Saturday, March 28, 2015

Red Velvet Oreos and Key Lime Poetry...

I am a fanatic about Oreos.  I remember sitting on my broken down recliner in my apartment in Milledgeville some 14 years ago, with a cup of milk and 4 or 5 Oreos, dunking them in milk and hoping for the perfect dissolve ratio before eating the whole thing in one magnificent yalp. The chocolate, the filling, all hanging together just by a thread, else the whole cookie dissolves and you have to fish it out of the bottom of the cup (or it goes down your shirt, whichever).  I got so mad when, after gleefully purchasing the white chocolate dipped Oreos at Christmastime, to discover that the white chocolate made the Oreos undunkable.  They were useless to me then, and so, in a fit of depressed euphoria, as was my premedicated state in those days, I threw them away.

So I happened upon "Red Velvet Oreos" at the grocery store sometime in February, and I bought them... Red Velvet Oreos with Creme Cheese Frosting.  It had a date with a perfectly poured glass of milk just at bedtime... and so I bought some milk.  And got sick.  No milk for me when sick, so the milk sat in my refrigerator, bacteria multiplying, becoming some foul brand of yogurt, and I had to throw it out.  When I got over my combined ear/sinus infection (doctor said it was the Flu), I then had paid said doctor $160 dollars, and so I had no money to purchase a new container of milk.

So, after my health, my budget, and my milk supply met in unison, I finally poured that cup of milk and dunked my Red Velvet Oreo and waited the prescribed seconds for the milk to penetrate the layers of cookie and filling.  I actually figured out (either from Online or by sheer luck and genius) that I could use a fork, stuck in filling, to force the Oreo under (as Oreos float, leaving the top cookie exposed to air and not milk) to continue the saturation process.  I don't remember if I did that this time, although I didn't need to.  The Red Velvet concoction dissolved perfectly, and the flavor was spot on, a creamy, fantastic Red Velvet Cake in the shape of a cookie. I cannot recommend an Oreo higher than this.

Have you ever eaten something that made you want to write poetry? That made fireworks go off and your taste buds wake up and say "Why have you been stuffing tasteless mush into yourself all these years??"  I have had those experiences, and I've learned that the best foods come from those who put as much passion into their cooking as spices and seasonings.  I had a Javanilla Shake at Borders made by the most wonderful cook (Katrina, who is now at a hospital revising the notion of Hospital Food), and every single sip of the heavenly drink tasted as good as the first.  Even down to the bottom, where ice clumps were known to gather, turning everything into a watered down mess, it was evenly flavored.

And then there's the Honey Soy Salmon that the family owned Bangkok Grill serves in Covington, GA. You don't go into a place yearning for their Rice Cakes, but this one makes amazing Rice Cakes. I took some on my move to Dallas with me, to keep me awake. You can't eat and sleep at the same time.  But the Salmon...ohhh... that was a precious gift (my friend Gwen took me there as a going away meal).  I have made a close replica of it in my own kitchen, but the tenderness of it, and the soy, truly awesome!!

So today, with the first warm sun beaming down upon Dallas, I decided I was going to splurge, just this once, and go to Sweet Tomatoes and try their Banana Upside Down Cake they were advertising. It was mediocre... but, amongst the flavors which I experienced there (and read my prior blog about all those amazing flavors at Sweet Tomatoes in Addison, TX.) I found the Key Lime Muffin.  Sweet and soft inside, and tart and Crispy, with the right amount of sprinkled sugar on top... all the parts of my tongue and mouth were awake and aware and understood their function in life.  I only had one.  I only needed one.  I understand now the idea that cooks have when they bring out their culinary masterpieces, and it turns out to be some little dinky piece of something with something swirled around for decoration.  Their attempt, whether it succeeds or not, is to provide an instant shock of flavor and recognition of genius, and then let the signals enter the brain and form new neurons of memory, recorded for all time.  It matters not that the stomach is full, but rather that the mind is full.  You can go to any Chinese Buffet and eat enough that your stomach is ready to burst out of your skin, but what of flavor? What of the memory of that meal?  It is forgotten by the time you leave the parking lot (possibly to be revisited later, which may or may not be pleasant).  But this, this muffin, I only have to have one of them for the engram to be recorded forever into my skull.  I hope it's not a limited time thing, as Sweet Tomatoes often does, as I will want to sample those fireworks again.  

Oh, to work at the kitchens of that company, to invent the things which mouths will record and brains remember for years to come!  If that is not a chef's dream, to live in immortality through the food they create, then I don't know what is... We all strive to create things.  Some have babies, others have books or music or art.  I have a blog, my brother has a son. Chefs have something that maybe only musicians have, an art form that is temporary, where the notes are produced and soar through the concert halls and into the ears, where those signals are captured forever.  And that, if they are lucky, is immortality.  Chefs do likewise, through the signals the mouth and tongue create when they bite down into that Honey Soy Salmon, or that Key Lime Muffin, or the Red Velvet Oreo.  Somewhere, the inventor of that Oreo can be grateful that he or she can live in the recorded sensations in people everywhere, as they dunk the cookie in milk, and then, with eager anticipation, and urgency, pop it into their mouths.

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