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June 19, 2014 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse - sometimes you should read the comments, because they're an amazing trainwreck.
posted by desjardins (108 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
MetaFilter: Yes, lmaooooooo indeed, but you're not really helping things, guys.
posted by 256 at 10:52 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Oh my god. I proofread cookbooks for a living and I very often have to query authors about how long to freeze something in a baking recipe (or how long to store, cool, etc). I realize these are very nitpicky questions that many authors hate and I'm always afraid that we're one step away from devolving into... well, this. (Sometimes they write their query answers in all caps, and sometimes the "answer" is something like "DO I HAVE TO," so it seems plausible.)
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:57 AM on June 19 [12 favorites]


Looks like MeTa to me
posted by Hoopo at 10:57 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


...right, but how long do you freeze the cake for?

P.S. Free bananas in the kitchen !!!
posted by leotrotsky at 10:57 AM on June 19 [16 favorites]


I can't eat bananas, so please keep them out of the kitchen.
posted by xingcat at 11:02 AM on June 19


The irony is that it's a very nice cake idea - I'd skip the fondant, as fondant is nasty, but the number-in-the-middle trick is pretty neat.

This comment was in standard Metafilterian English - for the convenience of any Forum Trolls, I have translated it into Standard Internet Idiom :

FORZEN FACEBOOK BALLS TEAPUB!11!!lollbutts
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:05 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


THIS GAVE ME A GOOD LAUGH. ALSO I LIKE THE PART WHERE THERE WAS CAKE.
posted by Mchelly at 11:06 AM on June 19 [12 favorites]


The countdown clock until I'm banned from Metafilter for telling somebody to "take your 'Facebook balls' and your miserable personality out somewhere else" begins NOW.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:07 AM on June 19 [39 favorites]


Two separate meanings of the word "liberal" do not constitute a homonym.
posted by whir at 11:07 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


I look forward to the versions of that cake that make it to Pinterest Fail.
posted by winna at 11:07 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


So, how do you make the number part, in order to freeze it? Cause that's pretty slick.
posted by theora55 at 11:11 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I just wait until all of the liquid nitrogen is boiled off. You don't really want any liquid nitrogen in your batter and after it's boiled off things aren't going to get any more frozen.

The part about using liquid nitrogen was clear, right?
posted by ckape at 11:13 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


I...um...does this Albert guy not look at the internet ever?

Go to any mass-use website (local news stations are great for this) and read the comments. You can have a heartwarming story about a 3 legged dog with cancer who rescues a deaf child from drowning and 10 comments deep it will be nothing but "LIBERALS" and "AS AN ATHEIST" and some non-sequitur where someone starts talking about their children.

Like, it's funny because it's cake I guess, but this really isn't unusual.
posted by phunniemee at 11:13 AM on June 19 [13 favorites]


"Communists are extremely Liberal." Whoa. Perfect.
posted by marienbad at 11:13 AM on June 19


I read that yesterday because a bunch of my facebook people were talking about how hilarious it was and it did not seem hilarious to me at all. It seems like every other stupid argument by stupid people that shows up on virtually every story that allows comments regardless of whether or not the content is the least bit controversial. It's tiresome. I wish it were possible to turn off comments across the entire internet.
posted by something something at 11:14 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


Here's the recipe.
posted by Mchelly at 11:14 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


You make it till it's done, theora55. Doyyy.

(I was curious too, and it looks like you use a bunch of lined-up cookie cutter cutouts.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:15 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


If you are looking for a somewhat easier recipe, I suggest to you doughnut cake.

