[VDARE.COM NOTE: We interrupt our defense of the historical American nation, and our complaints about the historical Mexican nation coming to America, to bring you a message from real life. There are more things in life than immigration reform. Or as Samuel Johnson put it
"How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!"
It's still summer, you know. Enjoy yourself.]
Previous Guzzardi food columns
Krispy Kreme Kraters (Plus: Amazing Joe Doughnut Recipe
When people ask me what I did during the summer of 2003, I have a unique answer:
"I ran for Governor of California and I entered the world of competitive baking."
And while I will never return to the campaign trail, I'll be spending the next three weeks in my test kitchen getting ready for Sacramento—the fair, that is, not the Governor's job.
I've identified my long-term goal as winning more blue ribbons than Karen Chesnut. Last year in Sacramento Chesnut won the staggering total of 12. Chesnut had 32 entries at the California State Fair and another 50 in the Yolo County Fair.[Smells like victory By Blair Anthony Robertson, Sacramento Bee, August 13, 2003]
I won't be able to top Chesnut's record this year since I only have eight entries. But I am working up to multiple entries at fairs up and down the state.
One thing that Chesnut and I have in common is that baking takes up a good portion of our lives.
What started as a simple pastime has become a passion. Rarely does a day go by that I don't bake something. I have no fewer than 25 different kinds of flour in my special freezer that is reserved baking items only.
Mapping out my strategy for this year, I compiled a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" that I hope will make it possible for me to go eight for eight.
Here, in a nutshell, is what I learned last year:
Enter chocolate dishes. Although baking is all kinds of wonderful breads and pastries, if you want to win, chocolate gives you the best edge.
Triple chocolate chip cookies win. Fig bars lose.
While my "DO" advice is limited to using chocolate, I compiled a long list of "DON'TS"
No column about baking would be complete without a few words about Julia Child.
Two years ago while I was in Washington D.C., I was invited to preview the Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. I discovered to my embarrassment that I have a larger inventory of whisks than Julia had. But it was a thrill to get a behind the scenes tour of Julia's kitchen and to hold the pearl handled lobster forks that someone had generously given to her.
Many of the recipes that I will be entering in the California State Fair were originally in Julia's book, Baking with Julia. And I picked up important pointers from the five volume video collection titled Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home available at the Lodi Library.
Finally, I remember Julia's greatest advice for cooks at all levels. I pass it on to you now on the chance you haven't heard it before:
"All cooking and baking errors can be overcome with either parsley or whipped cream."