Love your mother

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Most of us probably make vinegar in the fridge accidentally, just by leaving opened wine until it’s undrinkable. Lately, though, I’ve been making vinegar on purpose, thanks to some slimy, cloudy purple-magenta goo with which a friend of mine gifted me. She got it from a cookbook author, who got it from (I think—the story gets as murky as the goo here) an ancient French housewife. Or something. Anyway, you throw the mother of vinegar (that’s the goo) into a crock with equal parts red wine and water, and then you just let it sit, dumping in more red wine as you fail to finish bottles thereof. In mere weeks, you have a crock of limpid red wine vinegar, clear and sparkling and quite tart, but not as harsh as the store-bought article—plus quite a lot of mother of vinegar. (Want some? Call me.) It’s surprisingly delicious, and now I have a use for all those unfinished bottles of wine.