Comments are worth reading.
posted by jeather at 11:15 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


I didn't realise the Tea Party was monitoring international sites now too. Do none of them have jobs?
posted by fshgrl at 11:16 AM on June 19


Given any blog post with a comments section, and sufficient time, all comments will devolve into a battle of insults about something that has nothing to do with the original blog post.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:18 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Deadspin is a sports site. right? So is competitive snark at last recognized as the sport it is?
posted by jfuller at 11:19 AM on June 19


this is one case where the linked deadspin article was way better than reading the original material. i went those comments the other day after seeing a tweet about how funny it all was. but the comments had already devolved into a huge pile of shout and snark; i couldn't really find where the original argument had started. so props to deadspin for doing a nice job of distilling what happened.
posted by bruceo at 11:21 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in baking school, and I’ve been involved in numerous bake-offs, and I have over 300 confirmed cakes. I am trained in pastry arts and I’m the top baker in the entire bakery. You are nothing to me but just another tongue to blow away with flavor. I will mix and prepare moist and decadent delights for you with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my social network of bakers across the world and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life before tasting my confections. You’re going to fucking die for my baked creations, kid. I can deliver anywhere, anytime, and I can prepare dough in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in cake preparation, but I have access to the entire arsenal of a professional kitchen and I will use it to its full extent to create culinary masterpieces that will wipe your ideas of what was possible with baked goods off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy deliciousness your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will carefully layer fondant all over a cake until you feel like you will drown in it. You’re fucking tastebuds will be so happy they'll be dead, kiddo.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:23 AM on June 19 [69 favorites]


If you are looking for a somewhat easier recipe, I suggest to you doughnut cake.

Or, for something more nutritious, Paula Deen's recipe for English peas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:26 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Go to any mass-use website (local news stations are great for this) and read the comments.

My town's high school football team had a name similar to Redskins, so over the past few years there was a (successful) campaign to change it, with the opposing argument being "IT'S NOT RACIST BECAUSE SCHOOL SPIRIT!" so now when you go to the local news website and read any article about the town it will devolve into an argument about the name of the football team.

It seems us liberals have no school spirit, thanks to the Kenyan who takes away all the guns and the good football team names.
posted by bondcliff at 11:27 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I say fake cause not one comment was from that cute girl who makes 20k a month working from home.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:27 AM on June 19 [7 favorites]


Jesus, just for the effort alone, Sangermaine... +++
posted by Naberius at 11:28 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I feel bad for the poor Australian radio station. All they wanted to do was share their love of cake and their comments section got hijacked with people who don't seem to realize that cake is above politics. Does Australia even have a tea party?
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:30 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


"Given any blog post with a comments section, and sufficient time, all comments will devolve into a battle of insults about something that has nothing to do with the original blog post."

"It seems us liberals have no school spirit, thanks to the Kenyan who takes away all the guns and the good football team names."
posted by bondcliff

Damn Straight. You liberals and your Kenyan communist leader are ruining this great country.
posted by marienbad at 11:31 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Damn Straight. You liberals and your Kenyan communist leader are ruining this great country.
posted by marienbad at 11:31 AM on June 19 [+] [!]


Watch yer mouth, Frenchie cinema boy!
posted by jonp72 at 11:35 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Cake or death? Hmm, or politics, perhaps.

In other news, I have no idea what "Facebook balls" are.
posted by nat at 11:46 AM on June 19


Appropos of nothing, I'd frost and freeze the cake with regular, tasty frosting or yummy poured fondant (not some commercial slab of yukkiness.) Then, I'd paint it with fruit juices for the tie-dye effect.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:48 AM on June 19


I was in the mood for some kind of hobbit-y cake over the weekend and so found and baked this caraway cake. It was okay! Texture was more scone-y than cake. Think I'll try it again with either less flour or more liquid, and maybe do half caraway seed, half poppy seed.

this is where we talk about cakes right?
posted by curious nu at 11:49 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Here's the recipe.

I think the frosted cake without all that nasty fondant is way nicer. You cut into your boring white cake and SURPRISE CRAZY TRIPPING NUMBER CAKE.
posted by winna at 11:49 AM on June 19 [10 favorites]


I have no idea what "Facebook balls" are.

