Taking my turn hosting dinner for my all-male amateur cooking club recently, I finally worked up the courage to attempt the Boeuf Bourgogne recipe from legendary chef Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." It involved 19 ingredients, 16 steps and two days' work, but it was, I blush to confess, superb. Rich, complex, assertive, ...Read more
Who doesn't love barbecued ribs? When that craving hits, there's nothing to do but give in to it.
Object of desire: a massive slab of pork ribs suffused with smoke and char. So they wrap it up for you and you tuck the bag tenderly into the backseat of the car, careful not to spill any of the extra sauce. Riding home, the smell of those ribs ...Read more
Could you tell a $40 wine from a $10 one in a blind tasting? This is the challenge I threw out to readers in a recent wine column.
I listed several high-price, low-price wine pairings and asked fans to set up experiments to see if they could tell the difference.
Sid Kaskey, a good sport from South Miami, Fla., took me up on it and invited six ...Read more
Can one drink a naked chardonnay in polite company?
Certainly. Naked, in this context, merely means a chardonnay that hasn't been "clothed" in oak flavors by being fermented and/or aged in oak barrels.
Therein lies a tale of California chardonnay.
Up through the 1960s, most California wines tended to be unsophisticated -- anonymous half-...Read more
Riddle me this: What wines come from Portugal but aren't port? And what Portuguese wines are called "vinho verde," which translates as "green wine," but aren't green?
If you get the answer right, you can discover a couple of new kinds of wine that are tasty, fun and inexpensive. Light, crisp, fruity whites that are great with food or just by ...Read more
Labor Day approaches -- the third-biggest grilling day of the year. Seventy percent of us say we will cook outside, behind only birthdays (72 percent) and the Fourth of July (83 percent).
Men will make up three-quarters of the grillers, according to the Weber grill people. We will stand on the back porch in 90-degree temperatures, wielding the ...Read more
Americans love to visit Italy, especially Tuscany, and one of the reasons is the grape called sangiovese. Best known when made into the red wine called Chianti, it is called "the defining grape of Italy." It has been both the region's boon and its bane.
Infinitely malleable, it is so familiar to centuries of Italian growers that they have given...Read more
Recently I wrote a column titled "Ten tasty wines under $15." The column brought this email from reader Sid Kaskey: "I rarely purchase wines costing more than $12 or so. From time to time I am at a dinner where expensive wines are served. I notice I usually cannot tell the difference between the expensive stuff and the (cheaper wines). I suspect...Read more
Jackie: The Adventures of a Little Boy Trying to Grow UpJohn Tammela
"Jackie..." is the story of a little boy dealing with the ups and downs of growing up in the late '30's and early 40's. Young readers will discover how youngsters spent their holidays freely in contrast to children today. Many will relate to Jackie's situation as being the youngest with 2 ...
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- On a warm, sunny Sunday morning, a hiking group gathers in the parking lot of Saratoga, Calif.'s, Sanborn County Park. Folks are decked out in hats, backpacks and hiking boots. Some carry poles, others water bottles in preparation for an 11-mile hike through the redwoods.
But whether they're seasoned hikers or newcomers to ...Read more
Years ago I liked to write columns with titles like "Ten tasty wines under $10." I usually did it after I got a few emails from unhappy readers taking me to task for writing about wines they deemed too expensive.
"I'm not going to spend $30 on a bottle of wine unless the pope is coming to dinner," one reader said.
I'm sympathetic. I've ...Read more
Italy is most famous for its red wines -- Chianti, Barolo, amarone, valpolicella, it goes on. But it also produces some pleasing white wines that are less-known but very much worth trying. They're often lean and crisp, with lots of fruit flavors and hints of minerals.
Italian whites go well with shellfish, finfish, light chicken and turkey ...Read more
What's in a name? If a wine calls itself sauvignon blanc, must it have only juice from those grapes in its bottle? It might be a surprise that the answer is "no."
In California, a wine need have only 75 percent of its juice from a grape to use its name, under federal rules. So a California chard might have up to 25 percent other grapes in it.
TBILISI, Georgia -- In the ancient wine country of eastern Georgia, Remi Kbilashvili spends three months painstakingly stacking coils of clay to create a massive red, egg-shaped vat, just as his ancestors did thousands of years ago.
The vessel, known as a qvevri, will hold 500 gallons of wine once it is fired in a wood-burning brick kiln for a ...Read more
It may seem a little mean to call a wine "user-friendly." But I mean it in a good way. An excellent way, in fact. I'm talking about malbec, a red wine with no hard edges, no searing acids or harsh tannins. I often compare its flavor to those chocolate-cherry bonbons in the crinkly brown wrappers.
It's a great wine to sip by itself, and its ...Read more