Hungry Eyes: Foods I Lusted After Like Crazy

September 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm 2 comments

I know, I have an addiction...

I know, I have an addiction...

This may come as a surprise, but it turns out I’m no saint (*gasp*). I know, I know … it’s sort of like finding out there’s no Santa Claus (um, I hope no children are reading this).  So where exactly am I going with this?

Well, during my 30 days of cooking from scratch, people kept telling me they could never do what I was doing.  So I feel like I need to confess that this wasn’t exactly a piece of cake for me.  There was more than one chocolate meltdown, and a few sushi cravings that almost turned violent.

So just to make it clear that this wasn’t a walk in the park, here’s a look at the foods that were my Kryptonite through the course of this experiment:

1.) Chocolate – I didn’t just crave chocolate — I had full-on chocolate meltdowns (I’d like to say I feel guilty, but I don’t…).  I had every intention of making chocolate from scratch, until I realized this entailed finding cacao beans, roasting them, and grounding them into liqueur.  Sure makes you appreciate a bar of chocolate.

2.) Cheese – It turns out there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned cheese making.  Outside of my success making paneer, my adventures in cheese making were total, flavorless disasters.  It turns out the flavor comes from aging, and there’s no bypassing nature.  That’s not to say I don’t intend on trying cheese making again — but this time around, I’ll manage my expectations.

3.) Bread/Sandwiches – I want to start out by saying that my perfectly golden-brown loaf of challah was one of my biggest successes of this experiment.  It was also promptly followed by one of my biggest failures — my dough anvil that was supposed to be a loaf of crusty bread. It turns out bread making is an art and a science — you can’t really take shortcuts, no matter how you slice it.

4.) Pasta/Noodles – Never fear — this one’s on the list for a future cooking from scratch experiment.  But when you’re cooking every single meal from scratch, it’s hard to find the time to make pasta or hand-pulled noodles.  It also requires quite a bit of space, which can be tough in a small urban apartment. But don’t worry — that won’t stop me from trying.  Dare I call this proejct Pasta La Vista, Baby?

5.) Sushi – There are plenty of people who make their own sushi.  My friend Phelps gave me a detailed tutorial in how to prepare sushi rice, and Jeff explained to me how to pick out and cut fresh fish.  But I never seemed to have enough time during the madness of the 30-day experiment to devote time to sushi-making.  (Making sushi isn’t exactly the kind of project where you want to cut corners).

In the end, I realized that it was excruciatingly difficult to find time to embark on more complex food-from-scratch projects when I was constantly mired in cooking everything from scratch.  But now that I’ve got some breathing room, well, expect the unexpected.

I’d like to end with a moment of silence in honor of Patrick Swayze (hence the title of this blog post). This is one Jersey Girl who will always be crazy about Swayze.


Entry filed under: Asian Food, Dairy, Dessert, Diet, Food Anthropology, Italian Food, Preparation. Tags: , .

Cooking From Scratch: Save Some Serious Dough Cooking From Scratch: Foods I’ll Never Buy Again

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gabi  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Well done, taking “SCRATCH” so seriously you didn’t even go with cocoa powder as a starting point. I myself am quite grateful for my daily nibble of sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free chocolate (thank you Endangered Species) – definitely makes up for some of my cooking failures.

  • 2. uma  |  October 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    You should check out Theo’s Chocolate Factory in Fremont. They take you through the chocolate-making process (including how they get their cacao beans) for $5, AND you get a ton of free chocolate! 🙂


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