I knew what this recipe was going in. You don’t see a recipe bragging about how few ingredients it uses and think “surely this will be delicious.” You think “It’s 1 AM and this looks like a vehicle to carry sugar into my body.” So none of what I’m about to say is on Ms. Davison, or her recipe.
There is a place in Terry Pratchet’s Discworld called the Great Nef desert. This is a desert so dry that even water isn’t wet in the Great Nef. Within this desert is the Dehydrated Ocean, a body of water in an uncommon fourth state of matter. This dry water forms silvery grains and resembles a powder more than a liquid.
There is a kind of wizard in Discworld called a hydrophobe. These wizards are raised from birth without ever coming into contact with liquid water. They are sustained only by the dry water from the Dehydrated Ocean. The result is a fear and hatred of water so ingrained that it allows these individuals to literally repel water, which is then used to power hover craft for crossing lakes and oceans.
When I first read this description in The Color of Magic, years ago, I wondered what kind of food the hydrophobes ate. When a hydrophobe sits down to their breakfast of corn flakes and a mummified orange, with what do they butter their stale, overdone toast?
Finally, in the pile of yellow dust I pulled from my oven after 7 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, I have my answer.
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“Aw man! This pie doesn’t taste at all like what grandma use to make! I’m must be a terrible baker:(“
Maybe! Or maybe one of many things might be different from the recipe you’ve been trying to follow
Baking is largely both a science, and bullshit. Anything from the altitude you’re at, or the mosture in the air, or the way you’re measuring ingredients (ie weight vs volume) can effect how your final result of what you’re making will come out. A few examples just in my grandmother’s Apple Pie recipe are
Her recipe calls for Crisco in the crust, but Crisco changed their formula in 2007, effecting the taste and texture of the crusts made, so adjustments have to be made to account for that
The Apple tree in her backyard is gone, and no apples sold commonly in stores are similar to whatever random variety she had, and there are over 7,500 known varieties of apples
Not all flour that you buy from the store is the same, and I’m not just even talking about like. Cake flour vs wheat flour. Even in the US the kind of regular baking flour differs depending on where you live, and where it’s sourced from
So will I ever make that Apple pie I remember fondly from my childhood? Probably not! Just gotta figure out my own thing that works.
I dunno why I made this post at 6am. Just shit to keep in mind next time you’re struggling with an older recipe I guess!
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