"BrixChicks" are asking us to use our creative juices. The question from them is whether we remember our summer reading list as a chore or an opportunity to slow down and read for pleasure? The chicks want want to know: What wine would your favorite fictional character drink?
We are to think of a favorite character using any genre, any timeline and any story. So what wine would our hero or heroine drink and extra credit if we work the wine into a scene.
When I was a youngster, I look back and think of myself as a big nerd as I looked forward to the summer so I could read all day, if I wanted. I remember many a sunny day sitting under a big ol' shade tree and reading my favorite books. However, back then my favorite character was Laura Ingalls Wilder of the Little House in the Big Woods series. Safe to say she would not have had a favorite wine or Pa would have taken her to the woodshed.
Now as an adult, I have many favorite characters but my long time favorite is Imogene "Idgie" Threadgoode. The dare -devilish tomboy from the novel, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," by Fannie Flagg.
"The Whistle Stop Cafe in Whistle Stop, Alabama was soon to open. Cafe owners and domestic partners, Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison were busy planning their menu and cafe hours.
Idgie was a tomboy and often dressed in men's white dress shirts, while using suspenders to hold up her pants. Ruth, on the other hand, was soft and frail. She always wore a dress and smelled like a field of wild flowers. Unfortunately, Idgie and Ruth were unable to add wine on their menu due to the puritanical and obsolete laws of the Alabama ABC (Alcohol Board of Control).
From their supper menu, one could order southern favorites: fried green 'maters, fried chicken, meatloaf, pot roast and gravy, catfish, chicken and dumplings, or the barbecue plate of the day. However those who were close to the diner, knew not to eat the barbecue. Idgie had a temper when people started messing with her family and loved ones. Too bad they never found Ruth's ex husband's body. That Frank Bennett was a mean man and use to beat on Miss Ruth.
In the mean time, Idgie became frustrated with the Alabama liquor laws so she contacted her cousin Walter in Washington State to see if he could ship her a "case of olive oil." Idgie longed to have wine pairings along with her supper menu, or especially just to keep a few bottles hidden in the back pantry.
One day, Idgie received word that she had a package to pick up at the train station. Sure enough it was a case of wine and marked on the box in big red letters, "Fragile!" (Was "fra-jee-lee" an Italian word? Oh wait - - never mind, that's different story ...)
Once Idgie opened the box, she discovered a case of Dumas Station Cow Catcher Red! Ruth, being the more sophisticated one of the couple, explained to Idgie that in spite of the friendly label and affordable price, Cow Catcher Red was just as fine as any fancy French Bordeaux, and produced with all Walla Walla Valley fruit! This 2009 red was a blend of four Bordeaux varieties with just a splash of Syrah to make it as mysterious as the gossip that went on in cousin Opal Threadgoode's beauty parlor.
As Idgie opened the bottle with the heel of her boot, and poured the beautiful dark red liquid into a jelly jar, she discovered flavors of dark cherries and plums along with the smells of papa's old cigar box. She even picked up a hint of berries from the ol' bramble bush thicket down the hollar.
There were also exotic notes from the wine that reminded Idgie of the fancy Earl Grey tea from Miss Tilly's House of Tea on Main Street. There were wafts of new leather boots and green olives. Idgie had olives once at a fancy picnic hosted by her brother Cleo's wife, Juliann. Cleo repeated several times, with pride of his wife's good taste, that the shiny green and black olives were from Spain.
It was hard for Idgie to express how much she loved this nectar from the Wild West, but she knew it was the perfect wine to pair with the meatloaf and the pot roast on the supper menu. Why this red blend would even pair with Ruth's fancy French chocolate mousse and her blackberry galettes. Idgie didn't understand why Ruth used such silly words when describing those little rustic one crust pies and especially puzzling as to why anyone would call chocolate pudding the name of a four legged creature with big antlers.
After her third glass of Dumas Station Cow Catcher Red, Idgie started thinking about how the wine would also make a fine pairing with a plate of southern barbecue. Well, she knew that next week the ol' Alabama revenuer would pay her a visit and especially if he caught wind of her case of "olive oil" she picked up at the Whistle Stop train station - - and since she didn't want him to fetch the wine and dump it in the river - - perhaps out of satisfaction and curiosity, Idgie just might have to try her famous barbecue after all. TOWANDA!"
Wow! What a great story. I wanted to read more about the food and the characters. Nice work, Catie.
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