Last Tuesday I cooked my final dinner in the former version of my kitchen. Since I moved in nearly nine years ago, actually since my then-boyfriend moved in ten years ago, I have wanted to make some major changes. The original tile and cabinets, the laminate countertops, the horrid pantry all had to go. I did the best with what I had. I tried painting, but what I had hoped would be a wheat color, was more of a mustard mess. “No matter,” I thought, “It will be gone soon enough”. That was probably seven years ago. Other things took priority. And dollars went to diapers; it was survival mode, a long mental fog. I was patient. Very patient.
So, knowing it was my “last supper” of sorts, I turned up the music and got chopping. The “shuffle gods” had something else in mind. One after another, it was a “this-is your-life” soundtrack and a funny thing happened. I found myself a little wistful, a little teary. And I was chopping galanga root, not onions. Even though I loathed that laminate, it is the one I floured for gnocchi and pie crust. Even though that grout made me cringe, it is what my babies learned to move on as I pureed. Even though that pantry was my organizational nemesis, it has stored a lot of love. Well, groceries which would become little gestures of love.
I guess I’ve always been that way. If I love you, I will cook for you. If we are friends, we will share secrets and laughter at the kitchen table. And once you’re in, you’ll always have a place at my table. Maybe not literally; life brings changes in schedules and obligations. Friends scatter and parenthood can squeeze your social calendar into a barely recognizable pulp. But if you’ve held a place in my life, in my kitchen, in my heart, you’re there still. Even if you are nasty green laminate from the 90s.
People had warned my about the chaos of life without a kitchen. Actually, so far so good. We’ve made our dining room our makeshift kitchen, I am not drowning in dishes, and I stocked up on Monday wines. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. If you’re new, Monday wines are in the $8-12 range. They are wines you don’t mind opening for no reason, wines that don’t need to be paired, etc. Knowing that my cooking abilities would be compromised and my need for wine reinforced, I needed to be prepared. And like the food coming out of my current “kitchen”, these wines aren’t fancy, but they are tasty. They are ones I’d love to share and they will all have a home in my new kitchen.
11 Irony Merlot from Monterey County
We opened this last when we had the neighbors over for a cook out (we still have a grill) so take this with a grain of salt, but I really liked it. Great fruit, balanced, a little spice, round cocoa notes. We had it with some salty grilled venison backstrap a neighbor brought. Super yum.
I love a good Crianza. Fresh red, easy-drinking fruit, subtle spice, good acid. Will be restocking this one.
Rapido Red Sangiovese from Puglia Everything you want from a pizza wine. Including the price.
Opened this with a friend visiting the week before we started the crazy. Beautiful, festive color, nice balance of fruit and yeast, lovely little bubbles. Great wine to share with the girls.