I think they're like beer muscles.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:51 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


From the way this article starts out, and from my stubborn refusal to actually click the link, I am going to assume part of the problem is that the proposed cake is actually impossible to make... a House of Leaves of speculative fondant and unstable batter.
posted by SharkParty at 11:52 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: You're fucking tastebuds
posted by tigrrrlily at 11:53 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


I have over 300 confirmed cakes

Hilarious
posted by popaopee at 12:00 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Surprisingly low on 'Hitlers'

For the record, I had to look up 'SMH', though to be sure (Shaking My Head per Urban Dictionary)

posted by mmrtnt at 12:06 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Farts
posted by blue_beetle at 12:08 PM on June 19 [10 favorites]


So, how do you make the number part, in order to freeze it? Cause that's pretty slick.

Seriously. This person can figure out how to make CAKE IN THE SHAPE OF THE NUMBER 5 but then can't figure out how to freeze it.

That was my takeaway.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:08 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


just another tongue to blow away with flavor.

Read this in John Goodman's voice

posted by mmrtnt at 12:11 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Wait wouldn't the inside cake be all dry and crumbly after being baked twice?
posted by sockermom at 12:20 PM on June 19


I think the frosted cake without all that nasty fondant is way nicer. You cut into your boring white cake and SURPRISE CRAZY TRIPPING NUMBER CAKE.


that's just the kind of thing a GOD-DAMNED ATHEIST HIPPIE COMMIE would say! You keep your SNEAKY SECRET DRUG CAKE away from my CHILDREN!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:22 PM on June 19 [11 favorites]


Wait wouldn't the inside cake be all dry and crumbly after being baked twice?

Not if you freeze it for just the right amount of time.
posted by CaseyB at 12:24 PM on June 19 [9 favorites]


curious nu: Well, it is now.

caraway cake looks intriguing
posted by seyirci at 12:25 PM on June 19


The cake is a lie.
posted by meowf at 12:49 PM on June 19 [4 favorites]


that's just the kind of thing a GOD-DAMNED ATHEIST HIPPIE COMMIE would say! You keep your SNEAKY SECRET DRUG CAKE away from my CHILDREN!

hay man don't oppress me I'm expanding ur minds with my psychedelic cake of peace.

it all arose because I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by boring cake, starving hysterical naked. don't lay ur trip on me.
posted by winna at 12:54 PM on June 19 [6 favorites]


I was kinda disappointed that the "****Note: I don't use Aluminum Foil as its got a coating on it that is poison." didn't go anywhere.
posted by achrise at 12:58 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WANTING TO START SOMETHING SOMEWHERE OVER SOMETHING, -- OR SOMEONE WHO REALLY KNOWS NOTHING

omg love
posted by fraula at 1:19 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I wanted to come here and make a comment screaming about stooooopid bitches, but I thought better of it.
posted by medusa at 1:52 PM on June 19


I am from the Federal Department of Cake Confirmation and we have no record, short-form nor long-form, of this cake.
posted by srboisvert at 2:04 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WANTING TO START SOMETHING SOMEWHERE OVER SOMETHING, -- OR SOMEONE WHO REALLY KNOWS NOTHING

There was something about that particular line -- and that whole comment by sparkysmom (it's the one that ended with BLESSINGS TO ALL- NANCY) that I kept reading over and over again because I was sure it was actually a brilliant parody of an Internet comment by the 21st century's greatest artistic genius, and then I decided it was actually an attempt at artifiial intelligence programmed only with newspaper comments, and then I just started seeing the wisdon in NANCY's words -- seriously there really IS always someone wanting to start something somewhere over something or someone who really knows nothing -- so I've decided that NANCY is the true prophet and now I'm going to follow NANCY and her CAKES for ALL TIME.

I MYSELF? AM VERY GREATFUL
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:14 PM on June 19 [20 favorites]


This is why I love old cookbooks. And old rudeness (often involving a more evocative vocabulary). "Bake until done" was not an uncommon type of direction in recipes. As for the comments...this is the other end of the (rainbow) spectrum.
posted by datawrangler at 2:24 PM on June 19


that whole comment by sparkysmom (it's the one that ended with BLESSINGS TO ALL- NANCY) that I kept reading over and over again because I was sure it was actually a brilliant parody of an Internet comment by the 21st century's greatest artistic genius, and then I decided it was actually an attempt at artifiial intelligence programmed only with newspaper comments, and then I just started seeing the wisdon in NANCY's words

MCMikeNamara, I follow that exact same process with GoldWave's amazon reviews.

