Friday, June 14, 2013

Shortcake Experiments

In addition to writing more recently, I’ve also had the chance to try some different types of cooking projects.

It’s been interesting.

For instance, earlier this week, I needed to whip some cream. Always before, I’ve whipped large amounts of cream, using that ever-so-handy tool called an electric hand-mixer.

This time, since I was only trying to do a small amount—say enough for two people—and I didn’t have that mixer ready to hand, I tried using a whisk. The super-miniature cup-of-hot-chocolate-sized whisk, to be precise.

As with all experiments, I had my purpose, hypothesis, materials, and procedure. I wanted to make whipped cream, I guessed that using a whisk would help me reach that goal, I had the cream and whisk ready, and now I just had to whisk the cream. It should have been enough, right?

Probably it would have been enough—if I had been patient enough.

I whisked for several minutes. Someone else whisked for several minutes. I tried whisking again for several more minutes. The cream seemed thicker, maybe a little bubbly, but it still ran like cream when we tilted the bowl. Results: no whipped topping in sight.

That’s when we got the idea or new hypothesis—I did actually; I’ll take the blame—to put the cream in a tub, put the lid on, and shake it.

New results: We got butter!

But still no whipped topping in sight, in the tub, or anywhere else I could find.

So, we stored the butter away for later—and dumped a new batch of cream into that ever-so-handy blender!

This time, after several minutes of beating in the blender, the cream seemed a little thicker, maybe a little bubbly, but still way to runny to count as whipped topping. Same again...

Final results: we just used semi-liquid cream.

And my experiment report?

Conclusion: it’s always helpful to have the right tools for a project.

Alternate conclusion: Strawberry shortcakes still taste good, even if my hypothesis was wrong in all three cases. (But please don’t tell my sister how I cook.)

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