Taking flour into my own hands.

bouncing milk

The classic "Milk Being Poured On Cereal At A Weirdly High Speed And Bouncing Off" shot.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a pretty good run of cooking for myself.  Not only has it led to healthier eating, it’s taught me a lot.  Basically, unless I want the same thing for dinner every night, I have to figure out a way to make something new.  As a result, my “utter obliviousness” in the kitchen has been ratcheted up to “marginal awareness”.  Yes!

That is, except when it comes to cereal.

Cereal – breakfast cereal, milk’s true counterpart – is a love and a weakness of mine.  It’s delicious, vaguely healthy, stupidly easy to prepare, and a stand-in for virtually any eating occasion.  On most days it’s my first thought in the morning and my last step before going to bed. If eating it were a sport, I may just be the all-time leading scorer.  (Consequentially, if eating cereal were a sport, how psyched would the people at Wheaties be?)

This all begs the question: If it’s all so great, what’s my problem? 

muffins

Why pass this up?

Basically it’s this: since cereal takes up a third of everything I eat, there must be a ton of stuff I’ve been missing out on.  How many opportunities to make a batch of muffins or a loaf of bread have passed me by?  As it stands I have no clue how to deal with anything that has flour as an ingredient – whether it’s a birthday cake, a pancake, or a crabcake.  Why keep hiding behind dry, weird little flakes when I can be enjoying the good stuff – warm, fresh from the oven baked goods – and learning while I do it?

I’ll tell you why: it’s easier, it’s safer, and I have an irrational fear that all things baked are completely reliant on heaping spoonfuls of butter, sugar, and other things I generally try to keep in check.  Well this is where the fear ends.  Starting today (last week, actually) I’m no longer using cereal as a crutch.  It’s time to finally figuring out what these “grains” are all about.

My first attempt was actually over the weekend, when I made pumpkin muffins with Laura.  Everything started out okay.  The recipe seemed alright – simple enough, healthy enough – adapted from this recipe by Martha Stewart (or one of her minions, most likely).  The problem came when I thought the batter could use another spoonful of pumpkin puree in it.  Then another.  Then another.  Apparently, if your pancake batter is half pumpkin-mush, your pancakes are going to turn out like little disks of pumpkin-mush.  Whatever – the flavor was there.

Anyway, just because the first trial was a failure doesn’t mean I’m giving up.  It just means I’m using less puree next time.  I will be back, pancakes.  I will be back.

Anyone got a  good recipe to start me out on?

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2 comments on “Taking flour into my own hands.

  1. Lo says:

    This recipe for whole wheat waffles looks awesome. And it has whipped egg whites in the batter (I happen to know you’re a fan of this).

    http://deliciouslyorganic.net/whole-wheat-waffles/

  2. […] It’s been a long time coming, but I finally made pancakes this morning.  The decision was made over beers last night.  My roommate, Dan, suggested Sunday pancakes, and I realized I had no grounds to argue.  Pancakes had to be done.  After consulting one of my favorite food writers, Mark Bittman (more to come on him later in the week), I got to work. a sign of good things to come […]

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