Look. I didn't want to watch The Bachelor. I didn't watch the first 47 seasons. But sometimes you just need to get drunk and make fun of people.
If you've never watched the show, this is the season to join. The Bachelor, Ben Flajnik, is—allegedly—a Sonoma County wine maker. He's all sophisticated and stuff. And he's had his heart broken on The Bachelorette so this time, it's for real. With his cultured pedigree, flowing locks, and mastery of the phrase "I appreciate that," it's possible that this group of girls/women really is interested in Ben. I had a thing for Rider Strong too.
I'm telling you, free up your calendar and invite some friends over. Open some bottles of Sonoma wine that Ben didn't make. Feel your jaw drop as the ladies manipulate, cry, and skinny dip their way to a coveted rose. You'll leave feeling like the smartest, most grounded person on the planet.
California Cobb Salad
Let's be honest, any self-respecting woman could snap these most of these candidates in two like twigs. But that doesn't mean we want to watch them fannying about in their bikinis or, as Blakeley says, showing off their "blessed parts," while we wolf down a burger or two. Enter the meal-sized salad.
A traditional Cobb salad includes grilled chicken and blue cheese, but in California you can't pass your tanned finger over a menu without being greeted by salmon, so I've included it here. Similarly, Sonoma County makes a variety of great goat cheeses (think Redwood Hill Farm), which make a nice substitution for the less popular blue. This salad is really the perfect compromise. In other words, it's a plate of lettuce giant enough to hide the unhealthy tidbits like bacon and goat cheese. Serve it in big bowls so everyone can eat on the couch.
Mini Pina Colada Cupcakes
A key strategy in this contest seems to be one's tolerance for alcohol. We can confirm, if from nothing other than the passage of light in the scenic picnic spots and the look of sheer boredom on the face of the girls who were forced to stay at home, not eating, that a typical date lasts approximately 12 hours. I suppose this marathon enforces intense bonding, and, more importantly, ensures that by the time Ben and the lucky lady get to dessert everyone is so liquored up that they'll engage in a naughty pool time/make out session while the bored girls creepily watch from the bushes. Don Julio: A Producer's Best Friend.
To keep your guests' buzz going, make these Mini Pina Colada Cupcakes. A moist vanilla cake is studded with diced pineapple and flavored with rum and coconut. Each cupcake is topped with a coconut cream cheese frosting (that also contains rum, of course). This two-bite dessert really tastes like a sip of the tropical drink.
Oh, Ben. Are you truly a Sonoma wine maker? Your ABC bio page is painfully vague and Lindzi C. really made you look like a fool when she said she drives a truck and your sheepish grin totally said, "Heh. If by truck, you mean Prius." Did I mention your hair?
Well, whether you are or you aren't, you've dropped the name Sonoma so many times that I can't help but make it the first rule in our Bachelor Drinking Game. Bachelor drinking game? But of course. It's like watching Mad Men. For that show, I need a Manhattan and a plate of oysters—now I need a glass of wine the size of my head and an outlet for some immature behavior.
So, friends, fill up your glasses and drink every time:
1. Ben mentions Sonoma. For example, when he proclaims that the mini play produced by 7-year-olds and performed by a bunch of attractive women wearing old mascot uniforms is "something Sonoma won't forget for a while." Ben, please, don't be modest. That audience will be talking about you for years.
2. Someone complains about Blakeley. For example, calling her "toxic," "horsey," or "a cougar." Hopefully there will be more quips along the lines of my favorite, which came from the young Meryl Streep lookalike Jaclyn: "Blakeley is fakely."
3. One of the girls curses. Somebody needs their mouth washed out with soap!
4. Two people kiss. I won't give anything thing away. (It's everyone.)
5. Someone claims that they are "falling in love." Or "might be falling in love." Or "think they could possibly fall in love" with Ben. Hallmark, grab these loquacious lovsters before they slip away!
About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.