لنتحدث عن الطبيخ

لنتحدث عن أصل الحضارة، لنتحدث عن الطبيخ

لا، مش تخويت ولا مسخرة لا سمح الله، ولا أنا من جماعة المرأة المتحضرة المستقلة بتعرفش تطبخ، ولا من الجماعة اللي بضربوا الطبيخ كمثال على “حكي النسوان الفاضي” وهو ممكن يعمل لمرته شر وشر وينكد عالدنيا إذا رجع عالبيت وما لقاها طابخة

الحقيقة إنه الحضارة البشرية ممكن تنقسم إلى فترتين: ما قبل الطبيخ وما بعد الطبيخ. تخيل الوضع ما قبل اكتشاف النار واكتشاف تأثيرها على الطعام. كان الإنسان القديم يقضي نص اليوم بجمع ثمار أو بيمضغ لحم ني عشان يجمع سعرات حرارية يا دوب تكفي عشان يرجع تاني يوم يجمع ثمار ويصيد حيوانات، تقريباً زي اللي بشتغل عشان بجيب مصاري يروح عالشغل، اختلف الزمان وعبودية حاجات البقاء واحدة. وطبعًا واحد بقضي يومه يقطف موز ويطارد جواميس مش حيكون عنده وقت يعمل إشي تاني، حتى الرسومات اللي بالكهوف بتقول النظريات إنها كانت من إبداع النساء لأنهم كانوا يقعدوا فاضيين يستنوا يرجع الرجل الغامض بسلامته ومعاه روزق اليوم، يعني النساء أول من مارس الإبداع واكتشفنا الفن قبل ما نكتشف الطبيخ، أسمع حدا يرجع يقول المرأة مكانها المطبخ بعد اليوم

بعدين حصلت الثورة، واكتشف الإنسان إنه بقدر يضاعف قيمة الطاقة في الطعام بتعريضه للنار وصار يحصل على كميات كبيرة من السعرات الحرارية في وقت أقل وبتناول كميات أقل. حتى إنه في عالم بقوللك إنه هاد الإشي ساهم في تطور العقل وبالتالي تطور الجنس البشري، بس بلاش نفوت في نظرية التطور حاليًا مش ناقصنا اتهامات كفر وزندقة والدنيا رمضان. لكن، كوننا بشر، وإذا بلشنا في إشي ما بنوقف حتى نمسخه ونحوله لسلاح تدمير ذاتي، أبدعنا في الطبخ حتى وصلنا مرحلة صار ممكن ناخد طاقة أضعاف حاجتنا اليومية بكميات تسمن ولا تغني من جوع، فانتشرت الشراهة والبدانة والأمراض المرتبطة فيها

ووصلنا مرحلة من العهر إنه الأكل صار ينكب في البحر للحفاظ على أسعاره في السوق بينما في ناس بتموت جوع، وصار الأكل نوع من البذخ والفن مش مجرد ضرورة حياتية. وأنا شخصيًا بحب الأكل وبعتبره فن فعلًا، لكن لما أشوف برنامج بورجيك إنه ممكن صحون كاملة تنكب في الزبالة لمجرد إنه الديكور مش زابط أو الجزر مش مستوي منيح، في وقت فيه واحد من كل ثلاثة أطفال في الدول النامية عندهم تأخر نمو ناتج من سوء التغذية، ساعتها بتحس إنه سم الهاري

أمنية كل إنسان تقريبًا يكون الأكل ما بنصح، وأنا بعتقد إنه إذا العلم توصل لطريقة يخلي الأكل ما ينصح رح تكون هاي نهاية الجنس البشري باختصار. تخيل حشود من الناس بتاكل ليل نهار من دون الحصول على طاقة، هياكل عظمية متحركة مكسوة بجلد باهت تتصارع على طعام لا يسمن ولا يغني من جوع، يعني لو بتتخيل جهنم ممكن يطلع معك هيك مشهد

الحاصل، إذا كان كلام العالم صحيح حول علاقة الطبيخ بتطور العقل، معناته نظريًا إذا القرود تعلمت الطبيخ ممكن فيلم Planet of Apes يصير حقيقة، وبالتالي رجاء اللي عنده قرد يحرص إنه ما يتعلم يطبخ حتى نتأكد من الموضوع

