Monday, January 09, 2006

culinary technogeek

Back in my single career girl days, I once worked with a product manager who was an admitted, unabashed technophobe. Judith bragged about having a rotary dial on her phone at home, and no TV, either -- never mind a VCR to hook up to the thing. The irony of this situation, of course, is that she worked for a software development company, and the rant was precipitated by a voice mail message. But anyway, she once made this astounding statement: I hate technology. It hasn't done anything to improve people's lives, it has just made them more complicated.

It was pointless arguing anything with Judith, but at the time I thought, "Wow, you couldn't be more wrong: when was the last time you had to take your clothes down to the river to wash them?" I'd go so far as to say I'm the anti-Judith, at least with regard to her feelings about technology.

Today, for example, I spent the day in the kitchen, giving all my appliances a workout. I made my Guinness beef stew in the crockpot, but because I was multi-tasking, I forgot to add the vegetables until just a half-hour before dinner time. This did not precipitate a crisis, because I popped the carrots and potatoes into the microwave and pre-cooked them before adding them to the crockpot for the final 20-25 minutes of simmering, where they nicely absorbed the flavors of the broth.

It was the multi-tasking project that really put my kitchen tech through its paces. I'm working (again) on a low carb version of my Champion Lemon Squares recipe. Lemon squares are labor-intensive, there's no way around it. And so there I was, peeling and juicing lemons. Then the strips of zest went into my mini-chop to be pulverized. With the lemons processed, I could them move onto the actual baking. The crust went together in about 30 seconds in my food processor, and I firmed it up in the freezer before popping it in the oven.

The squares are cooling, we'll try them when they have sufficiently stabilized to cut. Low carb bake goods tend to be more crumbly in general, and even high carb shortbread isn't known for its structural integrity. I may end up having to refrigerate the squares before attempting to cut them, but that would be fine. I just want them to taste good, with the approximate textures of their high carb counterparts. This recipe is becoming my Mount Everest: a goal which will be attainable only after a lot of hard work. Or maybe it won't be attainable; maybe this is one recipe that I will concede needs to stay high carb.

We'll see. I won't get discouraged if this attempt is a failure, too. We still have a tree full of lemons out there.

1 comment:

nina said...

I keep forgetting never to read foodd-related posts before dinner. I'm drooling.
And I agree about technology in the kitchen. My grandmother cooked on a coal stove. It nearly destroyed her back.