I know that the old adage about gift giving is, "it's the thought that counts," but this Mother's Day, I think it would be wonderful to receive a "tasteful" gift. After all, being a mother who loves to cook -- and occasionally enjoy a glass of wine along with my culinary efforts -- I like the idea of pairing cookbooks and wine.
Here are a few cookbooks -- and fun wines -- that I know I'd love to get this Mother's Day. (Retail prices are approximate.):
"Musings on Wine and Other Libations" by M.F.K. Fisher, edited by biographer Anne Zimmerman ($19) -- The first wine related collection of articles by renowned female food/wine/life writer M.F.K. Fisher who began her food/wine/life education while living in Dijon, France, and later broadened her experience living in the California wine country.
"The New York Times Book of Wine: The Best Stories on Wine" ($25) -- A collection of 125 related wine articles published over 31 years by current and former writers of the New York Times. This is the perfect book for the mom who loves food and wine and longs to have the time to spend reading the weekly wine column both past and present. The articles are organized by topic such as "The Jungle of Winespeak" and "A Magnum of Miscellany" rather than chronological order.
"Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor" by Francois Chartier ($37) -- What's the first thing you do when you are served a glass of wine or plate of food? If you're like me, you inhale deeply. The sense of smell is integral to the sense of taste. You can't fully appreciate one without the other. This book discusses "the basic aromatic compounds responsible for taste at a molecular level" to enhance your understanding of food and wine pairings so you may broaden the flavor combinations in your cooking.
"The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket" by Katie Workman ($17) -- The 20 chapters are categorized by dilemmas (with 5 solutions per dilemma) in which a mom may find herself such as potluck (How did I get stuck with making the main dish?), lunches to stay or go, and bake sale (You signed me up to bake what?). The recipes have sub-sections labeled "make ahead," "cooking tip," and finally, "what the kids can do" to engage them in the process. The photographs are plentiful, colorful and inviting.
If you want to keep mom's palate cool this Mother's Day, think prosecco. The Italian sparkling white is vinified and carbonated in stainless steel tanks, which keeps the wine fresh and bright. The Non-vintage Soligo Prosecco Brut from Veneto, Italy ($20) has loads of floral notes on the bouquet and delivers flavors of crisp apple, ripe pear and tangy citrus with polish and panache on the palate. The medium-sized bubbles do a wonderful job of cooling off the tongue and make a great way to start off any meal. QPR 8.5
Of course, every mom likes getting flowers on Mother's Day, but I prefer my flowers in the form of ros?s, like the 2010 Soter North Valley Pinot Noir Ros? from Oregon ($25). Wine maven Tony Soter co-ferments pinot gris with his estate grown pinot noir grapes to produce a wine that is full of strawberry and ripe watermelon aromas. The palate favors juicy flavors of strawberry-rhubarb, ripe peaches and a touch of orange marmalade and pomegranate on the sensational finish. Perfect with soft cheeses and summer fruits. QPR 9
Note: QPR is a rating system that compares the quality a wine delivers relative to the price. A QPR of 10 is considered an excellent value.