says it will go good with game meats, or rosemary-rub filet. Wow, that makes me feel better. What if it didn’t work with pheasant? I’ve seen “food hint” tags in The Store that suggest grilled portobello, lamb stew, and the three dishes in the title of this rant. These were all on moderately priced wines. I don’t go near the section where the wine is likely to be bought by folks who have actually eaten foie gras.

A suggestion to whoever writes these “hints”: if the bottle is priced well under 10 bucks, how about suggesting pairings that might actually occur, at least in my world. “This Pinot Grigio is excellent with Triscuits and Cheese Wiz”, or “A great choice with the other half of the Subway five dollar footlong you got for lunch today”, or “Our Chardonnay is a particularly good selection if Macaroni and Cheese is on tonight’s menu, with a Pop Tart dessert”. That, unfortunately, is the real world. Mine anyway.

So here’s my food rule: Eat whatever you were planning to eat based on what’s in the fridge, and drink whatever wine you have on hand and feel like drinking. If you feel like Riesling with your Hamburger Helper, go right ahead. Somewhere in the world, some elitist wine writer will probably get a sharp pain, though, as if you stuck a pin in a voodoo doll. He might even spit out his foie gras.


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5 Responses to Foie Gras, Baked Brie, Carpaccio

  1. lifewith4cats says:

    I always feel like I should apologize to the cashier for having poor taste whenever I buy ‘wine from a box.’ Your blog therefore is a welcome validation for my ego.
    My favorite wine at this time is rice wine. (it’s not very popular and hard to find) I buy a mid grade 13$ bottle. Momokawa -pearl unfiltered. I love it! I can only get it at Price Chopper since no ‘stores’ cary it.

    But some day I plan to try a $1o0 bottle of sake, just to see what thats about.

    • J, just J. says:

      Unfortunately, I’ve heard wine store cashiers makem people feel like rank amateurs if we (I) buy cheaper stuff…but who cares! They’re not coming over for dinner!….by the way thanks for commenting…it’s reassuring know someone somewhere actually saw my blog!

  2. lifewith4cats says:

    p.s. Hot cheap sake pairs well with lasagna. 🙂

    • J, just J. says:

      Ya know, I’ve tried to “acquire” the taste for sake, but so far I’m not there. I’ve more than once picked some up to take to a sushi place, trying to look like I knew what I was doing, but so far haven’t learned to like it…keep trying?

  3. Sara says:

    I try to indroduce all my friends to sake. What I tell them is: You could try it hot. Just zap it or heat it the same way baby bottles get heated. When it’s hot, it tastes completely different. an unfiltered sake is white because it has rice residu in it which also mellows the taste. Dont sip it or roll it on your tounge, throw it to the back of your throat with a gulp.

    Your blog is so interesting and unusual. Keep putting updates about new posts into your thread on the showcase forum. I bet you will soon have many readers. , Sara

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