Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How I Bear the Shame of Total Crap Cooking

Dear Food Television Personalities,

I have a horrifying confession of horribly horrible horror that I simply cannot keep to myself a moment longer. The horror is too great for one woman to bear alone.

The horror.

Please make sure there are no young and easily frightened children standing behind you before you scroll down to read this next statement. I won’t have that on my conscience along with everything else. I can’t.

Because what I have to tell you is... I own and use white truffle oil.

For the longest time, I was under the unforgivably foolish impression that it was just an ingredient. Granted, its liquid state combined with a transparent and decidedly non-fungal appearance had led me to suspect it was not a real truffle, but I was all right with that. Of course, I was also under the impression that it is okay to cook with and eat things for no better reason than you like the way they taste. Little did I know

and I should just count myself damned lucky that I have any friends left.

Apparently, what makes white truffle oil the abomination that it is in the eyes of all who stand for right and good and have any shred of common decency is, according to one well-known food television personality, the fact that “truffle oils are made by perfumists that have no white truffles in them”. Before I read that, it had never even occurred to me to question whether or not my perfumists might have truffles in them. I just didn’t realize it mattered what the people making my oils might have had for lunch.

But once I started questioning things, I found I couldn’t stop.

If white truffle oil is not the same as actual truffles, what other things might not be the same as other things?

Through exhaustive research, I uncovered the astounding fact that candy canes and fresh mint leaves are not the same thing. It explained a great deal about why my herbal infusions tended to be so crunchy and oversweet, but sadly I will now have to find other ways to grow my own Christmas tree ornaments.

Russet potatoes and Creamy Mash are also not the same thing. Thankfully, with this knowledge in my possession I can count on my chips and dip being considerably less indistinguishable from one another the next time I’m invited to a potluck. If there is a next time. I can only hope.

And slowly, as I waded deeper into these terrifying yet irrefutable truths, the real question began to form in my mind, the answer to which might forever change the everything of everything that I ever do with food ever again.

Are all things... perhaps... not other things?

I closed my eyes and mind as quickly and tightly as I could, but no amount of refusal to see would change the truth I could now never un-know. Things are, in fact, not other things. Things are what they are.


I’m not sure how I will proceed from this point, or what I will do with this case of Jell-O instant pudding that I had such high hopes of using in place of Tahitian vanilla beans. It will be a relief to no longer feel compelled to store my containers of white truffle oil in the calcareous soil at the base of my neighbor’s oak tree, since clearly that was never doing any of the good I thought it might anyway. Beyond that, I just don’t know. But if knowing is half the battle, not knowing must be the other half, so perhaps all hope for me is not yet lost.

I really don’t know how to thank you.

An Avid Home Cook Who Has Never Poisoned Anyone Accidentally



  2. " Sincerely, An Avid Home Cook Who Has Never Poisoned Anyone Accidentally"

    So that time I was poisoned? That was an attempt!?!?

  3. Brian, I love how I can count on you to immediately pick up on these subtleties in my word arrangements <3

    Liz, Creamy Mash is proof that the Universe is progressing as it should. WOOOOO indeed.