Does Chardonnay Go with Wheaties?
Posted by Larry Wallberg on 12/13/2009
Some people have pointed out that my blog doesn’t seem to have a theme. Well, actually “some people” is my wife. Last night, we watched the film Julie and Julia, which you may already know is about a woman named Julie Powell who decided to blog as she cooked her way completely through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
“Why can’t you come up with something inventive like that?” my wife suggested. “I have a huge cookbook collection.”
“I hate cooking,” I reminded her. “And, also, I’m terrible at it. You can’t even stand the way I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
“Yeah, that’s because you use half a jar of everything. And who ever heard of spreading marmalade with a slotted spoon?”
“The forks were all in the dishwasher. Anyway, I held my hand underneath it, didn’t I? But, if you don’t like the way I operate in the kitchen, how about if we go to a different restaurant in Lexington every night, and I write about that?”
Our neighbors might have wondered what that mysterious dice-like noise was shortly after midnight. Answer: my wife’s eyes rolling. “And who’s going to pay for our meals?” she asked.
“Well, maybe we can get restaurant owners to give us dinner in exchange for the free advertising they’ll get on my blog.”
“Oh, yeah, they’re just dying to reach your five readers. Remind me again how many of them live in Kentucky.”
We continued going back and forth this way for about half an hour. My wife thought I might try my hand at shopping for fresh produce and whipping up a different salad each night. I had the great idea to blog about my experiences microwaving TV dinners and frozen pot pies. She wondered if readers would like watching me struggle with The Idiot Child’s Step-by-Step Picture Cookbook. I thought maybe it would be cool if she worked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I blogged about my reactions.
Finally, we arrived at a mutually agreeable solution. I would blog about a food that I already make myself every day. Of course, by “make” I mean “pour into a bowl.” So here are the first few entries of “The Larry/Julia Cereal Serial.”
Sunday Morning, December 13, 9:00 a.m.
Sunday Morning, December 13, 10:00 a.m.
Still sleeping, but I’ll be up soon. I promise.
Sunday Afternoon, December 13, 1:00 p.m.
I always hated Cheerios when I was a kid because they were kind of bland. They still are, but I’ve invented a recipe to make them more palatable. I’m confident that Julia Child would have loved it, and you will, too!
Cover the Cheerios with about three huge handfuls of raisins. If you like, add a tablespoon of honey, maple syrup, or Cabernet Sauvignon. Fill a thimble with milk and pour it in slowly, stirring vigorously as you do. For a real treat, tear apart four Oreos, scoop out the creme filling and set it aside for later use. Then, holding the cookies firmly in your palms, bring your hands together as hard as you can, as if clapping for a really great meal. If you do that correctly, you’ll hear a smashing noise, and see a few crumbs drop to the floor. Don’t worry about those little fallen pieces right now; you can wait a few minutes before you sweep them up and set them aside for later use. In the meantime, brush the remaining crispy chocolate bits from your palms directly onto the cereal.
I can almost hear the spirit of Julia saying “yum,” although I’m certain that she would have found a way to add butter.
Sunday Afternoon, December 13, 1:15 p.m.
Well, this blog might be fun after all. Since I’m still hungry, I’ve decided to pour myself a bowl of Barbara’s Bakery Peanut Butter Puffins. These are little low fat, wheat-free pillows of corn meal, dehydrated cane juice, natural peanut butter, oat flour, rice flour, sea salt, and – of course – soy, which adds nothing except authority. I had a little difficulty keeping the nuggets from bouncing as they flowed from box to bowl; Julia doesn’t address this issue in any of her cookbooks. I’m guessing that perhaps the answer is to hold the carton a bit closer to the countertop, rather than over your head. My wife thought this dish was delicious, although she keeps complaining about the crunching under her feet as she walks through the kitchen. So here’s an important lesson that every cereal cook must remember: It doesn’t pay to try to please everyone.
Sunday Afternoon, December 13, 2:30 p.m.
Snack time. I was hoping to try my hand at pouring some Trix or Cocoa Puffs, but the only other cereal we have in the house is Nature’s Path Organic Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon. Blueberry Cinnamon what? Don’t the people at Nature’s Path know that you can’t have a couple of adjectives standing alone like shmucks without a noun to modify? How about “Crunchies” or “Crispies” or “Pops”? The problem is: the cereal has a lot of different textures mushed together. There are flakes and bits that look like Grape-Nuts and others that resemble Smacks and even some little chunks of fruit, which, as Julia would surely have known, should have been raisins, but which are actually dried blueberries. I sensed I was really in trouble with this cereal when I read “Now with 25% LESS Sugar.” Why would anybody do that? Worst of all, the fifth ingredient is “organic flax,” which always tastes like sardines to me, and overwhelms all the grainy fruity goodness of the other stuff. You can forget about matching this dish with an appropriate wine; vintners have yet to discover a varietal that works well with cinnamon, wheat, blueberries, soy (you figured that, right?), and anchovy flavoring. Even adding a cup of butter failed to make this palatable.
Sunday Afternoon, December 13, 3:00 p.m.
I’ve decided to cancel The Larry/Julia Cereal Serial. My wife made BLT’s for lunch, so this blog will now return to its pristine themeless state. Bon appétit.