I live with a foodie. What is a foodie, you ask? A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food. One who watches Food Network with concentration and reads cookbooks with fervor. What does this mean, you ask? This means that intense culinary endeavors occur regularly in my kitchen. I am not opposed to this, just sort of dumbfounded. What I consider to be food, is merely ingredients to my foodie roomie.
This past weekend, which started out as a typical weekend included such typical activities as tennis and laundry and shopping. Sunday, after one of our favorite weekend activities of driving around looking at houses on the market (fortunately, this is an activity enjoyed by both architects and economists), Daniel asked if we could stop at the grocery store to “pick up a few things”.
Argh!...I hate going grocery shopping…especially on a weekend. I hate the narrow aisles. I hate everyone moseying around with their buggies. I hate never being able to find anything I’m looking for. Grocery stores just annoy me. He is aware of this, but we were already out and about, and he had a foodie plan gestating in his foodie brain.
So, we popped into Publix, snagged a buggy and had just started scoping out the confounding aisle signage, when Daniel hurriedly ducked down an aisle eyeing me to follow. I followed. While hidden amongst the chips and sodas, he hissed, “See that kid over there? That’s her daughter, so she must be around here somewhere” as he looked wildly around. “Her” in this case is often referred to in our household as “the one who must not be named”. She is Daniel’s co-worker and the bane of his existence. It has become his goal in life to have as little contact with her as possible. This goal made for an interesting shopping experience as he ducked and swerved amongst the aisles while I performed discreet surveillance updates.
We managed to escape undetected, but then had to stop by another grocery store to get the items that were deemed just too dangerous to attempt to acquire under the circumstances at Publix.
Foodies like complicated recipes. Yeah, I know, I don’t understand it either. In fact, the more complicated and labor intensive, the better. They openly scoff at culinary short-cuts of any kind. So when Daniel beamed at me that he had been reading reviews of some recipe from some chef from some show on the Food Network, and wanted to attempt said recipe, I knew it would be an event. I just didn’t realize the extent of the event.
Coconut cake. I am a fan of coconut and I am a fan of cake. Put them together and I am doubly happy. I’ve never made a coconut cake, but it never seemed like it would be too big of a deal. Right? I mean, you just get a Betty Crocker white cake, maybe throw a little coconut extract in there, add a tub of vanilla frosting and a bag of dried, sweetened coconut and call it good. THAT is what I define as baking. There is mixing involved, there is an oven involved and there is assembly involved.
When a foodie decides to make coconut cake, he does not go out and buy a Betty Crocker cake mix. He goes out and buys coconuts. Yes, whole coconuts. He then extracts the coconut juice, bakes the coconut, opens the coconut, removes the coconut meat, and shreds it to a fine and even consistency (this process alone takes a good 2-3 hours). He then proceeds to make his own coconut extract and coconut cream from fresh coconutty ingredients. The actual cake requires ingredients such as flour and sugar and egg whites and fresh coconut juice. The two cake layers are then sliced horizontally, sprinkled with more fresh coconutty goodness and spread with white fluffy made-from-scratch (not from a plastic tub) frosting and freshly grated coconut. I swear to god, this whole complicated coconut cake making process took, like, 7 hours.
He does this kind of thing for the “fun” of it. There was no occasion for the cake except for the pure challenge and enjoyment of accomplishing a cake such as this. I suppose foodies view cooking and baking as a creative outlet, instead of as a chore to be avoided at all costs - go figure. And as long as I can benefit from the creative efforts of my foodie roomie, I fully support culinary feats of divine deliciousness. Cuz I have to admit, that was the best damn cake I have ever had the delightful opportunity of tasting. Just call me a Foodie Fan.