Cheese & Peanut Butter Crackers with Wine

I'm a lover, not a fighter.  Nowhere was this more evident than in my childhood.  I can recall coming home from school and crying to my mother about how mean kids could be.  I was extremely sensitive and would get my feelings hurt over just about anything.  To make matters worse, I had gaped teeth and was teased about it constantly.  I just wanted to be liked and fit in.  I had always found the space between my front teeth to be something that made me unique and a source of fun since I would shoot water through it.  Suddenly, I went from being a cute little girl to an awkward pre-teen.  I tried to hide my gap by purposely smiling with my mouth closed or holding my lips over my front teeth.  Fortunately, this didn't stop boys from liking me, but it did take a toll on my self-confidence.  After being called "gapy" for what seemed to be the millionth time by a boy at school one day, I begged my mother for braces.  I was only 10 and I knew she didn't have the money, but I wanted to stop the pain.  My mother suddenly opened up about her own experiences of being teased in school and said these famous words, "Honey, sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you."  Words did hurt, but I learned to look at the situation differently.  I developed a wall of steel and no matter what anyone said to me, I tried to only believe what I thought was the truth.  It was the beginning of a defensive mechanism, as well as streak of stubbornness, choosing to believe only what I wanted to believe about myself.  Luckily, a few years later my grandmother financed braces for me and I was able to put that skeleton in the closet.  As I entered a new high school in a new city, no one knew that I ever had gaped teeth.  Although that didn't stop kids from finding something to tease me about!  Sometimes I wonder if I still had gaped teeth, would I shoot wine through the center of them? Hopefully not, since it wasn't very lady-like and would be a waste of my precious vino.

Cheese and peanut butter crackers remind me very much of my mother.  On a recent trip to Canada, I brought along a few packages for her to munch on.  She's always loved the snack and it's one of the reasons I chose to pair it with wine.  As I watched her munch on the crackers, I decided to show her how they too can work with wine.  As soon as we arrived in Vancouver, I searched for a local wine shop.  Low and behold they had exactly what I was looking for, the 2008 Okanogan Estate and Vineyards Gewurztraminer (geh-VURTZ-tra-MEEN-er) from Washington state.  The wine is off-dry (slightly sweet) with characteristic notes of honeysuckle, lychee and orange blossoms.  I tell my mom to stick her nose in the glass and see if she can pick any of these scents out.  She likes to garden so she immediately smells the orange blossom.  Then, I tell her to take a bite of the food, followed by a sip of the wine.  I want her to notice how the saltiness of the cracker and peanut butter is contrasted beautifully by the sugar in the wine.  The honey, peaches, apricot and lime flavors also help to off-set the saltiness of the food.  The honey-like texture of the wine is mirrored by the creaminess of the snack.  Finally, the wine has an incredibly clean finish that helps to wash all the flavors off the tongue.  My mom was impressed by how much she likes the pairing.  Although, I figured she would since it's one of her favorite snacks and the wine is extremely easy to drink.  I hope you'll enjoy it as well!  Cheers!