Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On the mastication of bones, and mid-night brainstorming

Jeremy and I decided to go to bed fairly early last night. We had planned to go to a movie but, upon completing a mediocre dinner out, we gave in to our old-fogey-ness and skipped the movie to go home instead (after a quick stop at the bookstore).

He has just returned from a comic convention in North Carolina, and his returning flight was such that he'd been up since the wee hours of the morning (after some late and ruckusy comic-book-geeky nights previously) so he was ready to crash. I was fairly wired for the trip home but as soon as my eyes spotted the nice warm covers I was a slave to sleep. It was nice to get some rest... while it lasted.

Around 3:30AM (which is the time that my brain likes to wake up and be super manic if I so much as stir while sleeping) I heard a loud crash from across the room. I listened quietly to discern which animal had done what terrible act and sure enough, moments later, I heard a very low "Mrrrrrrerrrremrrr..." This is the sound of our tomcat mumbling a growl around carefully mouthed, fuzzy body of a mouse. I'd know that sound anywhere.

Harrison often loses his mice while trying to play with them, so I figured I'd let it play out a minute. Unfortunately I started to drift off to sleep again (all the while my brain going "Hey! You're falling asleep again! That's cool, you can't normally do that this late in the wee morning. In fact, normally you're stuck thinking about what you need to do today, and just think of all those things you need to do today... you need to teach later, three lessons, what are you going to do in each lesson? hmmm..." et cetera...)

Just as I hit that critical moment of sleep that accompanies brain-shut-uppedness, I hear it... "Scrunch, squish, crunch, crunch, squish..." To anyone who has ever done small animal taxidermy, this is the high tambered, gristly sound of a rodent skull being slowly cut into... or masticated, in this case, by Harrison. He doesn't normally eat his mice, so the shock of this was jolting enough that I quickly found myself out of bed and chasing him around the room, mouse body complete with stringy brains hanging from his mouth and dragging all over the floor. Finally I caught him and shook him around a bit until he spit the poor ragged body out onto one of my sweatshirts. Ew.

My cat: The Zombie.

Anyway, after this, attempting to sleep was pretty futile for a while. I lay in bed quietly daydreaming of pastries and sweet, of how I'm going to arrange my market booth and how I'm going to display my baked goods. It wasn't a bad experience, but it definitely would've been more welcome at a time other than four in the morning. I eventually managed to get back to sleep right before the sky began to lighten, and then of course I was greeted by the Bremen town musicians chorusing below my window, complete with ducks, roosters and sheep.

Now that I'm awake I have decided to spend the morning scribbling my own personal recipes onto index cards, denoting whether they are cake base, frosting, cookie, confection or tartlette recipes in the corner for quick and easy recognition.  It's been a while since I've done anything with index cards. I admit that laying them all around me after I've completed them is a satisfying way to quantify how much work I've put into developing recipes so far, since beginning this whole baking endeavor. I refuse to use recipes from other people unless I've done quite a bit of tweaking and altering. Instead, I've been reading up on baking chemistry and taking inspiration and ideas from other recipes to sort of set me in the right direction. The one exception of this is probably the Miette double chocolate cake (Oh god. So good.) but it's not likely to be a cake I actually get around to selling, as I have some excellent alternatives to it that are slightly less labor intensive. It's more of a cake to show off to your friends with... :)


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