18 INNOCENT YEARS OF UNSUSPECTEDLY CONSUMING THE SAME WEIRDNESS, CAN GROW INTO POWERFUL, LIFELONG BRAINWASHER
WE are all cursed with weird, nonsensical foods that we’re obsessed with eating, for absolutely no other explanations but the mere fact that… we ate them growing up. They were often times the legacy of our great mothers who one day, out of desperation, whipped it out of a dirty kitchen sink and thought she shall repeat, for however long until the day we broke free for college. Beware, that on top of the obliviousness that such “foods” were not nearly considered legit one step out the front-doors, 18 innocent years of unsuspectedly consuming the same weirdness, can grow into a powerful, lifelong brainwasher. Mommy-to-be should take note.
I have, about a mile-long-list of such things. A list that should worth a new segment called, The Stuff I Eat When I’m By Myself (stay tuned). And rest assured, it ain’t pretty. But Jason, on the other hand, has but one, one single childhood nonsensical food-fetish that has long menaced his reasonable adult-life. And that is, a congealed tub of dead-cold… stiffened cadaver of something, that once in its previous life, was perhaps a barely sweet, borderline-edible plain oatmeal. Yes, laid bare… it’s gotta be cold. It’s gotta be stiff. It’s gotta… make no fucking sense. Yuuum?… well to him it certainly is. He could eat a whole tub of that shit…
So by my
manipulative caring nature, I thought, for the second instalment of the shortbread-marathon I’m preparing for Food52, that this presents a perfect opportunity to redirect his relationship with dead oatmeals, into a more… socially acceptable scenario. But first, speaking of shortbread cookie-doughs, I should point out how utterly amazed I was at how straightforward, fuss-free, versatile and most of all, failsafe they are – and for the same exact reasons, under-appreciated. No confusing science behind baking powder/soda, nor is there any factors left to chances, I mean there’s none but one rule, just one simple rule to ensure you that at the end of a short amount of time, something crumbly and exceedingly buttery shall parade triumphantly out of your oven. The rule being, a stern ratio between 2 parts solid fat (often butter) and 3 parts dry ingredients (could be a combination of various flours), by weight. READ MORE
(IT WOULDN’T KILL) ME TO SWAP 1/2 OF THE CHOCOLATE WITH PEANUT BUTTER. SO INSTEAD, IT KILLED THE BROWNIES
HERE’S the thing. I am not particularly built for baking.
I know this sounds like false modesty… unappetisingly pretentious, especially after a consistent offering of bakery recipes in the past 2.5 years, ranging from simpler things like an imploding honey custard cake or blueberry muffin-french toasts, to more elaborate things like a gateau a la sour cream or a laminated Nutella morning bun. Sorry if I forgot to mention my relentless pursuit of everything-biscuits, and right, you’re absolutely right, this deep-fried apple/persimmon pies, despite of myself, were eeeeeeh-pic~~
Uh-hem, ok now seriously though, truth aside (….), that when it comes to baking, I struggle with a high precipitation of unnatural disasters with only a slight chance of prevalence. Not to mention that either ways, the day will only end sadly in tears, or, happily in fat thighs. Baking, is a no-win situation.
But let’s just say, we don’t have problems with fat thighs. Just saying… then why the struggle? Well… I was born, with a medical birth defect, which disallows me to follow recipes… precisely. There. It’s a chemical imbalance in my brain creating an illusion that makes me believe I am, at the very least, marginally smarter than a cookie-dough. Turns out… I am not. No one is. But this condition has grown resistant even to such keen awareness, to a point that… I can’t even follow my own recipes! At this very moment as we speak, a batch of brownie lies mutilated on a white sheet of parchment, recipe of which was tested, then tested, and thus theoretically foolproofed for people like myself, who’s really good at fucking up a recipe… yet I still did. Would it have killed me to swap 1/2 of the chocolate with peanut butter? No, no it wouldn’t at all. So instead, it killed the brownies. Certainly not the only dead thing here… A runny banana bread batter – not a pie-filling makes. Ricotta pastry cream – yikes.
I’m bringing this up at a very carefully timed juncture, a serene and orderly period right before the tsunami of holiday-pastry-season hits, so I have enough chance to reflect and ponder on my illness. Who am I but a good-hearted amateur baker – guided by presumed logics, set out to make the recipe-world more interesting, if not tastier – only to be haunted by unintended consequences. A walking cautionary tale marked with a bloody scarlet A-for-effort, and the stain of broken whipped cream. But if to tackle this illness fundamentally, means to obey a recipe unquestionably, then what is my trickling value in recipe-blogosphere without adding personal inputs?
LONG, LIKE WAIST-DEEP
GANDALF GONE WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE…
LATELY, I’ve been running into the same remark that brings attention to something I would not have otherwise noticed. Not on my naturally rustic… understated beauty, nor my deeply reflective overstated fashion. But, people have been saying to me that they didn’t realize – shit, even I didn’t realize – that my hair has grown, ungovernably… looooong. Yes, yes they are loooong. Not prince-bait-golden-Rapenzul long, or mysterious-darkness-of-the-night-Pantene-commercial long, but like, waist-deep-Gandalf-gone-Where-The-Wild-Things-Are long. Staring at my almost-fire-hazardous self in the mirror, I have come to the unlikely yet true explanation for such disregard …
Simply, I don’t have time for hair-salon.
Madness! What have I – a mid-30 unemployed female who doesn’t believe in happiness before 1 PM because that’s evidently sleep-deprived illusions – any excuses to look like a historical ruin? Upon the horrid awakening, I was forced into re-examining, what exactly, consumed my otherwise abundant span of the day. Then, I realized they are all utterly meaningless, yet indispensable, segments of tasks.
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE, HARDLY ANY NEWS.
BUT A PROMINENTLY SALTY AND SWEET BUTTERCREAM, REALLY GETS ME EXCITED
THERE are good, convenient reasons why, I’ve never made cupcakes before.
There are things best left unknown, things that, let’s just say, won’t help you enjoy your favourite foods by knowing. Like the day I peed myself a little when I first poured in all that heavy cream, running as thick as blood, into making my most beloved Hokkaido “milk” toast two years ago. Oh mommy, it wasn’t milk… it wasn’t milk… And the same reasons that my fingers and soul trembled when, for the first time, I soiled my naive perception of a brioche dough with a rudely awakening amount of reality-butter. That stormy night, the brioche was soft, but innocence was dead… And then so many times after that, the freedom for ice cream was terrorized… and the guiltless-ness of salads wilted away… Let’s not even go there, where now every time when I gaze upon the starry sheen of a melty crispy and chewy chocolate chips cookie, the rim of fat around my waist reverberates in echo of the truth behind its sublimity… As a cook, I thought I wanted the truth.
I couldn’t handle the truth.