You don’t even know how much I look forward to our food letters!
I was especially delighted to see yours this week because Monday was hard. I know Mondays are hard for a lot of people with typical 9-5 jobs, but it was just difficult for me because everything hit the fan on Monday.
I’ve been working through some relationship issues and I’m learning new things every day. Isn’t it funny how one of our fundamental needs as humans is the need for acceptance and love? And it’s crazy how we just expect that from our family, friends and significant others without a second thought. I expect food to be there for me in the same way, and that’s not too crazy to expect food to satisfy our cravings, right? That was purely rhetorical, so no need to answer that lol. Both relationships and food/eating can be so messy. Rarely does food ever let me down though as much as humans do, but I suppose sometimes a dish doesn’t deliver nor meet my expectations and then when I’m let down, I’m severely let down (yep, still talking about food here lol). Granted, the weight of which I relate food to humans is not as great for most people (unless you’re an extreme foodie), but I think sometimes I actually am more disappointed by a dish than by humans. Is that messed up or what?
**Side note: I drowned my sorrows in ice cream and finally tried Halo Top! As you can see, Olive the dog (yes, she has her own instagram) wanted to help, but that’s just silly; dogs can’t eat ice cream (it was cookies n’ creamy deliciousness – all of the tasty with less calories) lol so there was more for me.
I expect humans to mess up. Humans are, after all, imperfect by nature. Food, on the other hand, are perfect by design. Food is made to satisfy our hunger and tastes. Food is made to order. But I guess you could argue that food is prepared by humans, therefore there is room for error and aye, there’s the rub. Meh.
[By the way, my favorite fries are skinny fries (they make great fries at Fatburger) or sweet potato fries with honey. I do NOT think McDonald’s fries are the best french fries. It’s way TOO SALTY and sometimes it tastes like pure oil and salt. Now, In In Out fries are pretty bomb dot com, but it’s a shame the east coast will never know all of the goodness that is the In In Out french fry. And I agree with you in that I don’t care for hand cut fries; if it’s made properly why does it matter how it’s cut?] I’m fried on this topic so let’s move along, shall we? LOL.
Anyway, like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Why do we place such a large portion of our lives solely in search of a special someone? And why, have we (as humans), forgotten that things are meant to be used and not people! Food and people are meant to be appreciated.
Relationships are like meals, it’s basically sustenance for humans. Some people merely eat to exist and thus remain in bland relationships because they are complacent with their partner (sounds awfully boring) and nothing is super great, but it’s not super bad (not the movie) either. Some seek a more exciting palette of flavours (here I go writing in British-English again) and want variety in their lives so they date around, jumping from human to human (like a monkey swinging from tree to tree) depending on their tastes.
And then there’s us – I think we eat to discover what we like and dislike, and the more we date/try different foods, we find out what our favorites are and which kinds bring us joy (or disgust lol). We search for that perfect dish or dessert; one that we’ll never tire of, one that will always be our forever favorite food. Some people dedicate their entire lives to a cause, so why can’t people do the same about relationships… or food? It makes sense to me, anyway. The variety is all there, it’s not that far off with relationships and food… or is it? Instead of settling for a relationship that’s neither good nor bad and food that’s not bad but not so good either, why not have a taste of the great and delicious dishes that you know is part of the classics and won’t let you down. And when it does let you down, it pisses you off because you know it could be better. Isn’t that a sustainable relationship? A tried and true dish that remains the same (with slight variations and modifications) from across the board and yet still you enjoy. Don’t we all seek a thriving relationship (with food or human) that delights our senses and tickles our tastebuds? Perhaps some of us are like this when it comes to relationships. And maybe we view food in that same way. At least, I’d like to think so.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, without going into too much detail; despite being emotionally wrought and busy with relationships, just looking at your fun and delicious images – from the kid on the bike waving to the kid in the apple, to the cookie dough from Cookie Do NYC – brought me such happy feelings; and reading about your thoughts on fries, pies and desserts truly made me smile.
