Being a mother of two young children and one teen, I find myself needing quite a bit of wine.
Call me a lush if you will, but a few sips of something alcoholic can do wonders for my coping skills, in the midst of the fifth toddler meltdown of the day, or having to listen to yet another door being slammed.
Regardless of whether you’re judging me right now, I have to say that while my appreciation of the function of alcohol in my life has skyrocketed, my ability to discern the quality of said alcohol has diminished considerably.
I used to choose wines based solely on how well they paired with whatever I was eating, but since my meals now consist of the “Mom Diet” (aka leftovers of whatever my kids tossed aside, and maybe a salad), none of that is happening now.
I’d like to change that, for moms everywhere.
Over the years, we’ve seen sommeliers become more relaxed with wine and food pairings. Those stiff rules claiming that you could only pair white wine with fish, or that you needed to avoid wine altogether with fast foods like a burger, are long gone. We live in a new era.
What I propose is a further evolution of wine pairing, with busy moms in mind. Let’s be honest: Moms are basically drinking wine at the end of the day to ease them away from the brink of insanity where motherhood regularly leads us, not to complement the food they’re eating.
But what if we were able to do both? What if the wine we’d chosen paired perfectly with the tanginess of those Goldfish crackers we’re having for dinner? It’s the best of both worlds, ladies!
Here are seven perfect wine pairings for the busy mom.
Leftover mac & cheese
You’d be surprised how well a nice Portuguese Rosé pairs with mac & cheese, especially if it’s one of the fancier versions that you tried to get your kids to eat in the spirit of eating less crappy crap. In particular, white or aged cheddar are good choices, but the basic Kraft stuff will due too, in a pinch.
Cold chicken nuggets (dinosaur shaped, no ketchup)
Of all the “meals” listed here, this one has perhaps the best potential to stand up to a nice red. However, you may want to stay with the lighter-bodied reds, like a Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Franc. You know, to pretend shit like this actually matters.
Lukewarm chicken nuggets (not dinosaur shaped, but with ketchup)
Clearly, if you’re going hardcore with basic chicken nuggets, you have even more room to spread your wings within the red wine varietals. Personally, I’d go a bit bolder, maybe a Cabernet Sauvignon, or even a Ripasso if you’re feeling fancy.
Goldfish crackers & carrot sticks
Look at you, enjoying your apps as a main, instead! You’re a little bit rock and roll, aren’t you? The perfect wine pairing would be an easygoing Prosecco or Cava, both of which are often served with appetizers in Italy and Spain, respectively. Bonus: the bubbles make the alcohol work faster.
The crusts of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
I’d say that it really depends on the type of bread that’s being used in the sandwich, but who are we kidding here? If your kid is young enough to demand the crusts be cut off, it’s Wonder Bread all the way. For this, you’ll want an off-dry Riesling to complement the nuttiness of the peanut butter residue. If you’re the type who only serves almond butter, then you’ll want to go with a Pinot Grigio. Don’t bother asking me why.
Cold, plain white rice with steamed broccoli
The wine you end up choosing will ultimately depend on how you decide to spice your rice and broccoli. If you’re going for more of an Asian feel, adding some soy sauce, I’d recommend choosing a Gewürztraminer, which is a slightly sweet white wine that will offer a nice contrast to the saltiness of the soy sauce. If adding spice to the rice results in crying children, I still recommend choosing a Gewürztraminer, because it’s wine.
Raw veggies with ranch dip
I think by now it should be obvious that you need a Chardonnay with this meal. The rich, buttery flavor and notes of citrus will pair well with a vegetable-based meal, while complementing the artificial creaminess of the dip.
I was going to add in a pairing for leftover hot dogs, but just go ahead and crack open a beer.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the hell you pair with your kid’s leftovers. Chances are, you’ll be shoveling that food down as quickly as possible between snack requests from your hungry kids.
Because they didn’t finish their dinner, and now they’re hungry. Again.