It started Friday evening. We woke to the thunderous sound of the little tin roof being pelted; a stormy downpour after a sunny break in a fast-coming Autumn. I lay awake and let my mind wander to that earliest memory I have whenever it rains: I'm three years old and at the lake with my babysitter. Thunder and lightening rouses me from my bed and like the curious cat, I stealth my way out to the front porch where I find my babysitter's father sitting in the dark, his image lit briefly with each bolt of lightning. At first I'm afraid, not of the storm, but of being shooed away, back to bed. Instead his raspy voice beckons me over. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" And I'm allowed to climb up next to him and watch the storm move across the lake. It's perhaps the first time I realize that the world is a large and exciting place where I am just a speck of a girl.
Eventually, as I listened to the staccato tune of the tin roof, I came to thinking about what we'd eat the next day. At the cottage I prefer the outdoor fire. the hot coals serve for a kettle of beans, or pot roast. A spatchcocked chicken grilled over splattering flares of dripping fat takes on a smoky quality. But with the rain...
We resorted to the indoor wood stove, which brings a whole new meaning to slow food. Some wild rice in the cast iron pan for a couple of hours in the morning was turned into stuffing for a dinner of red peppers that simmered a mere four hours over the gentle heat. For lunch it was fried puff pastry smeared with caramelized onions and topped with market tomatoes and brie.
And of course there was wine to help while away the rain and enliven the card play.
A Chardonnay suited to the day. It shocks the palate into a tropical forest with woodsy bravado. Banana and coconut take on a mellowed lemony fruit and a spicy, burnt sugar had settled in. Creamy on the tongue and kind of sweet and buttery on the finish, it's not the most balanced and subtle of wines, but on that rainy day last weekend I didn't mind all that much.