21
Dec 04

how inadvertent experiment powers culinary science

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 284 views

how inadvertent experiment powers culinary science
(a “proven by science” co-production obv)

ok so the way we learn the history of science or the fine details of cookery it’s always presented like clever ppl sat and theorised, then worked out a way to PROVE the theory —> i have decided this is nonsense however, and that the sequence is instead this:

assumption i: cookery is the mother of all science obv
assumption ii: the primary driving force in cookery is the EXACT REPRODUCTION of things you have tasted and liked before
however: it is a party and everyone arrives in 20 mins and you are just jugglin the dishes and you GET SOMETHING SLIGHTLY WRONG and it is TOO LATE TOO LATE to go back and get it right
result: either CATASTROPHE! or AMAZING NEW TASTE SENSATION!

proof i: gingerbread
ok i never really got this WRONG yet but my two (by choice) to-taste variants totally fuck w.the volume and cookin time viz i use tate&lyle golden syrup instead of treacle PLUS chopped up ginger (from sainsbury ginger in syrup) instead of raisins… well maybe when you use raisins they distribute themselves equally down through the dough (which is totally liquid), but the ginger bits fall ALL THE WAY to the bottom, hence form an insulating sedimentary layer at the base… anyway this time it bubbled up way over the sides and ran not only down into the base of the oven but OUT THROUGH THE DOOR (i think i may have overwhisked after i added the baking soda): conclusion next year i wd like to get the cake i got this time w/o the liquid mix seething out onto the floor (= use slightly less of all ingredients = recipe for chemico-culinary non-happening)

proof ii: cheesy blobs
the basic recipe i am working from here is rubbishly non-cheesy, so i spent the first four times varying the type(s) of cheese and doubling the amount of cheese: this led two years ago to a THERMONUCLEAR CHEESE MELTDOWN event, which wz v.tastable but a bit like charred alien’s vomit. Anyway I cranked back the amount of cheese (with some regret) and this time upped the amount of water (bcz it is meant to be a SOFT dough but w. one tablespoon of hot water is just NOT). This time i got a kind of glue w/o any firmness at all. The time pressure of guests soon to arrive (if not ALREADY ARRIVED hem hem) means you can’t redo the dough SO onwards fingers x-ed. Well at these level the baking of the blobs in fact involves an element of FRIED CHEESE ACTION: which worked perfectly on the metal baking tray (cheese puffs on a caramelised cheese base numnum) but poorly in the ceramic dish, where the brushed-egg-yolk for shininess turned into a kind of omelette surround and the blobs stayed doughy and w/o definition). Panic solution: scrape tops off blobs leaving bases stuck in omelette surround. Hide ceramic dish at bottom of sink full of water. Flash-bake tops of blobs on the baking tray which just successfully delivered the first batch of blobs. Result: “success”, though these “blobs” are in truth an array of random shapes

counterexample i: boil-in-bag book

guest arrival imminent (see above), exchange dirty towels in bathroom for clean ones, thrust dirty towels hurriedly into washing machine, fail to notice COLLECTED GHOST STORIES OF M.R. JAMES – which wz reading in bath earlier in day – tangled up in towel: result FAT SOGGY AND INEDIBLE RIPPED PULP de COLLECTED GHOST STORIES OF M.R. JAMES

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