Thursday, July 1, 2010

dear friend, these ugly cookies represent my love for you.

As you may or may not know, I have been without kitchen for the past four months.

I've never been particularly passionate about cooking; just in odd spurts of crackpot entrepreneurship. i.e., making jam, screen printing cakes, the famed guitar cake of christopher's 27th birthday. Not having a kitchen has really degraded my respect for the way ingredients' basic chemistries work to enhance or destruct each other. I have been storming in to friends' kitchens with foolish bravado, immolating really nice produce, and it absolutely must stop. Take for instance the mess of a pie I tried baking a few weeks ago.

I'm a little arrogant when it comes to my baking skills; wholly ill-founded on my reputation on the Green side of the family for making the best lemon squares. I had this recipe committed to memory by age twelve, and thought I was the shit. Anyway, I wanted to bake a pie that made use of seasonal fruit (strawberries) without being overly saccharine. This is how my logic progressed:

strawberries + chocolate = traditional combo, but boringly sweet
strawberries + lemon = tart deliciousness like strawberry lemonade
strawberries + lemon + chocolate = SUCCESS

I was worried about the citrus not agreeing with the chocolate, as well as the juiciness of cooked strawberries creating a watery consistency. Two concerns that inevitably came true after three hours of essentially boiling the pie in its own guts at 375, with a stream of strawberry run off that was never going to set even though I used like 5 eggs. The end result was a primordial sludge that would only be a fit prop for a horror movie. (Sorry Gabe)

There were also the jam disasters '09-'10.
- tomato jam that set like a super ball
- garlic jam that looked like bile stew
- maduros jam that ruined the stock pot
- tomatillo jam which also looked like bile but tasted like a forest fire

I think I need to take a step back and work on perfecting classic, fail-proof basics in cooking; like making the perfectly constructed sandwich. A sandwich where each element is texturally harmonious with every other element, and a sandwich whose girth does not discriminate against the small-mouthed (this is a personal hardship with sandwiches. no lewd jokes please). Honestly, what's the point of calling a sandwich a sandwich if you can't eat it without utensils? Or the insides splooge out the side from overdressing with pesto-aoli-bullshit? Or you need to eat the sandwich IMMEDIATELY lest the bread turn in to a spongey mayo tampon (I'm sorry if I've effectively ruined soggy sandwiches for you with that image but they are sadwiches!). I want to make a sandwich that gets better when you leave it sit for a few hours, that has the structural stability of a pyramid, and the unpretentious, comfort and quality of a grilled cheese sandwich.

I think the Rza Burger comes close:

"A RZA burger is a veggie patty with a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, pickles and all that, smashed between two delicious waffles. Spread mustard and mayo on it with a little butter and put that shit together. Trust me, son, that shit needs to be in stores."

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