It might be an exceptionally dedicated art project, or aliens attempting to communicate with us. I am not sure. I once read her entire review backlog in rapt fascination.
posted by winna at 2:30 PM on June 19 [7 favorites]


So here, as it were, baked into the very heart of domestic discourse, we find once again the advancing polarisation of American opinion of which we have all read so much...
posted by Segundus at 2:31 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: "Looks like MeTa to me"

Except that MeTas start with fighty rhetoric & snark and end with the cake recipes.
posted by chavenet at 2:32 PM on June 19 [17 favorites]


This is why I love old cookbooks. And old rudeness (often involving a more evocative vocabulary). "Bake until done" was not an uncommon type of direction in recipes.

My mom has one from the former Yugoslavia that I read for laughs because it is beyond vague. "Add a little of ingredient x", "you'll know when it's done," and my favorite, "Strawberry Jam recipe -- same as you make blueberry jam," amuses me no end. If I need a cookbook, then perhaps we should assume I need a little help in that department...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:36 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


I never read the comments (as I prefer to cling onto my faith in humanity for dear life) so given that MetaFilter is basically my comments benchmark this made me cackle a lot. This is what real people on teh internets are like? Cakes to Goddam Commies in about ten steps? Wow.

"For expert geopolitical analysis, we'll now turn to the comments under an Australian radio station's rainbow-cake recipe."

Joy!

MCMikeNamara, I follow that exact same process with GoldWave's amazon reviews.

Btw thanks winna for sending me down a new time-sucking rabbit hole. (Who knew buckets could be so amazing?)
posted by billiebee at 2:47 PM on June 19


I would love to reply, but I have to be at the bakery in 26 minutes.
posted by dr_dank at 2:53 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


The real beauty of this cake is that it has gone from being merely an existing number surprise rainbow cake to a uncollapsed probability function* number surprise rainbow cake.


*Assuming you accept the Copenhagen Cake Interpretation.
posted by srboisvert at 2:54 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Btw thanks winna for sending me down a new time-sucking rabbit hole. (Who knew buckets could be so amazing?)

billiebee you have no idea.

I have spent HOURS reading that woman's reviews about giant cans of pudding and the best way of saving them or detailed reviews of baked beans or whatnot. She is so earnest that she ascends to some lofty plane of ultimate irony. I have often wished I had some way of contacting her to thank her for bringing so much joy to my life.

Speaking of vague cookbooks, I scored Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire the other day and it may be my inadequate French or the fact it's a book for Real Cooks but the vagueness of its instructions is of a sublimeness incredible.
SAUCE BORDELAISE

Put into a vegetable-pan two oz. of very finely minced shallots, one-half pint of good red wine, a pinch of mignonette pepper, and bits of thyme and bay. Reduce the wine by three-quarters, and add one-half pint of half-glaze. Keep the sauce simmering for half an hour; skim it from time to time, and strain it through linen or a sieve. When dishing it up, finish it with two tablespoonfuls of dissolved meat glaze, a few drops of lemon-juice, and four oz. of beef-marrow, cut into slices or cubes and poached in slightly salted boiling water. This sauce may be buttered to the extent of about three oz. per pint, which makes it smoother, but less clear. It is especially suitable for grilled butcher's meat.
It's fun to read, but only the most intrepid soul would try to make things from it without a lot more dots in Cooking than I have.
posted by winna at 3:04 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


When no one was looking, Lex Luthor posted forty comments.
He posted 40 comments. That's as many as four tens.
And that's terrible.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:09 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


I should have read the OP alone, as I had to restrain my snorts of laughter and refrain from reading the choicer bits out loud to Mr. TheBRKP, as boy theBRKP is in the room watching Turbo.

