Thursday, February 15, 2007

What Not To Do On Valentine's Day

When I ask Tom what he wants for Valentine's Day there is no hesitation: Cherry pie.

Remember that old saying that carpenters use: Measure twice, cut once? It applies to pies too.

Say you're supposed to double the crust recipe so you can create a delicate basket weave on top of the pie. You'll need 3 cups of flour instead of 1 1/2. You look over your client's e-mail to make sure you didn't miss anything. She's really going to try to make the toy awards deadline? Oh God! The cup won't fit into the bag of flour, so you decide to use the smaller 1/2-cup cup to measure out the flour. You wonder why your application wouldn't work in class, and you prop your notebook on top of the cookbook. Maybe you simply forgot the save the file before you started? For some reason the crust mixture turns out a lot gummier than it should. You realize that you've measured out 3 scoops instead of 6. You still have 20 minutes before you have to leave for class.

You start over with the crust. There isn't enough butter. The dough is a bit dry. But you mold it into 2 balls and put it in the fridge, certain that it will congeal by the time you get back from class.

After class you're back in the kitchen reading the instructions that your sister e-mailed for the filling. Suddenly you get to a line that says: I felt miffed when Mom told me after years of making this pie that the original recipe was for a 8" pie. Nowadays I often use two cans of cherries but I don't really double the sugar or anything. (I haven't quite hit on how exactly how I want to handle the doubling.)

felt miffed! What about me! I'm in the middle of this pie, and it's 9:45 on Valentine's night! I run into the studio and find a ruler. Is my pie pan 8" or 9"? I double the amount of cherries and decide that if the filling starts to overflow when I'm pouring it in, I'll simply stop pouring and eat the rest with a spoon while the pie is baking. I boil and stir the juice and sugar and cornstarch and then add lemon juice and almond flavoring. Luci's box of spices arrived today and it's so mysterious. I glance at her note. She insists that Sayur Asam was her childhood favorite food and that she had it at least every other day, and no wonder she was such a skinny kid. What the heck is Sayur Asam? And if I eat it will it have the same effect on me? I wipe off my hands and Google Sayur Asam. Oh wait! Did I remember to double the cornstarch?

Valentine's Day:
the aftermath

After leaving her sweet comment, Luci can't resist firing off a stern e-mail: I am zealous regarding flour measurement. Everyone in the house knows that they cannot haphazardly scoop flours with the measuring cup itself. It is absolutely forbidden! They must first fluff the flour in the container, and then lightly spoon it into the measuring cup. When the cup is full, they can either use the back side of a knife or a chopstick to level off the excess flour.