Monthly Archives: November 2013

Ancient Wine

 old wine

“WINE”

So I guess that a 3700 year-old wine cellar was found in the ruins of a palace in Israel.  The cellar held reds and whites.  Possibly vintage Cabernet Sauvignon and your usual rare one-of-a-kind Pinot Grigio.  Did you know that sauvignon is a French word that means ‘wild’? Some say the grape used for sauvignon originated in ancient Rome.  Who’s to say some wise sommelier in the day didn’t journey with his product across deserts and vast inland dirt roads landing in Canaan. Oh sure they say the winemaking took place in Canaan, but how do they know?  Chemical analysis of the ingredients has to be done first.  They will be so surprised when it is found that the wine was made in Missouri.  We do have great wines here.  The trouble I guess would have been shipping in 1600 BCE.

Regardless, the ancient winemaker in the story and all that took part in the process have long since disappeared.  But they left wine!  Or at least the residue, enough to allow discovery of the wine’s blends of honey, mint, cedar, and cinnamon along with evidence of tree resin.  Sounds like it was pretty good.

There is a process to making wine.  One that I only know from books and winery tours.  But I do know that it is a very intricate and involved process.  One misstep and the wine you make will most definitely not taste like the wine you want.

I can venture to say that I am really glad life is not like that.  I have made a lot of ‘missteps’ in my life, some small some pretty colossal.  Glad that at the end of the process someway I didn’t have to chuck it all and start over again, like I would for a fine bottle of Shiraz.  That would get tiresome let alone pretty weird.  But like the winemaker, at some point there won’t be a trace of me, maybe I will be a small speck in some distant future lineage of my family’s ancestry.  But that’s probably all.

So, I hope that in some small undefinable way I will leave some trace that I was here.  Probably not at all as cool as that of jars of wine.  But maybe that distant relative of mine from years hence will have a wicked sense of humor or a touch of stubbornness that can be said to come from me.  Maybe those wormy apples that fall from our apple tree we planted several years ago will provide some kind of rich earthy dirt for years and years to come.  I just hope the ‘wine’ that I leave will be good enough, just good enough, that’s all.

 

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DONUTS

Image I love food.  Big surprise, who doesn’t? And for those of you that don’t love food, go away.  You’re crazy. Or maybe have no taste buds.  If that is the case, you can stay.  For now.  You can’t help it.  But, if you do not like to eat, again, go away. As I stated in the “ABOUT” part of this new adventure, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing writing this blog.  I only know I have to do it, for me.  So, in deciding a name I thought of the two very best things in the world; donuts and wine. Again, I like food, particularly donuts.  And I like wine, particularly dry.  But I’m not real choosy. And I have a plan.  Since a plan might be a good idea.  I decided that when I write something whimsical, funny, light, or serendipitous I will let you know by capturing the post’s title as “DONUTS”.  When I write something kind of heavy or opinionated, critical, intense (but hopefully not dry) I will let you know by titling the post…yeah, you got it…wine! Now that I’ve got your full attention (or partial, or maybe you are pretending to read this while someone is talking to you) here goes with my first post.  Entitled:

DONUTS

The pictures in the photo are of my grandma.  The first one of course was taken a very long time ago when she was about five years old.  The second, well, she was old.  She looked like Mrs. Doubtfire, or rather Mrs. Doubtfire looked a lot like her.  The facial features and the chubbiness (or maybe a better word would be fluffiness) are similar.  And Mrs. D. acted a lot like her.  Kind of bawdy in a good way, creative, and matter-of-fact in the ways of getting through life   She had a good sense of humor, but unlike Mrs. D. she didn’t like to make fun of herself, nor allow others to make fun of her.  She was also very opinionated and stubborn, slightly acidic.

Maybe her disposition occurred because she raised three children during the depression as a single mother.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that my grandfather left one night to join the merchant marines and never came back.  She did okay by taking in laundry, childcare, and sewing for other people.  She also had some financial help from her two brothers but with one brother barely making it on his own and the other supporting ten of his own children, needless to say, they couldn’t help very much.  Maybe all those factors had a little to do with who she became.

My grandma ‘grew a pair’.  In a sense, as Mrs. Doubtfire was, she was also the ‘man’ of the family.  And had to be creative to keep everyone together.  In my favorite scene from the movie Mrs. D. is rocking out with a broom.  My grandma rocked, broom or no broom.

And she could cook.  One of those cooks that doesn’t need a recipe, guessing on what ingredient would do the trick for whatever it was she was cooking or baking.  Old shoe leather would have tasted like a Wolfgang Puck masterpiece at her touch.  I suppose shoe leather was awfully close to what she could afford back in the day so she had to make it taste good.

This is a cookbook she gave me a long, long time ago.  It is weathered, beaten, food drops ravaged, and the front cover is completely torn off.  But it is a treasure trove of recipes.  And a treasure of those little saying, bits of wisdom always included in church cookbooks and such.  Like “You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you needn’t give it a chair to sit on.”

I make snickerdoodle cookies from this cookbook.  Made them just a few days ago again.  Granted, I am not a great cook or baker but sometimes I can make a mean batch of these cookies, and lasagna.  And I am told I have nailed Thanksgiving dinner.  Other than that, well, we tend to eat out a lot.

That being said, my daughter the chef (latent grandma genes and talents gleaned from her father) tells me that I add just the right amount of cream of tartar to my snickerdoodles.  She said that gives them the extra fluff and also a slight acidic taste.  I like that.  And so would my grandma.  Because as I said earlier, that is who Grandma was, fluffy and acidic.  A great combination.  And that is what my hope is for this blog.  A little fluff and a little acid. Donuts and wine.  Let’s get started.