Friday, September 09, 2005

Enough with the editorializing.

In keeping with my recent consumption of culinary-related media from the Seattle library, I borrowed Jacques Pepin's The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. It's a memoir about his career as a chef, and it includes some of his favorite recipes. So I was looking at the first recipe of the book, Eggs Jeannette, which has the instruction "Put the eggs in a small saucepan, and cover with boiling water. Bring to a very gentle boil...." Okay. Even I can see something is wrong there--if the water is already boiling, how can you bring it to a boil? But another reader actually crossed out "boiling" and wrote in "cold" above it. Now, I can almost see that. The reader is concerned that a less culinary-minded person would desperately want to make Eggs Jeannette and would be confused with the wording. All right. But when I got to the next recipe, Maman's Cheese Souffle, I started getting a little upset. Next to "1/2 teaspoon salt" in the ingredient list, this reader has drawn a little question mark. What does that mean? Does the reader think it's too much salt? Not enough salt? Again, okay, this person feels that it's necessary to correct the recipes (albeit cryptically) for other readers.

But THEN I get to a little passage where Pepin is describing how his fingertips were completely blistered with burns from turning meat on a grill, because his head chef forbade them from sticking forks into the cooking meat (the juices would run out). So our favorite reader has written in the margin, "chopsticks!" Now you're just showing off. Jacques Pepin could have learned a lesson from you! All subsequent borrowers of this library book will know how smart you are! I say, enough with the editorializing. (Hey...maybe I should write that in the book! Of course, that would render this whole rant completely hypocritical.)

Besides getting angry about library books, I bought an awesome shirt yesterday. I love Threadless so much, but I only buy shirts from them when they're on sale, which means I miss out on a lot of great designs. But this--buy a shirt for $10 and they'll donate $20 to the hurricane relief effort--man, that's just awesome. Good job, guys.


Blogger Rainster said...

It's like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! The mysterious reader has comments or shortcuts! =)

9:36 AM  
Blogger fabulous girl said...

Maybe they want you to boil water in a kettle and then pour it over the eggs? Do the eggs end up hard or soft boiled?

12:34 PM  
Blogger winnekat said...

Hmm...your Harry Potter references are lost on me.

And I think they wanted them hard-boiled, but I'm not entirely positive.

I was going stop obsessing about the mystery reader, but s/he did something SO INCREDIBLY ANNOYING later in the book that I think it deserves another post. Humor me here.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Rainster said...

Oops, sorry. In the latest book, Harry's textbook also has a mystery writer whose comments help him in his potions lab class (kinda like your cookbook...). The mystery writer's identity is one of the main storylines.

OMG, I sound obsessed. I'll shut up about HP now...

Maybe something got lost in Monsieur Pepin's translation?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Nelly said...

that's what I thought too... pour boiling water over the eggs, and then bring the water back to a boil.

But how are the recipes in general? You didn't say!

4:37 PM  

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