A Feline Foundling and Steeped in Red


Two years ago we found a little stranger on our doorstep, attracted by the tantalizing smell of barbecued chicken, and my (universally understood) call to the food bowl: “Miez, Miez, Miez (= kitty, kitty, kitty)!” The little Maine Coon was skin and bones under her pretty fur, and ate ravenously what we gave her. She must have been lost for quite a while.

A call to the animal hospital led to a tearful reunion of kitty and her owners. They told us she had vanished three months ago, and they had given up all hope of seeing her again. A token of their gratitude were two large bottles of wine, one white, one red.

Since I am the only occasional imbiber in this household – Richard getting headaches from alcohol – I had to figure out what to do with the 2-liter bottles of vin ordinaire. Once open, the contents had to be consumed – or else turn to vinegar.

The white finally ended in the glasses of the non-discriminating younger members of my family. The red started collecting dust in the basement. Finally I found a recipe for “Beef Goulash in Barolo”, a clipping from a German foodie magazine. Being pretty sure that any other dry red would do as well, half of the bottle found its way into this delicious, spicy stew.

But what about the other half? Not another stew, not noble enough for Coq au Vin, so it had to be pastry. Red Velvet Cake was an obvious choice, but too much fuss, I wanted something simpler. And I found it, rich and spicy enough to mellow the dryness of the wine, moist and scrumptious: Red Wine Cake.

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