The case for pie – Dessert food
Now, I’d like to discuss this pie issue you have here. A pie is a baked dish made of a pastry dough and has either sweet or savoury filling and are defined by the crust. If we take a look way back into the history of pies, we discover that pies have been around since Egyptians and Romans could bake things in their ovens, but in recent history, the more commonly known pies are attributed to originating in England. British pies are filled with meats and hearty fillings and they call those pasties (not to be confused with “pastries” – flaky baked goods which are filled with cream, jam or fruit or “pasties” – a decorative covering for the nipples) but that’s because they have other great desserts such as sticky toffee pudding to finish the meal on a sweet note. In America, the apple pie is considered quintessentially American because apple pie was associated as a symbol of prosperity and national pride for all things wholesome and hearty during the 19th-20th century. I think Floridians would argue that key lime pie is truly the American pie, but I think that’s debatable. Personally, I like strawberry cream pie, but that’s just me because growing up my dad would always bring home that pie since he knew it was me and my mom’s favorite. I know you like to think of pie as a breakfast food, and I can agree with that too because I will and I can eat pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but when you’re talking about American pies, we’re talkin’ sweet pie and that is also considered a great dessert. Whether it’s filled with a fruit filling, or chocolate mousse or lemon merengue or pumpkin… it’s still just as much of a dessert as it is considered a food because it’s so sweet. Fruits are also given at the end of a meal as a dessert. And I’ve always been under the impression that dessert is of course a course of something sweet at the end of a meal of course to leave your palette feeling happy. It’s a taste of closure at the end of a savory meal.
The reason why I think cake and pie are in the same sweet class is because of the precision and the beauty that is in the flavors of the dessert foods itself. And I recall special recipes from family and friends that make their pies a certain way. For instance, blueberry pie can have a zest of lemon or orange to give it a different kick of flavor; and there are several little tricks and tidbits that have been passed down from several generations to make a pie recipe truly delightful. Cake has that too, but I think there’s nothing more American, than an American pie (again, not a movie reference).
I will fight for pie – cake can relate
The way we make cake and pie start off in relatively the same manner. We prepare and put all the ingredients for the dough (or batter) together. Cake batter is mixed and made to be poured into a mold to take shape in the oven and the cake is then decorated after baking to completion. Pie dough is made, kneaded, chilled and rolled out. The art of decorating the cake comes after the baked cake has cooled. Pies, on the other hand, have the crust and filling to work with; and to top it all off, the design of the top of the pie must be done before popping it into the oven. Decorative pies are not only a sight for sore eyes, but also a delight in taste too. Have you seen some of the most intricately designed fruit pies? Here are just a few designs. They are INCREDIBLE and so skillfully made too.
Okay, before we continue on, can we please check here for some amazing pie designs and also here for some more amazing pie decor. Those leaves and placing of fruit and cream and use of negative space are some of the most beautiful pie designs I’ve seen. The pie-maker must be careful in their precision and bake time to ensure the fruit filling does not bubble over or overflow or mess up the designed dough of the crust. And that top of the pie can be designed in any fashion, very much like the creative design of a cake, but with little to no frosting involved. Cakes might have more leeway in design because of fondant and frosting and numerous piping bag tips, but pie keeps it 100% natural with its simplicity. And as we know, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
I used to bake so much. But nowadays I feel like all I do is visit bakeries and eat their baked goods instead. One really amazing place (one of my favorites) is Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. It’s been around since the 1960s. I used to go to the one in Burbank, since it was the closest one in Los Angeles. However, my parents just told me about the new location that recently opened up in Orange County. They visited the Porto’s in Buena Park and ordered the best stuff. My personal favorites: Guava and cheese pastry, guava strudel, cheese rolls, and meat and potato balls. Honestly, it’s some of the best pastry and baked goods around this area and you will have to try it when you visit California because I don’t think NYC has Porto’s. I’m sure ya’ll in the east coast have some great baked goods too, but I bet you haven’t had a Porto’s guava and cheese pastry or a potato ball. Because if you did, you’d be asking for another dozen more. 🙂
I think that’s about all I have on the pastries and sweets part. Oh! BTW, that cookie dough from Cookie Do NYC totally looks like ice cream… it fooled me and had me do a double take. It’s a totally misleading tricky tricky sweet treat. I personally think ice cream > cookie dough, but that’s debatable, I know. I like the ice cold feeling of ice cream as it hits the tongue and the roof of my mouth and the feeling of it slowly dissolving its yumminess into tummy. I admit, I have a sweet tooth, but yours might be slightly sweeter than mine? I think cookie dough is pretty rich as is icing and love both! I will say this though, I think we can both agree chocolate is king of everything. Life is just not worth living without chocolate. More to come on this though… I think I might be a chocolate snob because as of a year ago, I’ve been really getting into fine chocolate and will be sure to share my chocolatiers and various chocolate companies with you!
Until next time, stay sweet,