Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Foodie without the Wine?

For a little over four months, the kitchen has been a "No Go Zone", unless I'm making toast or coffee.

It's been a little hard on my husband (although he loves to cook), as he has been mainly responsible for preparing dinner.

I do love to cook. But it's also an activity that I associate with wine. As I chopped, chopped, chopped, I loved to sip, sip, sip. When the recipe called for wine (and it often did, because there was an iron clad excuse to open a bottle of wine), I would use the bare minimum, and finish one bottle myself, fussing around the kitchen.....and then of course, I would need the second when we got around to eating.

Sounds sophisticated doesn't it? Sounds "normal".......Julia Child used to slurp away on TV.....why on earth would there be anything wrong with coupling fabulous food with a perfectly paired bottle of vino?

Here's what usually happened. Distracted and decidedly fuzzy from the wine drinking (which was, of course the main activity), I would omit an ingredient, forget the time, dinner would be burned, risottos would be a sludgy mess......the whole experience would resemble an edition of Hell's Kitchen.

My long suffering husband would gag down the meal, (diplomatically murmuring all the right this time, I was one bottle of wine in - so a wrong comment could be potentially explosive), and then he would deal with the mess in the kitchen (because I cooked, right?)

I know that the romantic memory of creating in the kitchen is just constructed in my mind - with a little help from the Wine Witch. I can (and do) relive the actual events.

But cooking is still a Major Block.

Last year, one of my only 'achievements" was to publish a short seafood cookbook. That too, wasn't my best work, and although I sold quite a few copies, and had some nice compliments - I still associate that cookbook with my wine soaked kitchen endeavours.

Last week, for the first time in ages I watched Anthony Bourdain (one of my favourite foodie shows). I got a little inspiration, and coupled with some produce from my garden (new sober activity), tonight I tried a stuffed pumpkin recipe.

It's in the oven as I type.

I poured a chilled AF beer as I worked around the kitchen. I tasted the food as I cooked, and adjusted seasoning. I actually wrote down what I was doing. The kitchen is clean. The table is set.

Maybe it's time to just get over it. 

I'll let you know after the Stuffed Pumpkin :)



  1. I love how you remember things.
    i loved recipes with wine too. Any excuse to open a bottle.

    I cook all our meals on the weekend. Week nights are just too full, and I'm happier heating something up, than I would be trying to throw things together.

  2. Do you remember the old feminist expression 'life's to short to stuff a mushroom?' Surely the same can be said of pumpkins?!? But good on you WB! I've had exactly the same cooking block. Poor Mr SM has been doing all his own catering for months! X

    1. Stuffed pumpkin was quite good, i think my tastebuds must have been dulled by wine, because now it seems I am over-seasoning everything.....

  3. Fill your stemware with something NA and get back in that kitchen! If you wrote a cookbook, you obviously enjoy it. You are depriving yourself and the world. There's some great sparkling ciders out there, a little too sweet, but I bet a chef such as you could tweak them. My brain still tells me that I should have something to sip while cooking also, but it's easy to fool it with a NA beverage.

    1. I definitely worked well with AF beer, I am going to try some of my recipes without wine, and see if I can use something else.

  4. I'll second Kary May. You can have practically all of it. A nice, tart apple juice in a beautiful glass and the good food. Maybe one day you can cook with wine without issues. I love moules mariniere and am going to make them soon, using wine. Wine is a bitch, but she'll be MY bitch.

  5. I am not a cook myslef. But I love to sit in the kitchen, drink wine, watch my husband cook and have a conversation. But after a bottle I hardly can remember what we talked about ir how the food tasted.
    As everyone said above, you need to get back to the kitchen and do what you enjoy sans drinking wine. Don't deprive yourself of it. Find a different association? A cup of tea?

    1. I enjoyed last night, and the food wasn't bad either, so I am going to do just that!

  6. A LONG time ago I used to cook. Like when I was a teenager.
    But now my hubs cooks..which means he grills and opens stuff from the deli!
    But I do not complain!
    So I am in awe that you wrote a cook book!
    And now the food tastes so much better being sober!

  7. I hope you do return to cooking. Take your time and develop new habits.
    Fortunately, I never developed a strong physical association between cooking and wine - with the notable exception of the Thanksgiving turkey which I baste in white wine (it truly makes an excellent gravy, no joke). "One bottle for me, one bottle for the bird." I always said. No more.
    One really lovely bit about sobriety is that I now remember eating the meals I spend hours preparing! Imagine that! And the clean kitchen in the morning....not wondering what congealed hell awaits me as I stumble downstairs to make coffee....Amazing! Some mornings, I just hug myself I am so happy to not do dinner dishes while the coffee brews.

  8. Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic.

  9. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post.