Monday, April 23, 2012

Noms: Brie & Prosciutto Flatbread


I'm going to go with another totally out-of-character post and talk about food.  I've already catalogued some of my feelings about cooking here; but in short, my relationship with cooking is an ambivalent one.  I love good food, and I also love making things.  But for some reason, these two interests have never quite come together.

It's also funny because I've had this particular disconnect in my life before: when I was a chemistry major for a hot minute back in college, I loved the chemistry on paper, but not in the lab.  It was fascinating how you could write out a reaction with two or three or five different chemicals - often toxic in their natural states - snap off a functional group there, form a double bond here, and boom: life-saving drug.  Simple, finite.  On paper.

But the realities of the lab aren't as elegant.  Waste compounds couldn't be ignored, they had to be taken to the giant brown flask that looked like something out of a horror movie villain's lab.  Reactions that should have worked, didn't; particles that should have gone into solution stubbornly sank to the bottom of their solvents.  Things that were so reasonable on paper got complicated in practice, and in the end, I wasn't cut out to be a chemistry major, no matter how much I liked those neat little reactions on the page.


So think I have similar feelings about cooking.  Whenever I try, I start with good ingredients and get excited and have this picture in my mind of what it should end up like, but I never really have fun with the process and the finished product falls short.  So I eat my disappointing casserole, or stir-fry, or whatever the hell it is that I thought was a good idea until I turned it into radioactive goop, and I make a mental note never to cook again.

Lumberjack's been trying to help me through this cooking fail of mine.  (The geniuses at Trader Joe's have been a great help in this department so far.)  I know from knitting that you just have to keep on practicing, but I also know through knitting that life's too short to voluntarily do things you don't like doing.  So I have a lot of mental arguments about the merits of Perseverance In The Face Of A Challenge versus Honoring Thine Own Inner Stubbornness, Which Is Pretty Well Entrenched And Doesn't Like To Be Poked.

And then, every so often, we make something together that is so simple and almost stupidly delicious that I feel a distant, faint shine of hope that someday I will not hate cooking.

This is that something.  We did leave off the pear - the pear we bought went rotten unusually fast - but the rest was spot-on.  I had to take pictures of it because it was so pretty.  Who knew I liked arugula?  Who knew brie melted and bubbled in such a cute way?  Why are you so delicious, oh little flatbread pizza?!

Okay, cooking, I'll consider going on a second date.  But I'm not promising anything.

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