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I came home hungry from the Night of Dread, despite two tasty-but-small slices of pizza and a bowl of soup consumed over the course of the previous five hours. We did so much walking, following the parade back and forth around its route, that I shouldn't be too surprised. So I sat down to see what my cookbooks could offer me in terms of something easily made from what the cupboards had in store.

Now I may not be a frequent baker, but I do so regularly enough that the cupboards are fairly well stocked with baking staples. Ingredients were no barrier to baking. The problem was with the equipment.

The new Joy of Cooking has aimed to adapt its recipes to modern convenience, and so nearly every one calls for an electric beater, which I do not own. I'm quite happy beating my butter by hand, but only if I've softened it in advance. Sudden snack cravings don't allow for such preparations. I looked through the other obvious candidate cookbooks for suggestions. Electric beaters and the wrong baking pan shapes and sizes stood in my way.

But wrong pan sizes should never be a barrier to cooking, not if there's time enough to test the goods in the oven on a regular basis to see if they're done. I found a recipe calling for melted butter, took out the muffin tray, and set to work. The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts recipe for Old-Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake has now become eighteen very satisfying muffins.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 31st, 2004 06:11 am (UTC)
try whipping up a whole bowl of double cream by hand, on second thought DON'T! hehe. I've never used Joy of Cooking, in my house we have the fanny farmer cookbook. it just came out with a new edition itself with advice on modern cooking, but somehow i can't help thinking that defeats the purpose of having a fanny farmer cookbook, with it's pages stained and cover falling off. it's for when you want to cook the old way.
Oct. 31st, 2004 06:48 am (UTC)
If all the recipe wants me to do is blend and mix things, I can do that by hand, but I have no idea how to convert directions that read "Beat on high for 2 minutes."

I wish more cookbooks would provide multiple methods of making the same recipe, but I suspect part of that interpretion can be gained from practice. Still, "Beat on high for two minutes"? How do I replicate that?
Oct. 31st, 2004 07:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, especially if it doesn't say for example. Beat on high until light and fluffy, then you could wing it. I just mix with a fork until smooth or mixed or whatever one would think the recipe would call for.
Oct. 31st, 2004 07:03 am (UTC)
I'm a big fan of fudging recipes. I like to think of them as being not so much rules, but guidelines. :D
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )