Monday, April 18

Book Review: 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes and 100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates

You feel sooo good. You've tasted more wines then you thought possible and have...finally...found one you like. In fact, you really like this one. You are not a can sip wine like all those wine wizards and metropolitan types. You are, in fact, quite giddy with the if you have overcome a rite of adulthood passage. You have reached the next plateau...

Now what?

Well, that depends on you, of course. Are you content with that glass of Chardonnay, Merlot or Sauvignon, your stomach growling?
Deciding the cuisine and then the accompanying libation is quite normal and some would declare it the correct process. However, after discovering a new favorite wine, perhaps the opposite approach is more appropriate. Choose foods that complement your newly discovered favorite adult beverage.

Counter intuitive? Perhaps.

Effective? Absolutely.
Enter stage right...Jill Silverman Hough, author of 100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates (2010) and the newly released 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes. Hough is a culinary instructor, food writer and recipe developer out of Napa, California. Besides the first two installments in the (hopefully) continuing series, Hough also developed recipes for NY Times best seller, "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)" and regularly contributes to Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking and Napa Sonoma magazines, to name a few.

Written in a conversational tone, the cookbooks take you into the world of 12 commonly found wines, six white and six red. Hough gives tips on the varietals, culture and nuances while sharing personal notes including how she arrived at the place in her life to write these cookbooks. Each section announces the varietal, a brief history and its characteristics. Then she launches into numerous recipes and the reason each will pair well with that particular wine.

Like Pinot Noir? Try warm duck and raspberry salad. Are you in the mood for a lush German Gewurztraminer? Pair it with sticky Asian barbecued baby back ribs. Whichever of these 12 wines you enjoy, Hough has paired it well by flavor, characteristics and spices, using more commonly found ingredients.

As much as I would like to have seen Amarone, Chianti and Chablis listed, I am reasonable enough to realize that not every wine could be covered...yet.

Bottom Line: "100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates" and "100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes," take the mystery and the snob factor out of wine and fine cuisine pairing and places the joy squarely, without ceremony, into the hands of wine and food lovers with or without professional training.

Find more information on Hough at:, Twitter-@JillSHough, FaceBook-Jill S Hough FB

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.


Jill Silverman Hough said...

Thank you for spending your valuable time and attention on me and my books, Elizabeth! It was a pleasure talking to you! Cheers to you!

Elizabeth J. Musgrave said...

It was my pleasure. Your books give hope to those who before have felt inadequate to pair wine and food and can now go bravely into the wine shop, restaurant, and parties...
Looking forward to your next projects.

Best wishes,