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For the Love of Chocolate

Like hundreds of millions of people all around the globe, I’m a self-confessed chocolate lover. Actually my relationship with chocolate goes beyond love, chocolate for me is a confidant, a best friend, I have faith in chocolate more than I have in some people. It’s that magical effect it has that when you’re happy you feel it shares your joy and when you’re sad or angry it soothes you, telling you “it’s okay, I’m here for you”. But the chocolate effect is best felt when it hits you out of nowhere. You know, when you haven’t had any for days and then you have that accidental piece of chocolate and when the cocoa hits your taste buds you feel like it’s the elixir of life no less. When it comes to chocolate, it’s always a matter of quality over quantity. That precious little dose of fine chocolate with tea or coffee gives it a glamorous air of its own, because chocolate must be treated with respect. Well, except when my nieces delve into a jar of Nutella – nothing classy or respectful about that-. But again, Nutella isn’t really chocolate so it’s okay. We still love it though. Chocolate makes a perfect gift too. Think about it, when you give someone chocolate it’s like saying: “I don’t think you’re fat”. It’s the ultimate expression of love and respect. Just try to avoid it when it’s for a woman who has just given birth, she’d be thinking of how to lose the weight already and it could be really insensible on your part. Of course chocolate is a relative word. I once made it clear that “if it’s not dark, it’s not chocolate”. Milk chocolate is for people who can’t handle real chocolate, and white chocolate is not even chocolate. The biggest debate however was when I declared that Nutella wasn’t chocolate either, it’s actually a hazelnut and cocoa spread and it was invented because chocolate was very expensive at some point in Europe, so it’s basically a cheat, candy disguised as chocolate. But after all, what’s in a name? It’s Nutella, you can call it zucchini paste and it would still taste as good. Now if you asked me what my favorite chocolate is, I couldn’t possibly give an answer. It’s like asking which of your 100 kids do you love the most, and you can’t even remember their names. But here’s a tribute to some chocolates, or at least what’s commonly known as chocolate, which I’ve been particularly fond of:

Pretty much anything Lindt

Milk, dark, mint, orange… as long as it’s Lindt it doesn’t matter. I particularly love their dark chocolate with mint or orange flavor, it offsets the bitterness while maintaining the needed cocoa mass for your blood stream. Both your taste buds and your brain cells will rejoice. IMG_4710 IMG_9873

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Godiva Milk Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Actually strawberries are one of my favorite things in the world. I can easily eat a box of them in a couple of days by my own, a healthy addiction that can also whiten your teeth. Of course it’s not as healthy when it’s dipped in chocolate but it’s probably the most delicious thing in the world. Sadly, this one is a long distance relationship as it’s not available in Jordan, only when I’m traveling or when someone else is traveling, but Nutella dipped strawberries can be just as good and even better.

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Cadbury Caramel

In fact, it’s anything Cadbury, but this one is special. For if there’s anything in the world I love as much as chocolate, it has to be caramel, which is an evil evil things that does you no good other than giving you tooth cavities, spiking your blood sugar and putting you on cloud nine indeed. It just tastes so good that you forget how bad it is for you. Anything with caramel is a favorite with me, but Cadbury caramel candy bar takes the prize, it’s even better than the caramel stuffed Lindt chocolate bar, I guess Lindt’s caramel is too fancy for my taste. This is the real thing. caramel

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…And This

Dark chocolate and marzipan, talk about  a winning combination. I just love marzipan and I think it’s so underrated. It’s a thing of beauty actually. I like other editions of Ritter too, I like how they come up with some limited edition every all the time. Like the strawberry and wafer one. Their dark chocolate is pretty good too.a013_marzipan_rlRS-73-fine-dark

The Tale of the Cake

This has been long overdue; I finally decided to take up a new hobby: cooking. Well, to give you a little background I’ve always known that I loved cooking, not only because I love food, actually I used to have this notion that if you cook it you won’t enjoy it, I prefer to have people cook for me, so it’s not about the love of food it’s more like the art of cooking itself, it is something you can be quite creative with. I remember what one of my favorite professors at university once said, she was a very elegant, cultured and well-educated woman and a women rights advocate and what not, and she said that with all her academic success and achievements, when she makes a dish that is so delicious she feels like she’s earned a higher education degree, or something to that effect.

So, I love cooking, I enjoy cooking, it’s just that my previous experiences weren’t very encouraging and at times epic failures so I gave it up and convinced myself that it is something I can’t do. But then I realized, if everybody else can then why can’t I? In fact, the problem with my previous cooking endeavors was that I tried to improvise, and as it turned out it’s not very wise to improvise in something you know almost nothing about. S, I decided to go by the book, looked up some easy recipes and decided to make a cake.

You see, a friend told me it’s better to start with easy desserts and move up the scale from there. I also like baking more than cooking itself, I guess. The problem was I’ve never lit an oven in my life, not comfortable with them, I feel like they’re going to explode and take my eyebrows away. But of course I need to get over that, hopefully it won’t be an obstacle.

