Auntie Jo loves to cook. She especially loves to cook with wine. Not necessarily adding wine to the food; well yes, that too, but she finds a glass or two of her favorite white, or sometimes a hearty red, helps with the tiresome chore of getting meals together.
A late sleeper, she prefers starting her day with a crisp Chardonnay as an eye opener; much better than orange juice. It works great with a bowl full of KIX or TRIX or whatever those crunchy things are called. If she’s out of milk a few dribbles of her Chardonnay across the noisy little chunks is just as tasty. And if she’s out of the noisy little chunks, another glass of Chardonnay fills the gap.
By noon, when she begins to feel hungry again, an icy Rose’ does wonders for her peanut butter sandwich. She used to prefer grilled cheese sandwiches with a Riesling, as long as the Riesling wasn’t too dry, but one day, unfortunately, she drained the bottle while toasting the grilled cheese. In the time it took to open a fresh bottle and taste it to be sure it was still lively, the sandwich became charred beyond redemption, the cheese fused to the pan and the whole mess was so distressing she had to throw pan, sandwich and all, into the trash and finish the entire bottle of Riesling before she was able to calm down.
Now on any ordinary day Auntie Jo likes a wee little nap, followed by a wee little nip of Pinot Gris along with her afternoon snack, usually a bite of last night’s leftover pizza. Preparing food in the middle of the afternoon is not something Auntie Jo likes to do. Dinner is her favorite meal and preparations are apt to be time-consuming so she prefers to begin after the cocktail hour. If she is expecting dinner guests, the evening will likely be very festive This is when she loves to trot out her favorite recipes, most of them being her own creations, tried and true.
Auntie Jo will begin by opening and decanting a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir while she ponders the SOUPS in her repertoire. The first glass of Pinot slips down smoothly as she decides between a Shrimp Bisque and a Vegan Consomme’. She’s a bit of a health nut and a quick peek in the refrigerator to confirm that she’s out of shrimp makes this an easy choice. She opts for the Vegan Consomme’; unfortunately she is also out of vegetable bouillon cubes and has to settle for several cubes of chicken bouillon, hoping no one will notice. A pan full of hot water, a few good glugs of Sauvignon Blanc and there it is, Voila! gourmet Very Vegan Consomme’!
The Sauvignon Blanc looks so tasty she tries a glass as she thinks about SALADS. Her own “Deluxe Jello Confetti Divine” will be perfect; but wait, shouldn’t she have prepared that ahead of time? Well, too late now. Jello sets up faster than it used to anyway, doesn’t it? Several large packages of lime Jello with plenty of very hot water stirred in, once again a few splashes of Sauvignon for the Jello and a dollop for her glass. Amazing how quickly the glass empties; wine bottles must hold less these days.
She has the rest of the ingredients for the salad on hand so she chops radishes – this is a confetti salad, remember? – and the radishes provide a bright red and white color. A handful of frozen corn adds yellow, blueberries for, you guessed it, blue, and a package of baby carrots that glow orange against the green Jello. As a last touch, chunks of eggplant, unpeeled of course, provide a nice purple. It all looks a little soupy but should be fine by the time the rest of the meal is ready. Maybe she should put it in the refrigerator? Oh yes, she nearly forgot the whipping cream. By now she can’t remember where her whisk might be, or if she evens has one so she shakes the box of cream vigorously several times, ready to pour it over the salad. In the meantime she notices the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc has mysteriously emptied so she opens another Pinot Noir, accidently dripping a good sized puddle over the whipping cream. The resulting shade of pink is exquisite with the confetti colors.
About now Auntie Jo’s guests begin to arrive, each being greeted with a hug and a glass of whichever wine is open at the moment. Auntie Jo is so pleased to see her friends she forgets that she hasn’t started the entree’. She’d been planning on Boeuf Bourgignon Con Verduras Mexicanas (translation: burgundy beef with Mexican vegetables – foreign words are so classy), another of her creations. She woozily peers into her freezer, finds what looks like a large rump roast and pops it into the Crock-Pot. She probably should have unwrapped it first but time is getting short. In goes a bottle of her best Burgundy along with a can of fruit cocktail since there don’t seem to be any mixed veggies on hand. One third cup of chili powder, carefully measured, adds the Mexican touch. Oh well, what the heck, another third of a cup won’t hurt. On goes the lid and the entire Crock-Pot goes into the microwave to hasten the cooking process.
2 hours later, the guests and she are down to the last few bottles of assorted wine, stuffing themselves on what’s left of the leftover pizza, KIX, TRIX and peanut butter, not noticing a dark, horrid smelling cloud wafting in from the kitchen. By midnight everyone has staggered off towards home and Auntie Jo heaves a sigh of relief at the success of her dinner party. She reels around the living room, draining all the bottles of wine into one bomb of a nightcap, and falls onto the sofa for a well-earned rest.
When the firemen hack open her front door and drag her to safety, her eyelids barely flutter. She wakes up in the ambulance once, sits up and cries out “I forgot the dessert,” then passes out again.