I just returned from a skiing trip at Wolf Creek Ski near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, with friends and family. It was a cold, exhausting and unforgettable experience. We also stopped by Great Sand Dunes National Park on the way back. Colorado is a beautiful state with its snowcapped mountains, plains, rivers and quaint, small towns. Maybe I’ll move there someday instead of California.
After this trip I’ve felt much saner; the wilderness distracted me from civilization, which is filled with things that are damaging but superficially pleasing. The trip reminded me of more important things.
Once again I’ve been jipped by Pizza Hut’s slick advertising. The first time was when I purchased their pastas. They looked edible in the ads, especially when printed on that glossy ad paper, so decided to try some. I bought a chicken alfredo and lasagna.
The chicken alfredo was flavorless, not to mention lukewarm. It was the most awful chicken alfredo I had ever tasted. It had the consistency and flavor of pasta doused with Elmer’s glue. The chicken was few and far between and exceptionally stringy like bunches of floss. The lasagna was equally flavorless, with a crusty top that suggested it might have been sitting on the counter for far too long. Both the sauce and ricotta cheese had the texture of spackle.
Today at a different Pizza Hut I purchased a supreme because I had not learned my lesson. Upon opening the box at home I realized they had somehow managed to completely forget all the meat toppings, which was partially my fault for not checking. This was all terrible enough, especially with the memory of the nasty pastas lingering on my mind, but after a few bites I realized that I was the lucky recipient of an exceptionally long hair. At this point I lost all appetite and started plotting this here blog post to vent my displeasure.
The moral of the story is to pay the premium and order Papa John’s for peace of mind and a quality pizza.
I was eating at a Japanese restaurant which had some great recipes. The first was an Asian fruit salad made of boiled seaweed, apricot and Granny Smith apples. It was an unexpected blend of textures with its crunchy apple, slick, chewy seaweed and soft apricot. I also tried tomatoes stewed in plum wine, a mildly sweet mango cake and a seafood soup with stewed crab, chicken, shiitake mushroom and clams.
Generally there is an anticipation of what a dish will taste like, but these dishes were unexpected in flavor and texture. That is what the experience of all food should be. Anything less and food is mundane. After eating at the restaurant, I felt the urge to concoct some recipes of my own. I broke down recipes into a template from which new recipes can be generated.
Many foods use the same template. The resulting range of flavors and textures is limited. The flour is used as the neutral base other flavors build on, but there are many other neutral food bases that can be used in desserts as well.
- Neutral – Cucumber, seaweed, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, carrot, peanuts, almonds, etc.
- Sweet – Strawberry, blueberry, orange, etc.
- Sour – Lemon, lime, etc.
- Umami – Meat, etc.
- Salty – Sardines, mackeral, etc.
- Bitter – Bitter melon, etc.
- Sugar, salt, spices, stimulant (pepper), fragrant (cinnamon, cloves, etc.), oils
- Textures – Smooth, crumbly, chewy, crunchy, stringy, etc.
- Temperature – Hot, everything in between, cold
- State – Solid, liquid, gas