Just fondant is boring. It needs decorations so an eccentrically rude person can remove and distribute them throughout the room.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:29 PM on June 19 [6 favorites]


the vagueness of its instructions is of a sublimeness incredible.

Huh I didn't find that vague at all, but I make a lot of sauces.
posted by The Whelk at 3:31 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Plainly The Whelk has invested more skill points in cooking! I need times and detailed measurements and exact temperatures or I get shaky in the knees over sauces.
posted by winna at 3:33 PM on June 19


When I dropped out of college I used by last bit of cash to get all the ingredients to make a quick cake, you know lemon cake mix, colored sugar, chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, dried cherries, whatever took my fancy, all dumped into the same mix. I also had various bottles of flavored food coloring that I poured in at random to make a odd marbled colored tie-dyed crumbly cake/bread mutant loaf stuffed with candy and fruit.

I called it Victory Loaf, and it was delicious.
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on June 19 [4 favorites]


"The Internet"
posted by young_son at 3:45 PM on June 19


A laden or unladen cake?
posted by clvrmnky at 4:14 PM on June 19


I don't get the GoldWave bit. I mean, it's slightly odd that anyone should devote a hundred words to describing their delight with the bucket they have purchased, but I'm assuming GW is kind of bored and a bit lonely. The reviews themselves don't seem especially peculiar; it's just that GW seems to apply the same amount of focus to describing their opinions of paint as some of us would to something more interesting. (How much odder still it is that I am writing about what GW wrote.)

I think I am probably sucking the life out of it by trying to figure it out. It IS a bit weirdly complete, but I think this is just a bored person's "hobby". Reviewing products seems to be a community activity for GW. I find it a little bit tragic.

Full disclosure: I, too have reviewed quotidian objects on Amazon. But the thrill is gone now.
posted by aesop at 4:36 PM on June 19


MCMikeNamara, I follow that exact same process with GoldWave's amazon reviews.

I can't stop reading these. I am fascinated by her cautionary rampage across all the Cento products on Amazon.
posted by pemberkins at 4:37 PM on June 19


My favourite vague cooking instruction occurred within the recipe for some Indian sweets called besan ladoo. My recipe told me that "they will be done when the mixture releases an appetising aroma". I was... dubious as to whether this instruction would be helpful. But I followed the instructions and cooked the mix of chickpea flour, ghee, sugar and spices on the stove top, until the mix suddenly released a fuck-off amazingly delicious aroma.

Vague cooking instructions for the win, people.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 4:41 PM on June 19 [19 favorites]


Just fondant is boring. It needs decorations so an eccentrically rude person can remove and distribute them throughout the room.
Ha ha! What you did there, I see it!

There's a couple of weirdos on 2 different Facebook groups about my neighborhood who will consistently derail almost any topic with this exact same stuff. It's another social virus I've identified.
posted by bleep at 5:30 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I don't get the GoldWave bit. The reviews themselves don't seem especially peculiar; it's just that GW seems to apply the same amount of focus to describing their opinions of paint as some of us would to something more interesting. (How much odder still it is that I am writing about what GW wrote.)

I genuinely find them compelling. I have found that people move through distinct stages as they read them, but they all end up almost as mesmerized as I am. It's a cumulative effect. One review is bewildering, ten reviews are a little sad, thirty reviews and you are hypnotized.

GoldWave is my own tiny fandom. I love her reviews and hope she never stops.
posted by winna at 5:53 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


It seems YOU are the rude one.

someone is wrong on the internet
posted by supermassive at 6:13 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


When I first clicked on the link, I assumed it was going to be some anti-gay tirade.
posted by desjardins at 6:54 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I'm dyin'. Thank you so much, OP.
posted by _paegan_ at 7:13 PM on June 19


This kind of thread de-volution is a daily--hourly--occurrence on reddit. And yes, there is a subreddit for subreddit drama, because there's a subreddit for everything.
posted by zardoz at 8:05 PM on June 19


This hair-pulling, eye-gounging slap-fight is lovely because we didn't do it on the gray.

