“Stop playing with your food!” We all have heard these words at some point in our lives. Usually it’s children who are on the receiving end of this advice and sometimes adults. I’m sure my mother told me this more than once when I was a kid. I always had a pension for playing with my food. But it was more about experimenting seeing what I could make with the ingredients I had at hand. One of my experimentation happen when I came home from elementary school one day. I probably was in 10 years old an in 5th grade. Mom always had a pot of coffee on the kitchen counter and the thought came to me. It was actually more like a “taste experience.” I saw the coffee and I could taste, “Coffee, Chocolate, Sweet, Creamy, Icy, Cold.” I had to have it. So I got out the blender, poured in some cold coffee, added some milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, powder milk, sugar, ice, and artificial vanilla extract. Turing on the blender I first learned cocoa powder doesn’t like cold liquid, it lumped up into little cocoa balls floating on top the liquid. But that didn’t stop me. I turned the blender back on until those little cocoa balls disappeared into the thick frozen slush that was swirling in the blender. Stopping the blender I took a spoon out to taste. Was it good? No, I’d needed to add more sugar. Another quick blend and taste and there it was. The flavors I’d imagined in my mind. Of course the noise of the blender attracted my siblings into the kitchen to see what I was doing. I explained I was using mom’s cold coffee to make a coffee shake and their reaction was “Yuck!” That was until they tasted it. But, it was mine all mine to enjoy.
You see I still play with my food. This experimenting with food has led me to my life’s passion and a career of Cooking and Baking. Imagining what combination of flavors would taste like together. I still have those “taste experiences” when seeing or thinking about food. As I’ve developed other culinary skills over the last 25 plus years I’ve be in the food industry. My palette has grown with experiencing other food flavors of other cultures and cuisines. Helping me have a larger store to draw from when trying to interpret a recipe to suit my imagination.
If I only knew when I was 10 years old that people would line up one day to pay $4 plus dollars for a concoction I would make with moms cold coffee when I was younger. I’d be rich.
These days I use my Breville Double Boiler to pull a double shot of espresso, add a ounce of dark chocolate syrup, a couple of good glugs of half & half, ice, and a touch of pure vanilla extract and into the blender it all goes and whirls away until smooth and creamy. Just like I’d imagined when I was a kid.
I encourage you to get out there and build your “taste experiences” and play with your food, making mistakes, adding a bit of this and a bit of that until you can taste what you imagine. Having fun along the way.