Guess what I made?
I was going to expound at great length on my snarky comments about modern trends in the design of meta-cookery. But I’m not feeling much like writing today, so you’ll have to make do with my crib notes and a few photos. (See the end of the post for photos.)
Ever noticed how artisanal brownies taste just the same as packet brownies, but at 10x the cost and effort?
How slow cooking is easy when you have chronic pain?
How medjool dates, raw cacao powder, and buckwheat/brown rice flour are almost indistinguishable from the cheaper alternatives? (unless, of course, in the latter case, you’re gluten intolerant)
How it’s called “buckwheat flour”, because it’s not “buck wheat flour”? (In Australia, 1kg home brand flour is typically $1. You’ll never get buckwheat flour for $1, no matter how small the packet.)
How cocoa and cacao are almost the same, except perhaps for a vowel swap, a $8 surcharge, and the inclusion of buzzwords on the (tastefully matte) plastic packet? (But I wasn’t going to take the risk of skimping on chocolate – I do have some standards!) If I really wanted a genuinely different zing to my recipe, I could have added coca powder or hemp seeds instead!
How it’s only the rich who can afford the time to shop, cook, and eat raw/organic/whole foods/fresh/insert-buzzword-here?
How “fair trade” means “we pay the
slaves servants poverty-stricken third-world developing country workers employees partners just slightly more”?
I do have to wonder what the ultimate extreme of this quest for freshness, wholeness, goodness, and purity is… Let me take a stab at it, based on the recipe below:
Two or three hefty but not grotesque, organic, freshly unearthed sweet potatoes, unblemished, well-rounded, and perhaps slightly phallic.
23 3/4 locally-sourced moist, succulent, terribly expensive dates, plucked gently from the palm by the hands of virgins (well, at least young women [I hear the words are quite similar, at least in the Bible]) who maintain their perpetual purity with a determined, yet seemingly effortless hourly yoga routine.
3 children’s handfuls of almonds ground to a rough meal, through a traditional water-driven millstone process. Although I’m a fan of rawness, that doesn’t extend to the children not washing their hands. And a little bit of child labour is acceptable, isn’t it?
A fragment of a mug (spun on a wheel by your own hands) of unsullied, unbleached, unadulterated flour, definitely not based on wheat, gluten, rice, corn, or any other grain you’ve ever heard of. (No, you can’t use potato flour, that’s what the first ingredient is for.) Ensure the flour has never touched plastic during its lifecycle – plastic has so many nasty chemicals! Instead, let the flour absorb whatever it was shipped and stored next to in its paper or fabric bag.
10 inner elbows of hand-pulverised cacacececicicococucu powder, produced by artisans in so-casual-it’s-almost-non-existent employment in countries where minimum wage operates on a don’t ask, don’t tell basis (if you don’t ask for minimum wage, we won’t tell you you can’t have it). But we got someone to certify them organic and barely traceable anyway.
Two mouthfuls of fresh maple tree sap, sucked from the tree by bare (or is that bear?) lips in below-freezing conditions.
A handful of Dead Sea salt, dried by the winds, waves, and sun over thousands of years. Throw it over your shoulder, and let the salt outside the bowl remain where it falls.
We eschew modern technology in our food preparation, so steam or bake your sweet potato – goddess forbid you should ever use a microwave, they produce so many nasty rays! But feel free to let your dates warm in the sun to soften them.
We’d really like you to use a solar oven, and blend your ingredients by hand; but electric and gas are so convenient, as are food processors.
If you spare any expense in procuring these ingredients, we want you to feel guilty, so we’ll vaguely impugn more common ingredients with untestable assertions about them being of inferior strength or quality. In short, if you want to buy cheaper ingredients, you’d better make up the price difference by buying multiples of the quantity.
I love cooking, I enjoy good food, but I think it’s time we were real about the difference between “real” food, and sales and marketing buzzwords. Are you being sold a story, or a product? And is that story worth multiples of the price, particularly if the items are indistinguishable in practice?
So it turns out I felt like writing more than I realised – or is that I felt more like writing than I realised?
Oh, and I’m limited in the metadata I can attach to this post because I’m on my iPad. The NSA, GCHQ, and ASD will just have to cope. Or they could just ask me – I hear it’s much “cheaper than spying”. (Insert link here.)
Apologies also for the lack of links and footnotes, they’re even harder than metadata. As are photos interspersed with text, apparently. Of course, if I’m lucky, my iPad includes location info in all my photos, and the WordPress iOS app doesn’t strip it out when uploading, so now you all know where I live. Do come stalk me sometime.
Baked, not fried, steamed, or microwaved.
Golden Syrup is an Australian equivalent to Maple Syrup. Ever heard of Anzac Biscuits?
Yum, extra fibre!
I bought my almond meal out of a large bin at the supermarket.
They taste just like the fancy dates, particularly after they’re soaked in water and puréed.
The original recipe, which I treated more like a set of guidelines.
(The last sentence says that if you don’t use raw cacao powder, you’ll need twice as much. Call my skeptical of vague aspersions being cast against perfectly good food ingredients.)
The final product: visually indistinguishable from the magazine.
Edit: When I write my posts an hour before my self-imposed deadline, I let occasional minor mistakes slip through. I tidied up the spacing and grammar, added a few minor jokes, and annotated the pictures. Oh, and added extra metadata!
Yeah, no footnotes today. I blame the WordPress iOS app.