The Spaghetti Western. A film genre I never appreciated growing up. On his days off, FOB (father of blogger) loved to watch these movies while I sulked, wishing the one television in our house was playing Diff’rent Strokes. I just didn’t see the appeal of Clint Eastwood glaring into the eyes of a scruffy antagonist on a dull, dry landscape before the inevitable shootout ensued. However, years later, while studying abroad in Italy, I learned about and came to appreciate the Spaghetti Western, named so because these westerns were often filmed in Italy by Italians.
On a recent trip visiting IOB (in-laws of blogger) I discovered a different kind of Spaghetti Western, one that I appreciated right away.
It was a cold evening in Kentucky and IOB and I convinced HOB (husband of blogger) to make a pot of his famous chili, that tasty comfort food synonymous with The West. I got to work on the condiments while HOB slaved away at the stovetop. He makes a standard, but delicious, chili: meat, tomatoes, green chilies, garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, a little beer, beef broth, and voila. The condiments were also pretty typical: cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado and Fritos (don’t ask why, it’s just good). To drink, I poured myself the last of our bottle of Ponte Sangiovese, that wonderful Italian red synonymous with Italian food. I did not expect the wine to be a good paring with chili, really, I just didn’t want to waste good wine. That’s the funny thing about wine; it never ceases to amaze you and at the strangest possible moments, you could get the surprise of a lifetime. The chili was spicy and complex and after a bite, I took a sip of my wine only to find the fruit practically leaping on my tongue. Like a bullet out of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, I could immediately taste cherry and plum and a bit of hickory toward the end. Delicious! In my opinion, a good wine will always make food taste better, but in this case, the food made the wine taste better. I ate with gusto that night and pitied HOB and IOB with their measly glasses of beer.
Since then, I’ve made chili again and paired it with other Italian reds, such as a bottle of Ponte Barbera, and I’d advise anyone to do the same…especially those who think they don’t like Spaghetti Westerns.
By Erica Martinez