Sunday, November 25, 2007

Culinary 911

A random remark on the true false SGA thread brought up a memory of baking Christmas treats.

Now I am a fairly good and often adventurous cook, willing to jump right in there with new recipes. The military gave me that attention to detail schtick, so I usually turn out whatever I am trying to make given an intelligible recipe, plus the correct tools and ingredients.

When we lived in Yokosuka, we taught English to our house owner's nephew's children on Sunday afternoons. They served us beverages and snacks, we brought treats, eventually this grew into a weekly Sunday potluck dinner. Larry even got the husband interested in cooking because "all the great chefs are men." The very next week he had a green tea sponge cake prepared; he'd bought new pans and mixing bowls just for his creation. We thought that was great, his wife was happy he had even cleaned up the kitchen afterward.

We were invited to a Christmas party the kids were having, they were teens by this time. I made a star cookie tree. You make a series of star-shaped sugar cookies from very large to very small. Each cookie was iced with hard poured icing. Basically you boil the icing, tint it, and pour it over the cookies on a rack. The icing hardens as it cools leaving a beautiful smooth surface. Then you stack the cookies and decorate the tree with candies and gumdrops and piped icing. I had a star on top and birthday candles on every "branch." It was a lovely cake! One of the fanciest things I'd done to date, and all in my tiny Japanese oven. The oven was really a fish broiler, don't tell anyone. I had to bake the larger cookies one at a time, and made enough I had leftovers.

The party rolled on with drinks and games and gifts. The it was time to cut the cake, or at least present it and break it into edible chunks. We dimmed the lights. We lit the candles. It was lovely. The sugar icing caught fire and the whole thing went up in a spectacular blaze. Good thing most Japanese kitchens have a fire extinguisher or the entire house could have gone up! Larry got it put out quickly, and then we could laugh. I did cry a little bit later, but I still had a plate of lovely, tasty very flammable cookies to share.

1 comment:

archersangel said...

cookie flambe!

too bad that happened. at least it was memorable.