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Cooking with wine is useful in so many ways. Not only does it add flavor and style to any recipe, it also quenches the chef's thirst. A professional chef working in a restaurant might use the amount of wine required, cork the rest, and put it away for later use. The amateur chef working from his or her own kitchen might just guzzle down whatever's left in the bottle. A quarter cup of wine in the stock, the rest of the wine down the throat.
Whether you're a professional chef or an amateur starring in your own kitchen, it's a good idea to keep all of the basic necessities of cooking on hand. Not only should you have the kitchen staples necessary to create stocks, soups, broths, and main meals, you should also keep a couple bottles of Italian wine around. Wine school students keep a variety of bottles on hand in order to quickly pair them up with certain foods.
Many recipes specify wine as one of the key ingredients, with directions to substitute juice if desired. Nothing brings out a richer flavor than wine, so it's best to use what the recipe calls for whenever possible. Many liquor stores sell tiny bottles of sample wine that you could use to keep in your cupboard as cooking staples. Otherwise, once you open a bottle of wine, it's going to be your responsibility to either drink it or ensure that it doesn't go flat.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|