Monday, September 7, 2009

food for thought

It's three o'clock in the afternoon on a holiday Monday, and I'm on my second glass of wine. It's for research, you see. My family is coming together this week to celebrate a major accomplishment in my sister's life. Close and distant relatives, friends, neighbours, and colleagues will join us in celebrating my sister's success. So, naturally, we plan on eating and drinking delicious things. This is what we do when we are happy. Come to think of it, it's what we do when we're sad too. Eating and drinking in good company is, in my mind, one of the greatest things in life. As the resident gourmande, my parents and sister invited me to the final tasting with the caterer. We sat down over the specs for the event and trays of canapes and talked about whether things would be served hot or cold, how many more of one or less of another would be passed around, and if we could bring in our own pop. When my mom saw the cost of a fruit tray she offered the suggestion that she could make one just as nice on her own, but was promptly shut down by my dad and sister who were utterly embarrassed at the suggestion. We discussed options for wine and beer and music and table skirts. The one time I offered input on the preparation of one of the food items I was completely shut down. The bruschetta was too sweet - too much sugar and balsamic, not enough garlic and salt. I suggested that the dish might be enhanced by serving it hot, allowing the Parmesean shard on top to melt, but was rebuffed. There were raised eyebrows at my suggestion, but I countered with "Oh yeah! Well who here was most recently in Italy?" My dad replied, "Who has the Italian secretary?" Touche.
This brings me to the wine in the afternoon. My younger sister and I were appointed the task of selecting the red and white wine selection for the event. My sister, having been employed at a local fine wine store on and off for a year now was an obvious choice for the job. Myself, I have recently completed an Introduction to Wine Appreciation course and I fancy myself something of a wine expert, though in reality I know that it's not really true. We both chose some fine bottles of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot to try. My dad was less than thrilled with what we brought home, opting for something similar, but made by another vineyard. Which leaves me with almost a whole bottle of delightful Sauvingion Blanc chilling in the refrigerator. I sip leisurely as I search online for a restaurant suitable to take my family and extended relatives to after the song and dance of the official reception is over. Whatever restaurant we chose must seat all of us in my immediate family (sometimes easier said than done), offer enough vegetarian and kosher options to satisfy everyone, and provide an impressive enough wine list to keep my dad content while we toast the night away and drink to my wonderful and bright sister. It will be a happy day, to be sure. I just hope that when selecting their appetizers and mains, my family will be a little more open to my suggestions this time.

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