Sunday, April 20, 2014

That’s not what you say to a budding hoarder!



It’s been boring around here. How's that for a lead sentence? I spent spring break alone at home while Isabel and Mark toured eastern colleges and Owen visited his grandparents. I fed and watered our 20 animals, cleaned Owen’s impassable bedroom, cut a lot of grapefruits in half, and typed. 

I spent one long, perfect afternoon lying on the sofa reading Blake Bailey’s memoir, The Splendid Things We Planned. It’s been years since I did something like that and it was a total joy. The book is about Bailey's profoundly troubled brother, Scott, who was . . .  well, what wasn't Scott? As depicted by Bailey he was infuriating, loving, lovable, repulsive, dangerous, self destructive, sexually predatory, pitiful, and more. It's strong stuff and not for everyone, but if you have the stomach for it, the book is brilliant.

Here's the cookbook connection: When he was young and living in New York City, Bailey once got toweringly drunk and brought a pregnant prostitute back to his apartment. The next day his best friend, Michael, walked in on them. It took me a while to figure out that the Michael in question was Michael Ruhlman. 

I love that.

The day after I finished Splendid Things I went out and bought Ruhlman’s new book, Egg, which is dedicated to Blake Bailey. I haven’t read or used this incredibly handsome book yet, but with 127 eggs in the refrigerator, there's no question that I will.

Everyone flew in last night and I collected them at the airport and the joyful reunion lasted a solid hour. Then, when we were about 4 minutes from home, Owen asked suspiciously, “Mom, did you clean my room?” 

Jennifer: “Yes.”

Owen: “NO!”

Mark: “All I can say, buddy, is you’d better go through the trash.” 

Jennifer, pulling the car to the side of the road: “Mark, would you like to walk home?”

And just like that, life wasn’t boring anymore.

12 comments:

  1. There is no way to say this without sounding like I have a crush on you, but boy, Jennifer, have I missed you! But this post was worth waiting for. It made me laugh out loud. And these days, that's not easy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, beckster. (I hope the laughter comes more easily again soon.)

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  2. Living vicariously through your Spring Break and super excited to hear about your foray into EGG.

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    Replies
    1. 1. challah (7 eggs? Can't remember, but a lot)
      2. spaghetti carbonara (I think it uses 8 egg yolks -- that will make a dent)
      3. buttercream (never made real egg yolk bc before)

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  3. So, when did you realize the connection--was it when you read Ruhlman's dedication? And, love your sense of humor!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I don't have the book in front of me, but think Ruhlman might have been mentioned in the acknowledgments. Then a Michael turns up in NYC in the prostitute episode and eventually he's dating someone named Donna, a name familiar to readers of Ruhlman's blog, and it clicked.

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  4. I usually use egg whites for buttercream, since I always have great quantities left over from various custards, ice creams, etc., so after you make an egg yolk buttercream, you can try an egg white one! I personally think the egg white version is the easiest of all to make because you don't have to boil sugar syrup. Merely warm whites and sugar over a bain-marie until very warm to the touch, then whip cool and add butter. No splattered syrup up the side of the mixing bowl. But the yolk version is perhaps slightly richer. Wow, 127 eggs! You counted? One of my hens must have found a secluded spot other than the nesting box to lay her eggs. Do you have any recommendations on how to find secret caches of eggs?

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    Replies
    1. Kristin, I've made egg white buttercream and it was the best frosting I've ever tasted. How does egg yolk compare? Don't you have some buttercream recipes on your site? I'll look. The egg situation is ridiculous with fourteen chickens. And then everyone was gone for a week. It's so funny when they start hiding their eggs. I love it -- makes me respect them more. If you're at home you can watch and try to catch the hen emerging from her hiding place. Otherwise, just hunt around. FYI, there's nougat in EGG.

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    2. Annette Kitts4/23/14, 7:19 AM

      I hoard egg whites to make scratch angel food cake. It is so much better than the box mix or what you would buy from the store. It doesn't need berries or a sauce -- it's good enough to eat naked. (The cake, not the eater, though if that's your thing...)

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    3. YES! I love angel food. A while ago, I stopped making angel food and started making an egg white chiffon that's very, very similar to angel food, but slightly moister. It's the cake I make most often, these days. (There's one in the kitchen right now.) I think I printed the recipe -- I should do so again.

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  5. As always, great writing. So did you make Mark walk home?

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