Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm Such a Baker

The other night I tried out this recipe for Tahini Butter Cookies because, well, I have a lot of tahini around that I should probably use up. I'm sure the stuff lasts for a long time in the fridge, but I really like tahini so I keep trying to find different uses for it. So far I have recipes for salad dressing, humus, a great sauce for noodles, and now cookies. I screwed around with the recipe some, added a little brown sugar (boy that dough was bitter) and then a pinch of salt to sort of brighten things up. They came out fine, but now they just taste like peanut butter cookies (which I LOVE, don't get me wrong) and I want more of the tahini flavor to come out. So I guess I need to make them with more tahini and maybe try honey next time instead of brown sugar. I don't know, I'm rambling. And have you ever seen the word "tahini" written so many times in one paragraph???

So, I made the cookies, and as I was measuring out the ingredients I noticed that I'm almost out of baking powder. Which is weird because I RARELY use the stuff. So I stood there trying to remember the last time I bought baking powder. I noticed that the can is from BiLo, which is a grocery store in North Carolina, and I left there over 4 YEARS ago. So I flipped the can over and saw it. The expiration date. 2003. No wonder those suckers came out a little flat. Back in 2001 or so wasn't the last time I bought baking powder. It was the only time I ever bought baking powder in my life.

Is anyone else getting "Julie & Julia" burnout already? I sure am. There had to be 4 articles in the New York Times this weekend about that movie, about marriage and Julia Child, about food shows and how much they've changed over the years. Then Micheal Pollan (who wrote the article about food shows) was on NPR tonight saying pretty much what his article said. Then there's the article in Entertainment Weekly about Meryl Streep, and the interviews with the actors on YouTube, and that's it, I've officially hit my saturation point. I'm not even going to link to all of the stuff, you've probably seen it. This movie had better be freaking awesome after all of the build up it's getting. And it doesn't even open until Friday.

I have to admit that for all of my bitching and moaning, the Micheal Pollan article really is interesting. Okay, okay, here's the link to that one. That's all you're getting. Thoughts to ponder:
#1 Cake mixes and other mixes didn't do well at first in the early 1950s, in fact the sales were terrible until the companies making them figured out that housewives had to feel that they were doing something in order to bake a cake. So they took out the dehydrated eggs so that women could crack open an egg or two and feel that they had made an effort. It's all about the psychology.
#2 The Food Network is not about cooking. It's about watching cooking. (FOOD PORN! and by the way that article is excellent- click that link!) Otherwise the ads they show would be for cooking gadgets and ovens and such. Instead they are from restaurants and pre-packaged frozen meals. If you stopped watching the channel you'd have time to cook. Who wants to have viewers cooking when they could be watching?
#3 "Cooking from scratch" isn't a label you can even research anymore because no one does it the way our great-grandmothers did. We don't kill chickens, mill flour, or make french fries. We open a can of soup....
#4 My favorite quote from this article is from Mario Batali about the Food Network: “Look, it’s TV! Everyone has to fall into a niche. I’m the Italian guy. Emeril’s the exuberant New Orleans guy with the big eyebrows who yells a lot. Bobby’s the grilling guy. Rachael Ray is the cheerleader-type girl who makes things at home the way a regular person would. Giada’s the beautiful girl with the nice rack who does simple Italian food. As silly as the whole Food Network is, it gives us all a soapbox to talk about the things we care about.”

So yeah, you go think about all of that, and I'm going to try to remember to restock my pantry with things like baking powder. Now I wonder how long those plastic containers of dried parsley and Lawry's Seasoned Salt have been around. This could turn into a project.

No comments: