Blogging 101’s latest assignment: Being Inspired by the Community
Late last evening, I read this post by @poonadmitra, and it sparked a discussion, a follow, and a whole bunch of thinking about food, cooking, Gordon Ramsay, and the great apple crisp/apple crumble debate.
True story: my husband went to school with Gordon Ramsay. Or, more precisely, they were at the same school for a year, before Gordon left because he got drafted by the Glasgow Rangers. I don’t believe they actually knew each other. Or rather, my husband knew who Gordon was; there’s no evidence that the reverse is true. Still, Gordon is like family, because I’ve had bizarre dreams involving needing to cook for him and his mum. I feel a peculiar kind of bond with the man. There’s no evidence that the reverse is true.
I was introduced to Gordon via the television, of course. I think it was the original (British) “Kitchen Nightmares”. And then “Hell’s Kitchen” (which, meh), and then “The F Word” (which, awesome), and then the American “Kitchen Nightmares” (which, back to ‘meh’ again). The man knows food. He’s a brilliant chef. I want to eat his cooking. But I can rarely get my head around trying his recipes.
I’ve had a look at his cookbooks and found them confounding. Nearly every recipe required an obscure ingredient or a tool that only a professional chef would use more than once a month, or gilded the lily in some way. The caramel purée in the apple crumble video linked in the post mentioned above. The crème fraîche in his brilliant scrambled eggs video, which isn’t at all common in my part of the world, so I usually end up using sour cream instead, unless I’ve been to the gourmet shop. You get the idea. Brilliant chef, not easy to emulate.
Food and Cooking
I love food. I’m less keen on cooking, though I do very much enjoy having cooked. I might enjoy cooking more if I lived with a more adventurous eater, or a keener cook. Something we do enjoy is cooking together, which mostly involves me doing the majority of the prep (except onions, which he does, because they don’t make him cry) and him combining ingredients over a heat source, or manning the grill while I fetch, carry, and clean up as we go. Our favourite thing to cook together is Indian food, which we’ve found is best done by at least a couple of pairs of hands. Cooking an Indian meal — or even one dish — usually results in a crowd of large canning jars of spices on every available flat surface, and super-tasty dinner.
Just talking about this is making me want a real homemade curry now. Yum.
The Great Apple Crisp/Apple Crumble Debate
Apple crisp was my favourite dessert as a kid, and I was thrilled to find out it’s so easy to make. Much easier, in fact, than Gordon’s video would have one believe. My mom made the topping with butter, flour, and sugar in a ratio of 1:2:3, and we called it “apple crisp”. I discovered at dinner at a friend’s house that they called the same dessert “apple crumble”. Later still, I ordered apple crumble in a restaurant, only to discover the topping contained oatmeal, and was the opposite of crisp. And Gordon, dear Gordon, added muesli to his topping!
The butter tart debate (raisins or not? pecans? walnuts? no nuts?) can get pretty heated, but mostly involves just us Canadians. The crisp/crumble-oatmeal/no oatmeal debate, with its international reach, rages on.
What is your standard of apple crisp or apple crumble? What goes into your topping? Have you personalized the recipe in some way? What do you think of Gordon Ramsay?