Wednesday, October 21, 2009

hope in the form of a cheese danish hypothesis

Few things are better than enjoying a meal with others who passionately appreciate great food. During one of many entertaining culinary conversations at tonight's sushi meal, one diner at the table concluded that you could make a life's work out of hunting the perfect cheese danish. Here at The Great American Bakery Hunt, we couldn't agree more. The perfect cheese danish should demand our respect. But perhaps, for you, it's a different taste you're searching for: maybe you've spent your whole life seeking out that perfect pie crust you remember your aunt making, or perhaps you're hoping for a reunion with that elusive Irish soda bread recipe that defined your childhood?

This search brings us to the most challenging part of being a true bakery hunter: Nostalgia can play funny tricks on the food enthusiast's mind. It's difficult for the average, modern bakery to measure up to our taste buds-- which are hopeful, yet biased with the flavors of family ovens past. We're still so deeply in love with food memories of our pasts that we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment (otherwise known as rebound meals.)

Meanwhile, we're in a race against time where all great food traditions and recipes are at risk of being forgotten. We may run around as consumers trying to find the perfect taste, texture, and combination of ingredients, but we don't always work hard enough to fight for the food traditions that matter most to us by creating them ourselves. (Which means I'd better learn my grandmother's gumbo recipe before I do anything else.) Otherwise, I'll face the doom of rebound recipes that will never truly satisfy.

Tonight, it seemed a noteworthy blessing that I was surrounded by people who consider obtaining cheese danish in its perfect form a legitimate pursuit. And that, my friends, is what The Great American Bakery Hunt is all about. So bake, cook, eat what inspires you the most, and believe that cheese danish perfection is in the realm of the possible-- even if it means you have to make it yourself.
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