Sunday, September 26, 2010

You are what you eat

If that sentiment rings true, then I am *not* day-old bread.

The question in, er, question is leftovers.

Growing up, leftovers were consumed on a weekly basis. One night, typically a Saturday or Sunday, Mom would declare it "leftover night" or "everyman for himself."
Fights would ensue over the least offensive leftovers, the ones that had been prepared most recently or simply the favorite meals from the previous week.
All the tupperware was pulled out of the fridge, opened and lined up along the counter-tops. Sort of like a buffet, and you were given the freedom to mix and match dinners.

Spaghetti with a side of leftover chicken? Go for it.

Pizza and greenbean casserole? Knock yourself out.

Sticky rice and applesauce? Shine on you crazy diamond, Anything goes!

Then there were the weeks that, for my mom, were culinarily inspiring and weeks would go by before we would have a "leftover" night.

Those were simultaneously the best and worst weeks. The best because dinners were different each night, the worst because it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.....

Clean out the fridge night.

And this, my friends is where I'm suspecting my aversion to leftovers began.

It started in all those tupperwares of mold, funky juices and smells and has transcended to the point where I can't face leftovers without imagining a science project waiting to happen.

Now, to clarify, I'm not totally opposed to the idea of leftovers.

I realize that they're economical and smart, and frankly the key to survival when cooking for...well any number of people.

My single friend AB claims that without leftovers, she'd buy lunches and dinner most days of the week, while my other friend AG (who is married with two kiddos) also admits that if it weren't for leftovers, she'd throw in the "cooking towel" altogether, even though she won't eat them herself.

Like I said, I'm not totally opposed to the idea of long as they aren't more than a day past their prime.

I absolutely refuse to eat anything in a tupperware that has been there for more than a day since it was initially cooked. Which means, I'll only eat leftovers the day after, THAT'S IT.

Wanna try to make me eat leftovers older than that? I turn into a four-year-old masquerading as a fully developed, mature 25-year-old. I'll whine, complain, refuse, then gag when you force me to try it and then cry.
Yes, I'm totally a grown up...

Oh and if the fridge has any odd or funky smell? I won't eat anything in it. Period.

This doesn't mean food goes to waste at my house, I simply only make enough for two maybe three servings. Why? I don't like the smell of old food, and I am POSITIVE that leftover spaghetti, chicken, rice what have you will have its revenge on me by way of a horrible bout of food poisining. (Have I ever had food poisining? No! Have I even so much as had the stomach flu or 24 hour tummy bug in 4 years? NO!)

So my question is this (yes I had a point, betcha didn't think I was gonna make it didja?!)
Why is it that there is a phobia for people who have averstions to things like bacon, cheese or tomatoes (of all things! Those nutcases) but there is no name for having a phobia against leftovers?

Not having a name for my phobia just makes it sound silly and irrational....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Great Candybar debate

This was the conversation that sparked a pre-movie science experiment-

Husband: "Were you there awhile back when someone said that Snickers and Baby Ruth are basically the same thing?"
Me: "Uh yeah, that was *me* that said that. Because THEY ARE"

This conversation sparked a great debate which resulted in disecting both brands of tasty treats and doing extensive observation and taste tests.

That Snickers and Baby Ruth are made up of the same basic components; Nougat, caramel, peanuts and chocolate

Scientific Process:
First, we observe the exoskeleton of both specimens, of course both are immediately identified by their external markings. The Snickers has a very obvious chocolate swirl with a glossy finish while the Baby Ruth has a lumpier exterior and a matte chocolate coating.

Exhibit A: Snickers

Exhibit B: Baby Ruth

Next we dissect both specimens and take note of their components.

Notice the Snickers has a thin layer of a peanutty nougat followed by a thick layer of peanuts encased in caramel. The caramel and peanuts make up the majority of this bar.

Meanwhile, the Baby Ruth has a thick layer of a similar peanut/caramel nougat, which epicurious says is more like a fudge as opposed to the light, fluffy Snickers nougat. The fudge-like nougat is wrapped in a light layer of caramel which is then rolled in peanuts and encased in chocolate.

Need to see them again, side by side?

After our initial observations, we attempted to get a better idea of the differences in nougat by further dissecting the candy bar to isolate the nougat to sample. This is easier said than done because Snickers tends to melt fast and the layer of nougat is thin and fluffy and difficult to isolate. So we just ate them both:

So after much deliberation, we determined that, yes, both candy bars are made up of the same essential ingredients, however the difference in taste comes from the fluffy nougat of the Snickers, versus the more fudge like consistency of the Baby Ruth and the amount of caramel to nougat ratio.

Now that's science in action people!