So, baking it is. I looked up this recipe on the internet, and may I say that there are some fantastic facebook pages with easy step by step recipes, with pictures too. It’s nice to see facebook pages serving a purpose instead of just making up stupid stuff to collect likes and fans. Anyway, back to the cake. The cake I made was Blackberry and milk cake. My first cake to make from scratch (Actually I’ve made one when I was at school but my mom walked me through it and she did the whisking and stuff so that doesn’t count). So before I go through the steps let me lay out the ingredients I used, I played with the measurements to make a bigger cake since I was taking it to the family gathering at Grandma’s.

 

3 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

150 grams of butter (that is one and a half sticks) update: that was too much butter, use 50 or 75 grams

1 and a half cups of liquid milk

3 eggs

A sprinkle of vanilla

A pinch of salt

1 and a half tea spoons of baking powder

Blackberries (or strawberries, or blueberries, whatever floats your boat)

 

So, I got all the ingredient out on the table, 30-minute meals style, you know watching cooking shows gives you some pointers, not that I watch any, it’s just that I translate them. Actually at first I realized I was going too slow and thought that wouldn’t work, I should be fast, Rachel Ray’s fast –another cooking shows influence- there’s a certain energy about her that I like, makes you feel like she’s cooking at home not on TV and h=the way she eyeballs everything and just pours things down and throws in chunks of ingredients and cheese like there’s no tomorrow. But again she doesn’t bake, and we’re taking about baking here, so preheat the oven to 400 degrees and back to that.

So, I put the butter and the sugar in the pot and put them on low heat to melt slowly. At the first glance I was a bit skeptical whether the sugar will start to caramelize or even burn before the butter melts, it looks that way, but as soon as the butter starts melting you get that amazing texture and color and once you add the vanilla, which I was quite generous with not just a sprinkle, you get that delicious smell that makes you feel this would be enough, you can just stop here and you got yourself a dessert. Then of course the milk, I used low fat milk because when you’re using that amount of butter you might want to cut down on the saturated fat a bit.

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In a separate bowl, I mixed 3 cups of flours, using the same cup I used to measure the sugar, you can’t go wrong using the same cup –hopefully- and then I added the baking powder and a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness out. Then I started to add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, in batches of course, and I kind of panicked a little because it was a bit lumpy, but then I remembered we had a magical instrument called the electric whisk, and there was a smooth silky delicious cake batter (after lifting it off the heat of course). So that was kind of reassuring, you know, if the batter tastes good then hopefully the cake itself will taste good too.

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After that I poured the batter into a pan, needless to say I enlisted my mother’s help at several stages like to decide which pan to use and how hot the oven should be, and she lit the oven I have to say not because I wouldn’t do it but I think she didn’t want to take the risk of her new kitchen blowing up.

After pouring the batter into the pan I put the blackberries on top. The original recipe had strawberries but I thought blackberries are more interesting, not to mention that they have a nice tang. You can use either fresh or canned ones, I used the canned ones because I like the moisturizing effect of the syrup and as you may know fresh blackberries are ridiculously expensive here and they don’t taste as good as they look. If I may make a disclaimer here, I thought the blackberries would sink to the bottom but they didn’t, had I known that I might have done a better job esthetically.

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Now into the oven, I must say it didn’t give that amazing cake aroma that fills the house when my mom bakes a cake but it’s a different kind of cake, I guess that’s because I didn’t use any lemon or orange zest.

I want also to point out that in the course of writing this post I got excited and got up and made quick chocolate fudge. Well, I discovered that being excited about cooking makes you don’t feel like eating, I didn’t have lunch today, so there. But I also think I might be trying to fill a certain void here, this has gone a bit far… but I’m enjoying it, no need for philosophy now.

So, here is the final product. Looks good, no? And it tasted great too

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There was a little problem though, it was a bit undercooked. Well, it was really undercooked to be perfectly honest, I think I just had to use a hotter oven, that was the mistake. I admit I was disappointed and it really make me feel bad, like a failure, which is ridiculous as it’s just a cake, but the thing is it’s really not, I actually thought of writing a post called “the psychology behind  a cake” after that. To tell you the truth for a moment there I was like: “I’d better stick to writing” which made me think that maybe I got interested in cooking because I’m not doing much writing these days, I mean, other than my blog there’s nothing, so maybe that was it, and when the cake failed me I felt like I had nothing which is ridiculous. And yes, I can write and cook at the same time. And that’s just part of the things I concluded after that baking experience, but I’m over it now, maybe I’ll try again sometime later in sha’a Allah. Why do I have to philosophize everything? Why can’t I accept that life could be simple sometimes, and that it is just a cake? A freaking undercooked blackberry cake?

P.S: If at any point you planned to make the “isn’t there an iPhone cake too?” joke then please save it, I’ve already heard it twice!

Update: I think the cake didn’t rise because I used too much butter