it's not an obsession... it's a hobby.
So everyone who knows me knows that I love food... period. Like can food be a hobby? I mean I don't see why not, right? So because of this little obsession, my Twitter and Instagram feeds are filled with beautiful dishes, delicious desserts, and awesome people who get to play with food each and everyday of their lives, my netflix queue is basically just documentaries and pbs shows on food and chefs, and on my night stand is a food magazine, a cookbook, and a book by a food editor. I'm slightly obsessed with the likes of Alton Brown, Julia Child, David Chang, James Beard, Anthony Bourdain, David McMillian, Christopher Kimball, and so on and so on... My list of books I'd like to read has drastically shifted towards the cookbook genre, and I'm currently in the midst of reading Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones, the book editor who is not only responsible for The Diary of Anne Frank, but also Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She's basically the reason we know anything about Anne Frank and Julia Child, two spectacular human beings who left their mark on history because Judith Jones believed in their stories.
It's interesting, as an adolescent I was obsessed with Anne Frank, I think the Diary of Anne Frank was one of the first books I read that was over 100 pages... Side Story: My grandmother bought me the unabridged version... note to readers... don't buy your pre-teen grandchild the unabridged version, it's not something they should be reading. Anyways... I have to admit, I think Judith Jones has played quite a role in making me who I am to day, whether I knew it until this very moment or not, first Anne and later Julia. I think she might be my spirit animal... just a theory.
As far back as I can remember cooking and food has been an important part of my life. I remember when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. It was a shock to my whole family. Thankfully, she's one tough cookie. Once she started feeling better, her immune system kicked back in, and I was allowed to finally spend some time with her we would sit for hours watching the food network. "Bam" became my catchphrase, and I dreamed of one day becoming a food scientist like Alton.
I have such fond memories sitting there watching show after show with her, we knew she was getting better when she asked for a stack of notecards so she could start writing down the recipes. Later we found the error to our ways of not getting her a complete notebook and just handing her a package of index cards... you see, she didn't really have an order to how the recipes went, she tended to put the ingredient list of a recipe on one card sometimes two, the preparation on another and maybe another, and failed to label any of the cards, and as she went she just threw them in the nightstand drawer and kept writing recipe after recipe, card after card, with no rhyme or reason. It wasn't until she was better that we felt the full effect of this disorganization... believe me you don't want to know what we ended up with on the table... just trust me... orange zest doesn't belong in chili, not even a pinch.
So I guess that's where it all started...
Today, my obsession stems from a desire to continue to evolve my own personal palate, develop and hone my skills, and learn about the heart and soul of the people I meet and the places I go. Something that has always fascinated me is that people from all walks of life, cultures, and history have the ability to set aside preconceived notions, to join together around a table, and eat, all the while learning from each other and getting to know each other at their core. (all of this is probably why Jerusalem: A Cookbook is next on my list of cookbooks to buy... hint, hint if anyone out there is looking for a gift to send me for no particular reason...)
So, because of this growing obsession of the culinary experience, I've decided to quit my job and go to culinary school!
Just kidding! Dad, did you just have a heart attack??
Anyways, because of this new obsession, I've been introduced to a lot of interesting things, I've learned a lot of interesting stuff, and I've started watching something other than every t.v. drama known to man... I'm not sure why the West Wing is so addicting, but it really is...
I now think one of the best shows created was Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown (now available on Netflix). Bourdain has been around for a while, I mean he's kind of a fixture in the culinary world with Kitchen Confidential, A Cook's Tour, No Reservations, etc., he's a controversial, bad boy of food. He is also kind of amazing, traveling all over the world, eating and asking questions, really good questions, showing us all what the world has to offer, its differences and it's dishes. It's like my dream life, international affairs and food? Does it get any better?
Another bonus in the Anthony Bourdain column is his love of Captain Crunch. I too have a slight problem with a cap'n crunch addiction. One of the best tweets Tyler ever sent me, and believe me he sends a lot, was the one below from Anthony to his wife...
It's really not that funny of a tweet, except that that's a weekly conversation around my apartment when I'm making my grocery list. I can chow down on some Cap'n Crunch.... So in honor of Anthony's (and my) love of of Captain Crunch I made Cap'n Crunch Crispy Treats! They're sweet, gooey, and delicious, and you all should make some...
measure out your cereal and butter your 9 inch round pan...
melt your butter...
then add your vanilla and cinnamon...let your butter get a little brown, the aroma should fill your kitchen...
add your marshmallows and let them melt until they're a smooth...
and this is where things get interesting... you have to work quick, quick, quick...
add the ooey, gooey, delicious goodness of the marshmallow mixture to the cap'n crunch, mix well, then pour into the buttered pan....
the next step is optional, but it's a good trick to flatten out all that stickiness, spray some parchment paper with pam and flatten out the marshmallow/crunch mixture...
let the cap'n crunch crispies cool in the pan for a bit, but don't let them stay there too long or they'll get soggy, and that's the last thing you need, slice them up and enjoy!
Cap'n Crunch Crispy Treats
4 heaping cups of Captain Crunch Cereal
1 10 oz bag of mini marshmallows (minus one handful... wonder where that went... I'll give you one guess)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
Measure out the cap'n
Butter the pan
Melt the butter until it's slightly brown and fills your house with some heavenly aromas
Add the vanilla and cinnamon
Add the bag of marshmallows to the melted butter and stir consistently until smooth
Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal and stir until well incorporated
Spread marshmallow/cap'n crunch mixture until it makes an even layer (don't forget my tip!)
Let cool slightly, until it's not sticky to the touch
Remove from pan
Slice them up and enjoy!