Tuesday, December 22, 2009

B- or D-

On Sunday, I cooked noodles for a few friends from college and Google. Yesterday, on the phone with my parents:

Me: "I did a noodle bar last night for friends. I let people pick their own toppings: bbq pork, enoki mushrooms, tofu, spinach, bok choy."

Dad: "That sounds good."

Me: "The toppings turned out well. But I messed up the noodles. 5% were undercooked, and 5% got burnt."

Dad: "The 5% that's undercooked can just be thrown away. But the 5% that's burnt will end up making 20% of the noodles taste burnt."

Me: "I know. I think the meal was only a B-. It's bad because whenever my friends cooked for me, it's always been A+."

Dad: "What was that: B- or D-?"

Me: "B-."

Dad: "Can't hear you. B- or D-?"

Me: "Actually, you and Mom would probably think it's a D-."

On IM, talking to my friend "Potato" in China:

niniane: i think my food was only a B-
potato: do you feel bad because your friends hold parties with catered food?
niniane: oh God, I forgot about the catered food.
niniane: No, it's because when they cook for me, it's always A+.
potato: maybe they have a different grading scale than you
potato: like, maybe they thought your food was a C
niniane: Is this supposed to make me feel better??
potato: but they think other people's food is just a B, so the difference is not as great
niniane: Oh ok. Hope so.

Despite this, I immensely enjoyed cooking for my friends. I'm going to do it more often! It is pleasantly domestic.

One day, I want to grow vegetables in the back yard, such as basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn. One step at a time.


ArC said...

Food you've grown yourself is more satisfying even if it didn't taste fresher.

(and it usually does. Though you do have the benefit of the outstanding MV farmer's market*... Anyways, try growing heirloom tomatoes, something you can't get at Safeway. Except you can get heirloom tomatoes at Safeway nowadays. You know what I mean.

* man, I miss the MV farmer's market *a lot*. Esp in the winter.

Anyways, herbs are delicious and easy to grow, I find. Except dill, which attracts aphids like crazy.)

As for cooking, there are some books I quite like that take a bit more 'science-y' approach as well as providing recipes (like, say, Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here For The Food" or Harold McGee or Cook's Illustrated), but one of the biggest things I've learned - and not that long ago! - is that simply that tasting as I go and evaluating what if anything is missing** is a super important part of developing the best final results.

** like acid - a tiny bit of lemon juice or something is often helpful to fill in flavour balance.

As for burnt noodles, {shrug}, I'd guess that's pretty much just a matter of turning the heat down next time.

Niniane said...

It was not a matter of turning down the heat! I should've started with more water, and also stirred more often at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Tasting along the cooking process immensely improves the results. But girls can't really do that. You want us to look like all the fat chefs out there?

Justin K said...

"One day, I want to grow vegetables in the back yard, such as basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn. One step at a time."

You can start doing that on FarmVille. I'll help you fertilize them.

omar said...

the mushrooms were off the hook! and when i started peeling my orange into my bowl (full of food) and the sergeant looked on in horror, well, that was ace.