Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tales From The Spit Bucket

As I've already stated previously, I am a gourmand above reprieve. My taste buds have been tested to the nth degree and have come out swinging like a prize fighter with two blackened eyes, a cut across my cheek, a split lip bleeding profusely and still I can tell if the goose liver is from Le Cochon avec Morte or La Ville Fenetre dans le Cornichons. And when I still had my hotplate, I could turn out a pheasant under glass (well, really pigeon under Saran Wrap), that could've given Louis XIV's cooks a run for their money. But what I've learned in my culinary experience is that all of that is meaningless if you don't have the right wine to elevate the meal. Otherwise, you might as well be eating Alpha-getti, no matter how many black truffles or duck tongues you throw at the dish in question. On that note, I've actually added black truffles and duck tongues to a can of Alpha-getti, baked it at 350 degrees on the carburetor of my neighbour, Voltar's, Cutlass Supreme (this is where the term, low-carb foods comes from), and the results were quite satisfying. Even edifying you might say, if you factor in the resulting amount of bathroom time afterwards that allowed for deep and intensive meditation and more whimsical daydreaming, which, as an analyst, I know is all too important for the healing of mind, body and psyche. Be that as it may, it was a fine wine that brought the meal to its soaring finale. So, I'm always on the prowl for a new wine to both please and inform me simultaneously, much like shoplifting a dictionary and stuffing it down my underpants causing me to walk awkwardly and thus stimulating my nether parts in ways that even Noah Webster never dreamed of or came up with a word for.
Creating new definitions at Noah Webster's dictionary factory and end-of-the-roll broadloom and carpet outlet, circa 1986. Notice the ultra-hygienic factory environment to prevent cross-contamination of words and carpet samples.
Now, I'm not one to take the route well-taken or path well-trodden or sidewalk well-walked on except if there's a lot of thorny shrubbery or bushes and I'm forced to take one of the three aforementioned routes, so it's not my local purveyor of fine wines and spirits that I look to when I'm in the mood for a little bit of the grape squishings. No siree, that's not for me, when just down the street my acquaintance, Litvack Yaplonsky, has been producing fine wines in his garage using only plastic garbage bins, aquarium tubing, a roto-rooter, some fruit and vegetable peelings and sometimes a little squirrel meat for added body. Here's a picture of Litvack in all his wine-making glory, wearing the official Salle de Bain Ecouter avec Sang de Sel Fleur Boeuf Rouge wine-maker's overcoat of the Piedmont region, although the buttons were made in Alsace due to Charles the Bald losing a bet to Louis the German back in 842 over what would look better in a waistcoat, a mongoose or an otter.
So when Litvack rang and said he was bringing over a bottle of his newest pressing, a little something he called Chateau Poulet dans le Danse Macabre, I selected my best can of Chef Boyardee from my larder and set flame to a couple of Sterno cans. I broke out my best Chinet paper plates (only used once because I foraged them immediately after they were deposited in the waste basket at the local park so the stains are minimal and almost decorative if you squint), and readied myself for this feast for all the senses and the teeth. Litvack arrived with two plastic Pepsi containers filled with his finest and we settled in for the first tasting, allowing five minutes for the wine to breath and rid itself of some thick, almost jelly-like bubbles that popped and reformed on its surface. But this is common for wines near border crossings where the French and the Germans like to spit at each other. It was remarkably clear for a red but those Alsatians like to fool you with their subtle blends and bromide tinted accents. First we swirled the heavenly nectar and I was amazed at the dark, almost alluvial deposits of sediment it left on the sides of my Dixie Cup. Obviously the fruit rinds used for making this wine came from some pretty rich and filthy terroir, and one whiff at the bouquet proved me right as I caught the faint scent of mating earthworms and discarded Big Mac wrappers. This appellation designation definitely blows the cow manure right out of the earth, I thought to myself.
"So," Litvack said, eyeballing me over a speared Chefboyardee ravioli, "what do you think of my new brew?"
"Litvack, my good man," I laughed, shaking my own ravioli shard in his face. "Brew is not the word for this incredible creation. Bacchus himself would roll over in his grave to know of this concoction, except, well, I guess he's a god so he can't be dead but, I mean, last picture I saw of him he was pretty overweight so good chance he might've been bowled over by a heart attack by now. But let me reserve my comments for after a proper tasting." And so I did, with a thorough mouth swishing that I'd learned from a French sommelier, famed for his canary-yellow pants and his face disfigured by a truffle pig, followed by my own specially devised spitting technique that takes its inspiration from a high diver plunging into a wash tub. It takes hours of practice and dedication and is highly scientific as the diagram below illustrates.
The whole key is not to hyperventilate, pass out and accidentally squash your landlady's cat. And of course to have bendy straws so your efforts and equipment are not jeopardized in the process. Once I'd spit the wine into a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket, I thought momentarily, gathering my words for the final verdict. 
"It has a delicate nose," I began my prognosis, "that belies the stronger flavours that lurk beneath. I get a hint of tobacco, apple, blackberry and old shoe leather, may I conjecture the tongue and perhaps even lace off the remains of a 2002 Easy Stride Mallwalker. Subtlety is not this wine's finest point but then again, we're eating it with Italian cuisine that demands a vintage and style of wine to match the heartiness of the Chefboyardee. I expected some oak, Litvack, but I'm not disappointed, because, well, only a horse's ass would put any wood shavings in with the underlying squirrel meat you thought you could sneak by me."
"Chipmunk, actually," Litvack replied, but I could see by the twinkle in his one cataract-glazed eye that he was just playing devil's advocate and that I was right.
We finished both bottles of Litvack's finest and the rest gets a little hazy. I think we wrestled for a bit, there were some cat feces and a litterbox involved, Litvack left and returned with some firearms and his stuffed goat, the authorities were called at one point, Mrs. Grabowsky's quilted house coat caught fire and Litvack was arrested wearing only his smiley face boxer shorts, cat poop smeared across his chest. Ah, c'est la vie, tout le monde, that's life in Gay Paree and once I scrape the charred bits out of Mrs. Grabowsky's wig I'm sure I can convince her to let me remain in the rooming house.

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