But in all seriousness, how do you get the numbers in there? Is there like a mold that you fill before the notional frozen-enough? This is pretty cool, and my wife would love to own a set, I think.

(And on non-Preview, I see the answer is here in our comments. Thanks, non-Australians!)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:25 PM on June 19


WIWWP (= What Is Wrong With People)
posted by newdaddy at 8:32 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Just fondant is boring. It needs decorations so an eccentrically rude person can remove and distribute them throughout the room.

Nicely done.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 9:05 PM on June 19


winna, I've been reading GoldWave's amazon reviews today. At first I just thought this was regular run of the mill amazon reviewing, and then I read the review of Old Wisconsin Summer Sausage, Turkey, 20 Ounces and I am laughing so hard I am crying.

Wow; what an amazing bucket!
posted by inertia at 9:07 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


A cake commentary section isn't finished until it somehow references missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:35 PM on June 19


"Speaking of vague cookbooks, I scored Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire the other day and it may be my inadequate French or the fact it's a book for Real Cooks but the vagueness of its instructions is of a sublimeness incredible."

Maybe its because I have done a lot of kitchen work, but this made absolute sense to me. Which parts do you find vague?
posted by marienbad at 3:49 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Speaking of vague cookbooks, I scored Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire the other day and it may be my inadequate French or the fact it's a book for Real Cooks but the vagueness of its instructions is of a sublimeness incredible.
I think part of what makes the excerpt that you quoted seem challenging is a difference between European and American cooking instruction. For example:
"Put into a vegetable-pan two oz. of very finely minced shallots, one-half pint of good red wine, a pinch of mignonette pepper, and bits of thyme and bay. Reduce the wine by three-quarters, and add one-half pint of half-glaze ...
The American equivalent would indicate the size of flame that should be heating the vegetable pan. It would tell you to stir the ingredients in the first step, and keep stirring as you reduce.

European cookbooks assume that you know to do this and that when you are asked to reduce a sauce, you can make your own choices about heat, stirring, etc. based on the condition of your equipment.

American cookbooks list every ingredient that you will need at the beginning of the recipe, and will write their instructions like you're cooking in realtime, with the book next to you as you stir, slowly accumulating grease spots because it's too close to the stove. They're GPS for food preparation.

European cookbooks assume that you will read the entire recipe once before even prepping your ingredients, and you will absorb the approach and know what you will need before you even the heat the pan. You will only need to refer to the book from time to time to refresh your memory. It is a map that you study before you go on your trip.

American cookbooks assume that you'll need to be taught the recipe and some elements of cooking in a humane and friendly way, because cooking is tricky but also an integral part of a lifestyle and culture that the book wants to share with you.

European cookbooks assume that somebody else taught you how to cook and you need the recipe to understand the proper sequence of events for a particular dish. They are a working reference, and it's someone else's job to make you fall in love with the culture.
posted by bl1nk at 10:21 AM on June 20 [11 favorites]


Wow. That was just wow.

And, translation for winna:

SAUCE BORDELAISE

Ingredients:

2oz brunoise (very finely diced) shallots
1/2 pint good red wine
pinch fresh cracked black pepper
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf

1/2 pint plus 2 tablespoons demiglace (extremely reduced stock, usually beef, reduced to the point where it gels in the fridge and glazes on the plate when hot)
juice of 1/4 lemon
4oz beef marrow, cubed or sliced, poached

3oz butter for finishing (optional)

1) Into a saucepan add the first five ingredients. Over medium-high heat, reduce the wine by 3/4.

2) Add the half pint of demiglace. Reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 1/2 hour, and skim off any scum that forms on top.

3) Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and/or cheesecloth.

To finish:

1) Over low heat, add 2 tablespoons demiglace, the lemon juice, and the already-poached beef marrow

1) a) At this point you may optionally whisk in 3oz butter per pint of sauce. Do this over very low heat with very cold butter so that it will emulsify properly.

