Brewing Ideas

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The problem with me is that once I set out to achieve something, my mind becomes focused on that one task. This usually chimes true when it comes to cooking something. I do not regard myself as a sophisticated food connoisseur. However I do become obsessed with my secret ponderings of which flavors work together. Another perspective I become obsessive about is what food fits with what?

An example would be today. For the past week or so, I have been reading “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. This book takes me back to high school when my friend Terra (of Terra Recycled) would have debates on the quality of the book. I quite enjoyed the book – it was a novel that brought up the story of Cain and Abel again in a different way. Terra thought it was terrible.

Anyway, I digress. When I was reading the novel, I kept wondering what sorts of food they served back in the day. They would most likely serve dishes that we would today call “comfort food”. An idea of a dish started to come to me – a rustic sort of meat pie, the crust being biscuits – delicious, flaky, buttery biscuits. If I were a character on East of Eden (or any of Steinbeck’s books, really), I would slaughter a cow that has been consistently fed with healthy green grass. Actually, I would hire someone to kill the bovine creature because I probably would not be able to bring myself to do it. After it has been hacked to pieces (for lack of a better phrase), I would marinate the pieces with garlic and oil for several hours. Meanwhile, I would make the biscuit using my chickens’ eggs, flour from the wheat grown within my crops, milk from the cow we slaughtered (or another one), and butter, freshly churned by me. I would also gather vegetables from my farm such as carrots, green peas, onions, celery, and potatoes. I would also have to add in some herbs like chives and thyme. Oh I can practically smell this concoction baking in my rustic dutch oven! It smells heavenly. I can hear the juices bubbling and sizzling, some of it escaping over the oven. I can see the dough rising and thick, big patches of the biscuit spreading over the top – puffed and golden.

Once I started drifting away on the 1 train going into Manhattan, I can feel my mouth watering and my stomach growling for something more than the measly honey nut cheerios I had in the morning. I had to force myself to return my attention to the book and engross myself in the actual plot of the novel.

I can only hope the pioneers from those times would educate me on the authenticity of the dish. One can dream.

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