Saturday, January 22, 2011

Platonic forms

I've been searching for the ideal dessert. I like to believe that I'll know it when I eat it, so I figure I'll just make lots of desserts and see what pleases me the most. So far, the front runners include my standard strawberry tart, grapefruit cassis, and macarons. (I find La Boulangerie's to be the best in Chicago that I've tasted so far.)

Last week I saw Giada making angel food cake. It seemed like a nice, light dessert, so I tried it out. I like angel food cake because it involves lots of egg whites and sugar, like marcarons, but the yogurt honey sauce didn't seem to go all that well with the cake. I added fruits for garnish (blackberries one day, cara cara oranges the next at my parents'), but this didn't add or take away from the cake. Basically, while it wasn't bad, I will never make this again.

Next up: Ina Garten's coconut cupcakes. I really want cream cheese! I wonder how it will fare in comparison to Emily's frosting.

Unrelated to my desserts, but I guess it's a kind of dessert, or snack, is cotton candy, now apparently available on campus. Seriously? In January? It sells? Is class at UIC now like attending a sporting event?

Sleeping princess; sleeping fools
Certain corners of the Internet are in great debates about raising children. (Don't forget this take on the story.) What I find interesting about all of this is how in many ways, the discussion parallels dog training. Do you praise your children and let them be picky eaters; do you train dogs exclusively through positive reinforcement like Victoria Stilwell? Or do you call your kids garbage and make them practice piano without bathroom breaks; do you make your dog submit to you or expend their energy on treadmills like Cesar Millan? My mom let me be a picky eater and showered me with praises, but at the same time, a lot of Amy Chua's explanations in her WSJ excerpt made sense to me (and why it might not make as much sense to "Western" parents). And likewise, positive training works well with Mitsu, but with nipping/mouthing/biting, merely walking away and ignoring her briefly does not seem to cut it. I try to teach her "kisses" by rewarding her for licking my hand, but this process is usually preceded by unpleasant biting. How do I know she's not learning to bite, then wait for "kisses" command to receive treats? Puppy, please.


Marti said...

I've been seeing cotton candy all over the place, too! All of a sudden, a traveling cotton candy salesman is a regular fixture of Western Ave. It's very odd, and tempting.

Phoebe said...

In terms of Chua and dog training, apparently in the book there's a reference to the parenting of the actual family dog or dogs. But more importantly, this comment to a post about a poodle that walks on two legs (be sure to also look at the post) was some of the best commentary I've seen on that book.

Neda B. said...

I'm all about making desserts too- I like that you are on this quest- let me know if you find the perfect one. I tend to like creamier things myself- I really want to try to make Creme Brulee. I also love pastries like Napoleans and Canolis. Anyhow- just thought I'd share. I love this post.

I also like the comments on Western's interesting when you come from an Eastern background but were raised here in the U.S. I wonder what all of our kids will be like... :)

kei said...

Marti--Maybe it's to build up our appetite for when the weather is right. Sneaky businessmen!

Phoebe--You're right, I forgot about the two pictured dogs here. There's one Husky/Samoyed-like beast and one completely unidentifiable dog, which I remember made me think, "Is that how they treat this dog, too?" But then maybe I thought the "soft" dad took care of them while Tiger Mama took care of the human children.

Neda--The coconut cupcakes weren't bad, if you don't mind coconuts (I kind of do but made them anyway, lol). Creme brulee involves using that fire-shooting tool; seems cool and totally dangerous (at lest for me!)! You should post your creations; stomachs should feel good, too! lol :D