Jack Deatherage, Jr.

Or what I think of as "rotted fruit juice containing alcohol." I canít help but wonder about the fans of wine. I vividly recall my first and only taste of champagne. "Rotten grapes" were the words that popped into my head as the liquid squirted through my lips into a kitchen sink. I thought of the movies where a man would drink champagne from a womanís slipper, so enthralled by her beauty was he. He drank from her slipper to improve the taste of the "rotted" grape!

Even when my daily goal was to become drunk, wine was seldom my agent of choice. Wine made me more foolish than normal and produced a throbbing headache the next day. It also left my stomach so disordered as to make eating unpleasant, a condition that would have caused me to quit drinking if beer hadnít been available!

I havenít been drunk since Jack III was born. I havenít drunk a beer in years and only recently thought to try wine because I might have changed my mind about its taste. Jerry Brandon, owner of "the green store," suggested a wine he thought drinkable.

I bought a bottle, uncorked it, sniffed and sipped the liquid. It was horrible. I used it to de-glaze my frying pans. To my surprise it wasnít bad once it had been cooked into a thick sauce! I was on to something and used the undrinkable stuff in my sauces and marinades. But I still hoped to find some bottle that was drinkable. Just a couple of ounces before a meal to aid the digestion.

I went through enough brands and types to get a working knowledge of wine. If the bottle is corked, soak a chicken in the wine or use it to flavor sauces. If the bottle has a screw cap, itís probably fit to drink. And less expensive too. What a deal!

A roasting chicken (giblets removed), 2 cups of Chardonnay (vineyard doesnít matter as long as the bottle was corked), a chopped clove or 2 of garlic, a teaspoon or so of marjoram, salt and pepper to taste, 3 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces, 2 medium onions- peeled and cut in half, and about 12 ounces of sliced button mushrooms.

Place the chicken in a bowl that fits it snugly. Mix the wine, garlic and marjoram and pour over the bird making sure it gets into the cavity. Let the bird soak for a couple of hours turning it over a few times. After removing from the wine, salt and pepper the bird and place it in a roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Add the celery and mushrooms to the wine mix and let soak until the oven is ready, about 15 minutes. Remove the shrooms and celery from the wine and stuff them in the bird. Add the onions and any extra shrooms and celery to the wine while the bird is roasted under cover for 1 hour. Place the extra shrooms, celery and onions in the pan at the end of the hour. Cover again and roast about another hour. Remove cover and turn the heat up to 400 F. Let the bird brown for about 15 minutes.

Remove the bird and veggies from the pan and pour off any liquid to make a sauce or gravy. Carve or tear the beast as you like when it has cooled enough to handle. Now would be the time to unscrew the cap from a bottle of good drinkable wine.

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