Monday, August 03, 2009

Bedtime Ramblings

One of the things that absolutely delights me is food daydreaming (note my “about me” column to the right). I love reading food blogs, poring over recipes, getting lost in the cheese aisle of the grocery store, planning menus. When I was a child, we used to receive the Wall Street Journal, and I can remember being only 8 or 9 and stealing the Weekend Journal that came on Fridays and devouring the wine reviews. When I started drinking wine, I was surprised to find that it reminds me of my childhood…memories slipping around between high notes and fruity tones and the lingering aftertaste of the wooden barrels. It’s like sucking on Lincoln Logs and smelling wildflowers…

Sometimes the urge to eat something takes over all my rational senses. I can only imagine what pregnancy cravings must be like, because periodically, I too have a desperate urge to eat one thing, an urge that impels me towards said food item, regardless of the difficulty, the hour or the contents of my cupboards. Tonight, while reading over some different recipes for tiramisu, I was so struck by the need to have that flavor in my mouth, THIS VERY SECOND!, that I actually drained some yogurt to make fake mascarpone, whipped together a mocha/rum sauce (the last roommates left several bottles of dubious rum lying around in the freezer)…and poured it over…gasp…a slice of stale bread. This is hands-down kitchen blasphemy. It tasted pretty much like one would expect a seriously debilitated recipe to taste: vaguely like the original, yet horribly, horribly wanting.

I’m planning some dinners and tiramisu just sounded like something fun for an Italian night. But probably better done with ladyfingers and some semblance of real cheese next time. On the menu? Tomorrow, an attempt at a blue-cheese risotto with a side of shrimps swimming in vodka sauce. I’m thinking maybe dessert should be simpler. It’s winter here, so the fresh fruits I normally love are not so abundant and very obviously imported. Perhaps I’ll try to make a banana pudding with coconut biscoitos instead of vanilla wafers. The real question is whether I’ll chicken out and use a pudding mix…or make a glorious mess and my own custard.

I’m a horribly prideful purist in the kitchen. This is a holdover from my childhood as well, where I forbid my siblings to make our forts in the woods out of lumber. It wasn’t authentic. I cringe every time I buy bread at the store, knowing that had I been just a bit more proactive, there would already be a fresh loaf rising at home, ready to be brought steaming out of the oven to impress the guests. Or just intoxicate the neighbors at 5 am, my usual breadbaking hour. Mixes are pretty much a non-issue. I use them only under duress. But tomorrow may count as duress, since I’m under a self-imposed timeframe to get some serious writing packaged up and presented to the world. Maybe just this once…

No comments: