Recommended wine for today’s entry: Last night we enjoyed a bottle of Rodney Strong Sonoma County chardonnay. It’s described by the winemaker as “Bright lemon and apple aromas mingle with hints of toasty barrel complexity, and on the palate, pear and pineapple with spice and refreshing acidity.” We appreciated that it wasn’t overly oaked but had more flavor than some of the light, fruity wines we’d been enjoying over the summer…kind of a white wine step into fall…
I love college football. The pep bands, the cheering fans, the crisp fall afternoons and, hopefully, a winning season. But mostly, I admit, I like to tailgate.
Saturday night we tailgated with some friends and we were noticing how our tastes have changed through the years. Where we once were content with a bag of Cheetos and a twelve pack of cheap beer, now that we’re all hovering around 50, we have stepped up our tailgating a bit.
Let me note here: our set-up is in NO way anything close to some of the elaborate ordeals we see in the parking lot – you know, the ones that look like they must have kept an event planner toiling for weeks? We don’t have linens in the team colors covering a serving table with a buffet of chef-prepared dishes. We don’t have the flat-screen TV mounted to a caboose or a live DJ spinning tunes for line dancing after the game. And we certainly don’t have a centerpiece.
OK, now that I think about it, our tailgating still sucks. But we have graduated from Cheetos to shrimp, various salsas and dips (some homemade!) and chicken wings. I even made wraps this time – and I put lettuce on them… that fancy leaf lettuce. We do still serve from Tupperware and our cutlery is comprised of two plastic knives covered in lint from the bottom of my purse. But we’re climbing the tailgate ladder. We’re still just a few rungs below the event planner.
The biggest advancement we’ve made is in our beverages. One time my friend Tippi brought Cosmos – they were even red to coordinate with our team colors. And really cool martini glasses with red and black beads. But that’s all I remember from that game.
Generally, the boys still go for the cold beer, but most of the women prefer wine. We sometimes bring bottles, but glassware is a dilemma . Normally, I hate to drink wine from anything that isn’t glass, but you know what? Once I stepped into the dark side and learned to drink it from a plastic cup, I was OK. I do draw the line at paper Dixie cups – after you’ve been pregnant, where you have to give urine specimens in Dixie cups once a month or more, you just can’t bring yourself to drink a yellow beverage from one.
All the sophisticates running the wineries must have gotten together and realized the quandary facing the white trash drinkers in places like, I don’t know – Kentucky maybe? They want wine, but they need to be able to carry it in their pockets. Or purses. Or sometimes in their socks. I am sure each winery has a marketing person dedicated to the sloppy middle-aged woman who, for a variety of reasons, needs her wine “to go.”
And the portable wine czars are brilliant! My friend Jody brought a REALLY cool thing to Saturday night’s game – wine in a juice box! It was the spitting image of a kid’s juice box, but with a copy of the wine’s label on the front and, sorry, no straw. You did need to pour it into a cup … or bring your own straw.
OK, so now Jody has a super cool wine box and my friend Jan, who is a dedicated pink wine drinker, pulls out these really cute little mini-bottles of white zinfandel. She told us a funny story about the last time she went on a cruise. You see, you’re not supposed to bring your own liquor on board, so that the cruise line can set you in the middle of the Atlantic and charge you exorbitant prices for the cheap rum they’ve filled the hold with on their last Caribbean run. But Jan was smarter than the good Captain – she pulled the labels off her little bottles of pink wine and attached various labels from her toiletries – said she had a couple bottles of “shampoo,” couple of “conditioner,” some were “body wash” and a bunch of them were “Off.” Yes, like the bug repellant.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have been on a couple of cruises and really didn’t find many mosquitoes chasing a ship 100 miles out to sea. But it worked and she ended up smuggling 18 single-serving bottles of wine on board! Clever.
I do wonder what the cabin steward thought each night when he went to put a little chocolate on her pillow and saw that she’d been through four bottles of Off in course of the day. And what he thought when he saw that the empty bottles had lipstick on them.
Jody used to have a very clever way to take a “roadie” when our husbands used to jam us in the backseat on our way to restaurants. She would put her wine in one of the kids’ sippy cups, figuring that if the police pulled us over, she’d snap the lid on top and stick it in the cupholder. No cop in his right mind would check a Big Bird sippy cup for booze! Brilliant, huh? And yes, she always remembered to put it through the dishwasher before giving it to her kids again.
We were laughing about the things we used to do. Then Jody stuck two of Jan’s pink wine bottles into a secret compartment of her purse and snuck it into the game. (Jody and I can drink a beer or two in the stadium, but Jan is a pink-wine-or-nothing girl.) So there we were, at halftime, getting a cup of ice, pouring some into someone’s cupped hands while we situated the mini-wine bottle into the cup, then covering it with the remaining ice to chill it for the second half.
We were impressed with our own ingenuity and felt just a little daring – or as daring as 50-year-olds can feel, I guess. Maybe we all just need something to get our adrenaline rush every now and again.