Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
It’s easy, with wine, to drown in the details. Most of us want to know what grape a wine is made from - Cabernet Sauvignon, say - and where it’s from. Knowing the vintage doesn’t hurt either. And before buying a wine, people usually would just as soon have some idea of whether it’s any good.
But beyond that, there’s a hyperabundance of information that is fascinating to the few (wine writers, for example) and mind-numbing for almost everyone else. Trying saying “You know, it's kind of amazing, but the grapes for this Central Coast Syrah were grown on a combination of decomposed granite and sandy loam soils!” to someone you're on a first date with. You’ll definitely be watching TV later, alone.
But how much do you really need to know? Here are a few good reds that simply leave out some of the information we usually expect, skipping the vintage, shrugging at origin, blowing off what grapes are inside. It’s a rather devil-may-care approach, but that’s kind of refreshing when it comes to wine.
Editor's note: this is a part of FN Dish's Back to School Communal Table. Follow #pullupachair on Twitter and see other contributions below.
Sometimes, late in the night, the craving comes to me. I fight it, as I must, for the sake of decency and taste and everything I have strived for as a grown-up human being. I cannot...I will not...I must not...pour bottled Zesty Italian salad dressing over a heap of drained ramen noodles and slurp down the whole hot, harsh mess hunched over the kitchen counter in my bare feet. Even though (as I recall) it would be freaking delicious.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fell in love with the weirdness of kohlrabi.
I have a zucchini the size of a baseball bat lurking on my fridge’s bottom shelf. It has a pack of cousins jammed into the veggie drawer, and my freezer is stuffed with roughly seventeen zillion pounds of squash creations.
It’s the problem every CSA subscriber or veggie gardener faces all summer long: The zucchini explosion.
These things are the rabbits of the plant world. During a long, dry July stretch when practically nothing else was coming up at my CSA’s farm, the zucchini merrily ran rampant. We got massive hauls of it each week; the leftover squash took to leaping off the vines and accosting those who wandered past. I’ve known home gardeners who become like drug pushers: “Oh, you have to take some of my zucchini home with you! No really, take some damn zucchini.”
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Freeze! September 10 is National TV Dinner Day.
If you're too tired to cook and just feel like vegging out in front of the TV, you’re not alone. According to the American Frozen Food Institute, the average American eats six frozen meals a month.
The term TV dinner, or more specifically TV Brand Frozen Dinner, is a registered trademark to C.A. Swanson & Sons, and has been since 1954. While Swanson didn’t invent the compartmented meal, they are credited with being the first to mass market it. The idea of separated tray compartments for food was already being used by airlines.