lundi, février 19, 2007

Store-bought bechamel and other demons

After a "meh" day at work, I headed home and occupied myself with writing up the more "theoretical" blog post for last saturday. This took a lot longer than one might expect, since I was fleshing out some ideas that will hopefully be useful in the future for my doctoral project. Also, when you're wrestling with slippery concepts like "intimacy," things can get out of hand easily.

Anyway, I knew that this was going to take most of my night, so I stopped by the Franprix near my place and bought a stack of near-ready-made food. I had missed lunch, so when I got home I fixed a sort of high tea with a baguette sandwich filled with mustard, mayo and PRECOOKED, "SLICED," AND "SEASONED" CHICKEN BITS. To the manufacturer's credit, it doesn't taste all that awful. Nonetheless, there's something really creepy about bringing home a plastic bag the size of a potato chips container and tearing it open to find random chunks of cooked chicken meat with "provençal" spices scattered around. My original plan had been to buy a freshly roasted chicken from the butcher around the corner, but he's apparently closed on Monday. Bastard.

Later that evening, I made a quick Italian salad out of tomatoes and buffala mozzarella, with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt. It was probably the best thing I ate all night. Late that evening, around 23h00, I was still feeling peckish, so I boiled up some rotini and poured over a box of pre-made béchamel sauce. Now, I've made lots of béchamels in my time, and I've never made anything this oddly rubbery. On the one hand, the sauce was incredibly thick. However, it was the wrong kind of thick. All the xanthan gum and whatever else they put in there made it really shiny and almost elastic, rather than flour-and-cream thick. From reading the contents on the label, it was just reconstituted whole milk with a TON of thickening agents. Bleah.

So ends my evening of culinary shame. The tomato-mozzarella salad was quite nice, but everything else was a bit embarassing. If only that butcher had been open!

2 commentaires:

Marie a dit…

speaking of bechamel, there was a question last night at trivia which went something like "named for an [18th?] century French courtier, this sauce's main ingredients are milk, butter and flour"...and I thought it was so easy, but no one else on our team knew the answer, and judging from the clapping when they read the answer out loud few other teams knew either. What's wrong with the US? Maybe the problem is that they like to give things boring obvious names like "white sauce"...

LMGM a dit…

Go Marie! I'm glad you were there to provide culinary support for the team. =] But yeah, if you say "cream sauce" you'll be understood, but béchamel doesn't seem to be a common term there. My mom always used to make cauliflower gratiné with bechamel, so I grew up knowing the sauce.