Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Shaken Bake

Last night before I went to sleep, I was reading the bible and I came across some passages that shook me to my foundations. I came to the realization that I may have been doing grave wrongs for years and that I will need to make a conscious effort to change my ways. It was disturbing.

You go along for years, doing what you’ve been taught, y’know? You are given a certain way of going about things, mostly from your parents, but also just habits you’ve fallen into, and you accept that—hey—that’s just how things are done. And then you enter a period of reflection wherein you realize that there’s more than one approach and that maybe the one you’ve clung to for most of your life isn’t the best.

According to the bible, I need to freeze butter overnight before combining it with the flour and water. The bible tells us also that cider vinegar should be added in addition to ice water. The bible says that shortening is wrong; that it’s a warped, twisted version of butter. I’ve used Crisco since I began. I didn’t realize I was going down the wrong path.

Sure, I’ve always used ice water. But everything else I’ve done goes against what Rose Levy-Beranbaum set down. For, verily, she tells us that butter must be flattened out into flakes before it’s mixed with the flour. The fat content of shortening is higher than in butter, which causes less shrinkage, but faster browning. So sayeth Rose Levy-Beranbaum.

I’ve always been proud of my pie crusts. Sure, they’ve never been so delicious that I thought, “Hey! I think I’ll skip the filling and just eat myself a crust.” But they’ve always been relatively tasty. I bet the citizens of Sodom all thought, “Hey, we could be devout and chaste and live in a way that pleases our Lord, but we’ve been doing okay with the blowjobs and the ass-sex for a long while now, why change?” This means that, if I don’t start doing things differently, the wrath of Rose Levy-Beranbaum will rain down upon me.

I could be standing in my kitchen, baking a mocha-brownie pie for our weekly high-stakes Scrabble tournament, when hardened bits of flaming meringue come falling onto my head. What if my spider plant starts burning and a booming voice issues forth, saying unto me, “Wretched baker! Amend thy ways and make sure you chill your mixing bowl before you start putting the crust together!”

The Lord our Rose Levy-Beranbaum commands us to chill our dough for twenty-four hours before use. I’ve always felt it was too hard to even roll after three hours. But I’ve been doing it wrong! I’m damned! DAMNED! The Pie & Pastry Bible spells it all out! My pie crusts are chewy and tough! I’ve not made them flaky enough! UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!

Run! Run away, lest my wretchedness rub off on thee and offend Rose Levy-Berenbaum, who will call down the heavens on your ass, too!