Serve with grilled dark meats, e.g. beef or goat.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:58 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


I think part of what makes the excerpt that you quoted seem challenging is a difference between European and American cooking instruction.

Yes, and maybe I should have picked a better example from the book, too. Or maybe I'm just dumb, which is certainly an option.
ALLUMETTES: Prepare a ribbon of puff-paste three inches wide by one-fifth inch thick, leaving the length to come as it will. Spread on it some very reduced Bechamel sauce, combined with two tablespoonfuls of grated cheese per one-half pint, and season with cayenne. Sprinkle the surface with grated Parmesan ; press the latter into the sauce by means of the flat of a knife; cut into rectangles one inch wide; set these on a slightly-moistened tray, and bake them in a moderate oven for twelve minutes.
I'm glad you all are brave and talented enough not to go BUH?! at these kinds of directions, but if I were going to make some kind of fancy breadstick of magic awesomeness I'd need directions like these, which are almost the same as the others except they are less 'obviously you were bred up in the great traditions' and more 'you were awed into incoherence the first time you saw someone make caramel from scratch'.
posted by winna at 1:02 PM on June 20


'you were awed into incoherence the first time you saw someone make caramel from scratch'.

This was a true thing and I suspected the person of secretly being a witch forever after.
posted by winna at 1:06 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


winna, I really hope this doesn't come across as condescending, because it really really is not.

The only thing missing from the allumettes recipe is how to make the puff pastry. Which, frankly, is an easy although severely time-consuming process. Unless you have a dough sheeter, which makes the interminable folding and rolling much simpler. Puff pastry is a jerk and a half to make at home; I just buy frozen puff pastry for home use.

Also a recipe for Bechamel, which is really easy. (Make blonde roux, a mixture of equal parts by weight flour and butter cooked together while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until a light golden colour, and the raw flour taste is gone. Slowly whisk in hot milk until you reach your desired texture. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Done.)

Slightly moistened tray could either mean lightly misted with water, or very lightly buttered/oiled, I'm not sure, but I'd probably go with water because there's more than enough butter in puff pastry anyway. A Silpat (silicone baking mat) would be better in any case.

The rest of the recipe (add cheese to the Bechamel, which is halfway to a Mornay sauce anyway, bake for X long) is pretty clear, I think? I'd consider a moderate oven to be anywhere between 300-350F.

(Disclaimer: I'm professionally trained, which is why neither of those examples leap out at me as being incomprehensible. If you really want to get masochistically annoyed, look at (modern English translations of because seriously) any medieval cookery books. Virtually incomprehensible at first read. And second.)

Don't get me wrong, I am totally with you on cookbooks needing to be clear and precise in their directions. The gold standard for me for a couple years now has been Ferran Adria's The Family Meal, which not only gives you timelines of when to start making what, but also provides photographs for every single step of every single recipe. I've given copies to friends who were, as you said, the sort of people awed into incoherence the first time they saw someone make caramel from scratch, and for the most part they're now confident home cooks who are comfortable improvising from time to time.

Then again, Escoffier wasn't writing for home cooks as they are understood today. He was writing for professional chefs and the truly talented home cooks, which aren't that thin on the ground in France.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:30 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


No, I get you. My last comment was more making fun of myself for being daunted and baffled than anything about people who can understand the recipes easily.

I've heard all my life that it was for Real Chefs, but I was a bit amused to find out how much that is true. It's a fun book to have and I have a good time leafing through it, but when I find things that I like in it, I just google for a peewee league version of the same recipe.

It's like all the home improvement blogs I love where the person does electrical work on their own. I'm amazed from my perspective of not being able to change the bulbs in my recessed lighting, but it's simplicity itself for people who know how.
posted by winna at 2:09 PM on June 20


Well then seriously, pick up a copy of The Family Meal. You won't be baffled because every ingredient is laid out for you, and you won't be daunted because every step of every recipe is described textually with an accompanying photograph.

