Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chocolate Cake, Oui

I have made this delightful cake for a friend's birthday.

I shouted for joy when the egg whites formed stiff peaks.

I oohed and ahhed as the chocolate mixed with the yolks and sugar.

I at the crunchy parts of the crust that fell off.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


In honor of the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, I made French bread. Baguettes, which are long loaves, cannot be baked in a regular oven. Batards are a shorter, rounder loaves made of the same ingredients.

I consulted Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II, for the recipe. It was seven pages. Four simple ingredients--unbleached flour, salt, yeast and water--took seven pages of masterful cooking technique (science really) to accomplish. The process takes a minimum of eight hours. Most of that is sitting and waiting for the yeast to act in the flour.

When all was said and done, I had six loaves. I was told they were tasty, but there were tons of problems. The bread didn't rise in the oven. I could tell because the slits I cut in the top just before baking were about the same size afterward. The bread had a slightly sour taste, indicating the yeast did not have enough time, or too much time, to work. The outside of the bread was perfect and crusty. The inside did not have enough holes.

While I walked the Camino de Santiago, I passed a woman delivering bread from the back of her car, just west of Ponferrada. I do not remember her face, but I remember almost 100 loaves, unwrapped, jutting from baskets.

I have a newfound and tremendous amount of respect for that woman.

Bon Appetit.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Side Effect of Eating Naturally

So I had some bad weeks, vanquished by Papa John's pizza and the Christmas chocolates my mom sent out in little dishes around the apartment. But! I have returned to eating naturally and today, as I was packing up my things up after school around 3:45, I thought,

"I could sure use some water."

Water? Three months ago at this time I would have been scarfing down granola bars or snatching at the dregs of the principal's free candy bowl, draining two diet cokes and stopping off for chocolate on the way home. Okay, so I still sometimes stop off for chocolate on the way home.

But! Studies indicate we often eat when we're just thirsty. The amazing thing for me today was that I did not have a sensation of thirst in my palate, but experienced a physical need for water. To me, this is evidence that when we stop giving our body the smoke and mirrors of processed, artificial food, it is better able to regulate and communicate what it actually needs.

I read once, somewhere, that there was no link between what we crave and what substances our body is deficient in. I disagree.