Two of my foremost passions melded together in my first themed potluck in Germany…Books and Wine. K consumes one each week, and I love listening as others explain not the plot of their reads, or “I like this wine” but describe themes or how the words or wine taste to them. I don’t want to be in a book club where we read the same book and discuss, but in one where we each bring a book we’ve recently read and swap them or offer them up. So, each guest was to bring a book to discuss, and either a bottle of wine or dish to share. Keeping the group size to 6 of us meant that we could each discuss the words and wine.
The negative aspect of the gathering was feeling pressured all week to get my house in order. Of course, it didn’t happen. Lucky for me, my new gal pals didn’t mind spending the first 20 minutes of our evening helping me put up my artwork while waiting for others to arrive. I selected these prints for my kitchen and matted them myself using foam board from a “thank heaven they speak English” printing shop.
And I HAVE to show you how my kickin friend Melissa helped me envision my latest project: constructing my own coat rack. I purchased 6 slates of wood, stained them, drilled them together, and then added hooks to them. Now, I WON’T LOSE MY KEYS! And how homey is that, entering the door and throwing your beloved scarf or purse up on the wall…LOVE IT!
I did manage on my own to wrap up cute silverware, and create homemade holidays disks for each of the guests…and select some homemade cookies. They look festive, yes?
Now onto the special guests of the evening:
Course #1: A fruit del mar from the Alsace region of France, paired with Brie, Fig & Goat Cheese Logs, Cherry Semoinola Dr. Krackers, Crusty French Bread, olives & Olive Oil…The guests discussed why reading science fiction is a must try (somewhat like trying port or gluvien…try one!) because it contains characters that struggle with themes of morality, human nature, & how to solve the problems that plague our current world.
Words to describe this wine: clean, summery, floaty. The French wine did not have a buttery or oaky flavor, and it would be good on a summer day with fish, and it teamed well with the cheese (not something fruity) because it has apples and pears already in there.
For my first official gathering, I had to break out the wine I bought from Bonair over a year ago. I remembered the red table wine as super palatable. We described it as easy, flexible, medium sweetness and not overpowering. Subtle. A mutt (which most good table wines are!). It was paired with an anti-pasta salad, which allowed the salad to take center stage. Books discussed and recommended included: How to Win Friends & Influence People–my highlight…it was written in the 1930s and contains GREAT long lasting advice about how to make the world in general a better place. The Alchemist: legendary book. A must read before you die. What is your journey about and what is your purpose? We also talked about how you can read what celebrities are reading…and why that is a good or not so good endeavor. Did you know that Anthony Bourdain is reading The Friends of Eddie Coyle?
But one of my favorite sites, because I think children’s books contain the meaning of life…is StoryOnline…check it out!
Course #3 & #4: Nabbing some whitefish, I soaked a pound in half a cup of light coconut milk, with some spices. Chopping up carrots and grape tomatoes and grilling the fish on my panini maker…not to mention the fact that I made home-made rosemary dough during my workday yesterday that got grilled up side by side. The marinade was NOT salty and very light, as I didn’t want to overpower the Bonair or the Pinot that was served with the Bourbon-Orange Pork Ribs.
The Pinot, again from Ale region in France, tasted “snobbish, particular, structured” and if the table wine was bendy and easy, this red, although not hugely robust in flavor, was a wine that was very defined. This wine was perhaps the perfect pair for the tangy ribs.
Not to mention our discussion as we noshed.
Books that intrigued some of the guests were biographies: John Adams…and Pat Tillman’s was said to be a must-read for anyone who knows about the journey of struggling boys trying to find their places as men in America.
We also described one of my favorite reads of the year,
The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Pie Society (THANKS Aunty K for the book)…the way the story unfolds, its shadows of pride and prejudice, the heavy themes conveyed in a light tone…what a book!
All in all, a PHENOMENAL end to a rather “where is my brain and how come Skype has suddenly gone “underwater” sound on me?
If you had a words and wine party, what would you bring? (PS: we’re gathering again next month!)