still not a chef
Example pumpkin pie recipe found through Google:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix one 15-oz can pumpkin, one 15-oz can condensed milk,
two tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, and two eggs in a bowl.
Whisk until smooth.
Pour into ready-made pie crust, bake for 40 minutes.
Oh, okay, that looks totally easy! Awesome. I can do this!
Germany! The following cannot be found in Germany:
Ready-made pie crust
Pumpkin pie spice
Devices using ‘cups’, ‘ounces’, or Fahrenheit as units of measurement
Clearly, there was no way this plan could go remotely wrong !! Clearly.
This pumpkin was, like, the size of a small cow, you guys. I mean it was MASSIVE. All the recipes I could find online (that didn’t just say ‘go buy a can of canned pumpkin, you nitwit’) were like “take your small sugar or Hokkaido pumpkin, six to eight inches in circumference, blah blah”…YUP WELL THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE IN THE BACKYARD SO DEAL.
Pumpkin! That stuff is crazy amounts of work, yo. Lobotomizing it was actually not as difficult as I’d imagined, and using the wonders of modern microwave technology made each round of giant hunks take about 25 minutes instead of an hour as it would be in the mini-oven. I ended up straining it through tea filters to get some of the water out (so watery!!), and then managed to get the food processor to cooperate, and then just as I was going YES I AM THE PUMPKIN MASTER ALL HAIL I discovered that, although Germany has no such thing as Pumpkin Pie Spice (Trader Joe’s, please come to Berlin. Do it. I am on my knees imploringly), they also are not huge fans of ground spices in general.
You need zimt, aka cinnamon? Here’s a stick!
You need muskatnuss, aka nutmeg? Here’s a large…whole…nut.
Okay, first of all, can we appreciate for a moment just how much the word for nutmeg in german sounds/looks like muskrat. I was lolling intensely throughout my baking adventure every time I had to get out the muskatnuss, because…MUSKATNUSS. I was picturing unacceptable muskrat with every instruction.
Also, fun fact: when you be grinding and peeling and grating these interesting plant products fresh, they are STRONG. I needed to use literally HALF as much muskatnuss as the recipes all called for, okay; fresh muskatnuss is MUTHEREFFING STRONG. Did I mention I was grating just whole round nuts and sticks and crap here. Making pie from scratch? FROM THE SCRATCHIEST OF ALL MADE FROM SCRATCH.
Then, since Germans do not bake pumpkin pies or apple pies or any pies, there was no pie pan. There was nothing that resembled a pie dish. T ended up getting me the closest thing they had, which was a super-wide, super-shallow pan thing meant for making the sponge cake bottoms of fruit tarts. Okay, so the pie would be really shallow. Fine.
Have you ever played Myst and/or Riven and/or excavated the ancient ruins of Xerxe’s library and/or visited an extraterrestrial pictorial culture? Then you will be perfectly familiar with how to work the oven here!
As it was, I was drawing copies of the various pictographs on the back of receipts and showing them to Hill over skype going BUT DO YOU THINK BOX WITH TWO HORIZONTAL LINES OR SQUARE WITH THREE TRIANGLES MEANS ‘BAKE’ ?!
We could not figure it out. We made our best-educated archeological deciphering guess.
It was the wrong guess, one that went on to have deeply tragic consequences in the near future, but there you go.
I whisked and rolled and flouring and pressed and mixed and WHOO I AM A BAKER CHECK ME OUT and Hill was the best advisor ever and mom serenaded me with ukulele covers and it was so fun to have all my skype lovelies so I wasn’t alone for six hours in the kitchen! And after I put the pie in the oven and converted F to C and all was going well, there was suddenly SMOKE coming from the pictograph oven.
Because the top of my pie was ON FIRE.
See, later we learned that I had chosen the bake-from-the-top-or-caramelize oven setting, and hence the crust was not baking in the slightest, while the oozy orange top was developing a crystallized shine FOLLOWED BY FLAMES.
So, threw open the windows, pulled that baby out of Pictograph Oven, flailed…aha, if you peeled the top blackened layer off, all was well underneath! Fresh start! Back into the oven.
Long story short, the pie was 1.5cm thick, .5 cm being borderline raw dough and 1cm being LIKE EATING A RAW WHOLE MUSKATNUSS.
Delicious. I am starting a business as a pseudo-drug mule importing pie crust and pie pans and pie spice into this barren culinary wasteland! In the meantime, I am staying out of the germnanic kitchen.
I leave you with my COOKING IDOL, ==Käptn Blaubär==
Ja, he has my style.