Culinary Adventures With MaryEllen

I love the stories of your mother in the kitchen, cooking great meals, you and your siblings sharing in the chores of dinner, stories passed between all of you, aromas in the air seducing you and pulling you in……

MaryEllen Pajak tried; she tried.

There were a few good meals created by my mother in my youth.  I’ll give her that.  However, my mother is not an adventurous eater.  If it is not familiar and agreeable to her palate, it will not be made.  There have been some changes over the years, this is true.  The biggest change has been her new love for wine, and her acknowledgment that there are just O-K wines, and REALLY GOOD WINES out there.  She won’t stray from her chicken parm, but will snub a crappy version of Cabernet Sauvignon.

During my recent trip to Florida, I decided to cook for my mother, each evening, in her beautiful kitchen.  Every day the two of us would discuss the menu, shop for the ingredients, and pair the wine.  Yes, pair the wine.  I involved MaryEllen in all decisions from the focus of the meal, to the styling of the table.  She excelled at styling the table and I believed enjoyed this part the most.  Who wouldn’t with her array of dishes, placemats, cutlery, wine decanters – the list goes on and on….(she can be a bit of a shopper..)

You know how this turned out.  When first viewed as a chore, meal time became what we both looked forward to each day.  The two of us had a common goal and charged ahead together as a unit.  It brightened us.  Meal time became our conversation, and our converstation with everyone we met.

When I spoke to her today, she told me she was missing me.  I know she is, but it is different this time around.  She is missing the companion that oohed and ahhed over sauces.  She is missing laughing in the pool over taking Instagram photos of TBones.  She is missing eating late, (“which a lady should not do” – by the way, dinner was served at 7pm) and planning the meals moving forward.  Food can change us, but food experiences can alter us.

If I have just become the family cook, then so be it.  To see the face of a woman that thinks spaghetti and meatballs is a culinary masterpiece get turned on to stuffed pork chops is worth the effort.  Bravo MaryEllen, and keep on collecting pretty glassware.  We will need it for our next culinary adventure together!

This is a wine blog, right?  Here is your wine review:

Stags Leap Winery Chardonnay – Please don’t think you can’t have chardonnay and meat together.  We paired this wine with stuffed pork chops over yellow rice.  This wine is just gorgeous; the point of this chardonnay is to retain it’s freshness while delivering a purity of fruit and a nice complexity, brought on by the oak.  There is intensity and focus, but balanced with the core of nice citrus flavors.  It is getting hotter, and you are going to want to stray from this varietal; don’t do it – grab a bottle and chill, but not generously.  To much chill will mask this beauty of this wine.

And I can’t forget steak night…

MaryEllen dinner #2

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