About This Blog

I like food. A lot. In this blog, I will divulge all my delicious recipes, giving you a full list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and notes to help you successfully make the dish. Feel free to try these at home, and let me know how it went in the comments for the dish! If you have any questions, I will answer them as quickly as possible. If you use my recipe and discuss it on your site, please link back to this blog. Happy eating!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Journey to Homemade

I just want to spend a minute talking about hand-making things, like this beautiful bowl of strawberries and cream.
So, since moving from the Middle of Nowhere, New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I'm been trying all kinds of new things. New foods, new techniques. One reason is that I have a pathological need to learn new things all the time, and part of the reason is that, when I moved here, I vowed that I would never have a meal that I considered boring, as long as it was in my power.
Through no fault of their own, my parents subscribed to the school of rotating menus when I was young. Cheap-as-free nasty baked-in-water chicken thighs that I can no longer eat because of an illness (I don't consider this a loss). Pork chops that are impossible to make interesting until interesting means attaching one to a rocket and shooting it into space. Maybe 0.3% fresh vegetable intake per year. Again, there were circumstances my family had to adhere to and work with that made this lifestyle necessary.
But when I knew I would be living on my own (and later with Rich), and that I would have far less restrictions, I swore that I would try everything I could get my hands on. Which is why I now love avocado, cauliflower and peppers. Which is why I buy fruit once a week. Which is why I started hand-making things I used to buy in a box or a tub.
It started with a yellow cake, but really took off with a red velvet cake which, prior to moving here, I had never actually eaten. But I wanted to. So I made it. And I have a shirt somewhere still stained from flung red gelatin food colouring -- the never-come-out-of-your-anything kind from Michael's. But it was totally worth it.
From there, I've expanded, most recently culminating in the photo above: whipped cream. For a long time, I considered that whipped cream was never really a thing a human being could make -- it was this foreign, fluffy entity of cloud deliciousness that appeared out of machines and into grocery stores. Like, it was maybe what cloud tears were really made of, instead of boring old rain. But then I got to reading about it a few years ago. And this year or, more specifically, a few weeks ago, I tried it.
It turns out that making whipped cream at home is crazy easy, even by hand, which is how we do it because I don't have a fancy schmancy mixer with a whip attachment. I have one broken stand mixer and one finicky hand mixer. So, Rich and I take turns whipping and in maybe 20 minutes, we have whipped cream! Totally worth it.
I've found that hand making things we would normally buy in the store, like cake and whipped cream, makes me have a better appreciation for the thing I'm eating. Sure, I could have paid $2.00 or something for a can of grossly-sweet Redi-Whip, or for Cool Whip, but when I make my own, I can make it as sweet as I want, which is not at all. We don't add any sugar to this -- just a touch of vanilla extract. We do add some sugar to the strawberries and let them sit for a few minutes, but we generally have a very calm dessert here.
I am always looking for and learning new things in the world of homemade, and I hope you'll try it, too. I think that, if we all made as much as we feasibly could at home, like our grandmothers or great-grandmothers used to, we could all have a better appreciation for our food, and it could be something we purely enjoy, instead of something we involve ourselves with because we have to survive. And then maybe we would eat less McDonalds and more strawberries and cream which is obviously better for you because look at that; what could possibly go wrong?

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