The marriage between food and wine is very similar to a marriage between two human beings.
In both cases, for instance, there needs to be a whole lot of give and take.
In a human marriage, one spouse may be a sports fanatic, while the other couldn’t tell you the difference between a field goal and a slam dunk. Such a union could endure only if the sports fan were allotted a certain amount of no-guilt time per day to play couch potato, perhaps in exchange for the dinnertime duty of preparing the baked potatoes.
In a culinary marriage, there’s no place for the food and the wine to be fighting for supremacy. The goal is flavor harmony, and that means certain types of wine must remain sealed when certain types of food are served.
Then there’s the Carly Simon factor: anticipation.
In a good marriage, one spouse can’t wait for the other to get home at night. Both partners look forward to sharing their adventures, misadventures, achievements and challenges of the day.
In a good culinary marriage, the anticipation revolves around the next bite of food and the next sip of wine. What new flavor will that sauce reveal? How will it meld with the flavors of the wine? Are the textures of the food and wine compatible, or would a lighter (or more full-bodied) wine work better with the dish?
Marriages that endure are those in which the participants invest in one another’s interests and personalities, rather than constantly going their own way. Shared experiences often make for great memories.
And the same thing is true in the marriage of food and wine. On those occasions when exactly the right wine is served alongside exactly the right dish – such as a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon with a thick, juicy steak… or a rich, creamy Chardonnay with a perfectly prepared pork chop… or even a glass of Zinfandel with a slice of pepperoni pizza – you can be sure that the meal will be talked about for a long time to come.
Good marriages take work. So do good culinary marriages. But the payoffs are so worth it.