Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chardonnay? Chardonyea!

I've seen this road before. Last time, it was a long and wine-ing road. (Many apologies to my fellow vegan, Paul McCartney, for that disgrace!) About 16 years ago, I got tired of being Straight Edge, after having a sXe on my hand (metaphorically, but often, literally) for all of high school and college. I can't say enough how glad I am that I somehow had the wisdom to give myself an entirely sober high school and college experience. But once I was all grown up, living on my own, and had a Big Girl Job, I figured it was time to get over myself. So, I decided to teach myself to like wine. Even during my stompiest, hairiest, Righteous Babiest years, I apparently still had a sense of decorum, which led me to want to embrace wine.

I started buying bottles of red wine, and forced myself to drink a couple of glasses per week of the "wretched beverage", as I called it. This went on for over a year. Finally, I got to where I didn't hate it. I took myself off of the forced wine regime but continued to drink it socially for the next few years. One day, I realized that I didn't just not hate it anymore, I actually loved it. While I tend to gravitate more towards cocktails these days, there is nothing better than a glass of wine during many situations. What is more civilized than having a glass of wine with dinner?

I've tasted white wine many times over the years. I probably even drank an entire glass of it 2 or 3 times over the past decade. But I always kinda hated it. Still, if I was tenacious enough to learn to love red wine while I was still a young pup, I figured it would be a short road to travel to get used to white.

Last night, I made Black Pepper Fettucini with Chardonnay Sauce and Asparagus. I cook with white wine all the time, but what I normally do with the leftover wine is I freeze it into White Wine Ice Cubes. That way, I didn't have to dump the rest of the bottle of wine (since I refused to drink it!) and I always had some white wine on hand when I needed just a bit of it for cooking purposes. But this time, I was gonna make that sauce and keep the rest of that Chardonnay for drinking purposes!

I had spied the very intriguing Wine in a Pouch at Trader Joe's a couple of months ago, and I was fascinated with it! It met all of my wine criteria. It was from California (local is the new organic, after all)! It was sustainable! It had crazy packaging that reduced waste! It was $10 for the equivalent of 2 bottles worth! But, alas, it was white wine, so I never purchased it. I was so excited that this experiment gave me an excuse to buy a pouch!

I poured myself a nice big glass of chilled wine with my pasta, convinced it would be a perfect pairing since the Chardonnay Sauce contained two cups of the stuff. But I was still afraid of it, needlessly afraid. Maybe I just lucked out and this EcoVino happened to be an appealing wine..... or maybe I psychologically convinced myself that I needed to like it, because I was so obsessed with the packaging..... but I liked it! No, not nearly as much as red wine, but enough that I wouldn't reject it if I we offered it again, which is my main goal in learning to like any of these foods.

For those keeping score at home, of all of the things I've tried over the past two weeks, I've learned that I can at least tolerate all of them, and that I actually like most of them..... with the exceptions of Earl Grey and Champagne, which I still dislike.... and my current Triumvirate of Terrible: Beer, Cranberry Juice and Grapefruit. But whenever I start to get beaten down by the awful glasses of beer and cranberry juice I am forcing upon myself, I just need to remind myself how much I liked the sauerkraut, parsnips and lamb's quarter! I'm not nearly as picky as I thought I was! :-)


  1. White wine ice cubes! Genius! I never knew you could do that and have avoided recipes with white wine, because I never want to waste the leftover white wine (I'm not much of a drinker). Thanks for the tip! [PS- your blog has inspired me to be more open about trying foods I think I hate!]

    1. Yeah, the wine ice cubes really served me well over the years. Just be sure to leave the cubes in the tray and only take them out when you're going to use them. I tried to put the frozen cubes into a plastic bag, to free up the ice cube tray, and they turned to slush.

      I think it's a great idea for all people to try and embrace more foods, but it's even more crucial for vegans to do. You don't want to find yourself in a position where the only vegan option is unsatisfactory because it has foods you are too picky to eat, you know? Glad to hear you are inspired to be open minded about it! It's fun! :-)