I don’t know about you, but I live to cook for my friends and family. My kitchen is the heart of my household – especially this time of year – and planning the menu is my favorite part! When I started to think back on past meals I’ve prepared that really stand out, though, I realized something astonishing. I was drinking wine while cooking EVERY one of them!
In remembering these wonderful feasts, it brought to mind the absence of wine while preparing some of my other favorite (if less memorable) meals and it got me to wondering….are there specific dishes or types of cuisine that are improved by the drinking of wine?
While looking for proof to back my theory that wine does, in fact, improve the cooking experience, I came across an article from The Telegraph about just that! It reads: “This time of year is ideal for drunken cooking,” says Milton Crawford, author of The Drunken Cookbook... “The inspiration for the book was people getting together and having a jolly time. Drunken cooking is very gregarious.” “Not that he advises getting drunk in order to cook, you understand. But if one mid-morning sherry leads to another on Christmas day, well…”
So if drinking wine is such a beneficial (if not fun) activity, what on earth could we possibly cook that isn’t improved by it?
Let’s think about this. You’re in the kitchen about to whip up your signature pasta dish so you open up a bottle of red. Naturally you must taste it first, right? You wouldn’t want an inferior wine going into your best sauce now, would you? “Hmmm, that’s pretty good” you think, so you pour yourself a glass to enjoy as you cook. Next thing you know, the sauce is made (and it’s perfect)….and the wine bottle is empty! Not that you downed it in 20 minutes, mind you – good sauce takes time – you’re just glad you remembered to measure some out for your recipe before it was too late. Maybe I’m just talking about me here, but having cooked with as many friends as I have over the years I don’t think so!
On the other hand, there have been meals I’ve prepared where wine was nowhere to be found – at least not in the kitchen. What could I possibly have been cooking that didn’t warrant a glass of wine? The one cuisine that comes to mind is Mexican food, but I’m sure that if I wanted to I could have enjoyed a nice Sauvignon Blanc while preparing my mom’s Baked Green Enchiladas, or sipped on a Riesling over those Baja Fish Tacos. Okay, now I want a do-over!
I guess it just boils down to your wine preference in the first place…or does it? I’ve always been fond of red wine, so it makes sense that I drink it when I cook with it…but I’ve also been known to sip on whatever white wine I’m using in my Shrimp Scampi or Chicken Piccata, so perhaps I’m on to something in regards to cuisine. What do you think? Are there dishes you can think of that you definitely DO or do NOT drink wine while cooking? I’d love to hear what they are!