You will build your kitchen confidence though, but I see that as a good side effect :)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:14 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


One the one hand both those Escoffier recipes make perfect sense to me despite that I hate cooking and am quite indifferent at it, on the other hand that fondant around the room joke makes no sense to me at all.
posted by shelleycat at 2:19 PM on June 20


shelleycat, fondant (of the type being discussed here; the filling in Cadbury Eggs, for example, is also a fondant) is basically a paste that tastes like cardboard, made from cornstarch and I can't remember what else because I refuse to make things that taste like cardboard in my kitchen.

At more than one restaurant I've worked at, parties have brought in special fondant-covered cakes (like the kind you'd see on Cake Boss or whatever other cake-centric show), and it was hilarious watching the plates come back. All cake nommed down. All fondant left as a sad little shell on the plate.

It's more useful as a wall decoration than as anything resembling food is what I'm saying here.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:24 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Seriously. This person can figure out how to make CAKE IN THE SHAPE OF THE NUMBER 5 but then can't figure out how to freeze it.

They didn't make cake in the shape of the #5. They made a cake loaded with food coloring and sliced it and used a 5-shape cookie cutter on each individual slice. That part is actually pictured in the recipe, whereas the freezing was not apparently. Thus, fights.
posted by Hoopo at 2:25 PM on June 20


Let's call fondant by its true name, Liar's Frosting.
posted by The Whelk at 2:38 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


This kind of thread de-volution is a daily--hourly--occurrence on reddit. And yes, there is a subreddit for subreddit drama, because there's a subreddit for everything.

You link to subredditdrama, but not subredditdramadrama? Which, of course, is a subreddit about drama on subredditdrama.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:39 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


And once again reddit disappears up its own anus, Ourobouros-style.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:43 PM on June 20


Fondant tastes like cardboard but marshmallow fondant tastes like marshmallows and is also easy as balls to work with. For those of you who want to make this cake but don't want to eat tie-dye cardboard.
posted by phunniemee at 3:13 PM on June 20


You're being really unfair to cardboard there, phunniemee.
posted by jeather at 3:13 PM on June 20


jeather, perhaps you didn't freeze the cardboard properly?
posted by phunniemee at 3:14 PM on June 20


Pretty sure the "fondant around the room" is a reference to some drama-filled askme from a few years ago. My vague recollection is that a party guest dipped her fingers into the (birthday?) cake and made a mess, and the asker was either the host or guest of honor.
posted by desjardins at 3:21 PM on June 20




You must be a liberal, phunniemee.
posted by jeather at 4:17 PM on June 20


Oh my god that question.

The thing is I think I remember when it originally came up but I've suppressed the memory for my own sanity.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:28 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure the "fondant around the room" is a reference to some drama-filled askme from a few years ago. My vague recollection is that a party guest dipped her fingers into the (birthday?) cake and made a mess, and the asker was either the host or guest of honor.

Oh now I remember that and now it makes sense.

And duh, I know what fondant is. I assume I'm bad at cooking because I don't care not because of lack of technical knowledge, because any time I talk about it with people it turns out I know lots of stuff they don't. Which is weird because ug, cooking sucks.
posted by shelleycat at 12:43 AM on June 21


And going back to read that thread I find this actually really great wisdom from dejah420 (who's cake was destroyed): "Sometimes it is difficult to remember that holding a grudge really doesn't serve any purpose other than giving you one more thing to stack in the "why I'm angry" cave."

I totally need to remember this sometimes. It seems like maybe some of the rainbow cake commenters do to.
posted by shelleycat at 12:57 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I am glad that dejah420 was able to be zen about her cake, but when I saw the pictures of how cute it was I wondered that anyone could bear to eat such a pretty thing, never mind destroy it in some kind of second childhood tantrumfest.

The little bees alone were miracles of cakeyness.
posted by winna at 1:00 PM on June 21


I can't believe that AskMe was from five years ago! I still think about that cake desecration from time to time, becoming momentarily furious on dejah420's behalf.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:54 PM on June 21 [8 favorites]


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