There is a reason why we eat junk food. At the end of the day, it is painfully close to the reason why we drink good wine. There is a certain unspeakable pleasure in it. It’s personal, guilty, and bound to bring out fierce opinions.
Why on earth would you spend that much on a bottle of wine?
What do you mean you don’t like Doritos?
As someone who has witnessed Doritos disappear in a single seating and would sooner buy a 1992 chenin blanc than a pair of shoes, yes. I get the gut-busting guilt of either splurge–be it monetary or caloric.
Actually, junk food is worthy of good wine–like a barbera. It is an abundant, easy-to-grow grape used to make relatively inexpensive wine from northern Italy. When hearing its name, foodies might go on to suggest pairing it with artisanal pizza with Fontina cheese, or perhaps rosemary lamb chops. How about seafood jambalaya?
Here is the problem: There is no way that I’m going to sit down tonight and grill some rosemary-infused lamb chops. I’ve never made seafood jambalaya. It’s snowing and there is leftover chili in my fridge and pizza in the freezer. Take a wild guess what will happen when my wet, snow-covered kids walk through that door.
Why do we stick to descriptions of gourmet accomplishments when discussing wine, but we avoid the simpler, more common guilty-pleasure foods?
Here is the truth: Doritos are spicy, crunchy, and fried. This means that they taste better with something that cuts through the richness with higher acid. Dorito-friendly wines don’t need tannins or oak-barrel aging. They can be a little thin and lacking those huge, fruity flavors that California Cabernet-snobs seem to love. In fact, those prized “fine wine” qualities would actually take away from my Dorito-induced happiness.
The trick to loving wine involves forgetting a lot of the rules that others seem to impose on pleasure.
Uncork that barbera. Hyperdecant it in the blender and let it get all pink and frothy. Go ahead and pour it into whatever glass is handy. Finally, rip open that bag of Doritos and settle into some Access Hollywood while the snow falls outside. I won’t tell. In fact, I’ll probably be doing the same.
Fyi DIY enthusiasts and Dorito fanatics, you can now make them yourselves, thanks to Casey Barber’s new book, Classic Snacks Made from Scratch. And they’re even better with a little barbera.