Day 329 - How Cooking Can Make You Smarter.
Well, hello. It's the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house nothing was stirring not even a spouse. That is to say, I decided not to cook this year on Thanksgiving and I outsourced our Thanksgiving dinner to a local grocery store. As I type and admit this, the words "thanksgiving" and "outsourced" sound sad.
However, by not having to prepare for tomorrow's feast, I have free time to focus on other things, including what to bring to a Friendsgiving celebration tonight. I went through my recipes and cookbooks. I considered bringing my grandmother's Cracker Dip recipe which consists of 2 lbs of cream cheese, 1 lb of sour cream, 2 packages of Carl's Buddig Beef and a small white onion. It's disgustingly divine. Many a thanksgiving I have found myself huddled over the mammoth size bowl of dip, shoveling crackers into my mouth wondering if I could just skip the turkey. As I was daydreaming about the Cracker Dip, I remember dessert was requested for Friendsgiving. The Cracker Dip will have to wait.
Next, I considered all the classics such as pumpkin pie, a pumpkin roll or turkey cupcakes. None of them seemed right. Popping open the file cabinet in my brain, I found a recipe in which I haven't a reason, patience or guts to attempt, Pate de Fruits. Pate de Fruits are sweet, little, fruit gummies bursting with flavor. They are one of my favorite things on this planet. Today, I made Cranberry Pear Pate de Fruits and after 3 hours in the kitchen, I can say I am smarter for cooking up these little gems.
First, there was locating a recipe. After finding the one that seemed delicious, I realized I purchased the wrong pectin. Apparently, there are quite a few different kinds of pectin for the specific type of fruit used. There are also different cooking times all based on how a polymer (pectin) interacts with the sugar in the fruit. It all boiled down to chemistry. As I worked my way through combining the two recipes, I made a giant mess. Bowls were everywhere, there was fruit puree on the floor and the dishwasher was overflowing but I was learning. Cooking was making me smarter.
Today's project is to get cooking a create smarts. Pull out the recipe you have always wanted to try. You know the one that is stuffed in your cupboard, pinned on Pinterest or flagged in a cookbook. Take the time to explore and learn. Notice how the synapses in your brain feel like they are awake, alive and on fire.
Until tomorrow creative cooks.