Remembering Albert Einstein’s thought: ” a hundred times everyday, i remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labours of other men living and dead and that i must exert myself, in order to give in the measure as i have received and am still receiving….”
CREATIVITY AND FOOD. mind boggling subject . one example: the journey from bread to cake.
unleavened bread: wheat flour mixed with water, baked on stone slab. basic basic. remember manna from Heaven?
leavened bread: la french baguette and others. someone made a mistake: the flour-water mix left standing. turned sour and bubbly. natural yeast fermentation and leavened bread discovered. today each country has its own humongous yeast bread collection, all humongously tasty. and the baguette has acquired the status of French national treasure! vive la baguette.
sweet bread : milk and eggs and sugar added to basic yeast bread dough. the jewish Challa. french brioche. italian panetone. greek easter bread etc… next?
cakes: more elaborate confection methods. each type of cake base is actually a landmark scientific invention. Baking is more than cooking. it is a science and an art. very involved with the chemistry of the ingredients. food science was unknown then, these bakers inventors were driven by their stomach and sheer creative energy. One fabulous example. one among many.
GENOISE SPONGE CAKE : landmark invention, akind to the splitting of the atom, literally. the result , not the atomic bomb but the fabulous Genoise sponge cake ( 18th cent. birthplace Genoa, Italy)) . Inventor, unknown. the Genoise is a delicate fluffy cake base, cloud melting in your mouth. the cake batter rises naturally without the action of added chemical, not even yeast. the secret? some baker was fooling around with his eggs. the white , separated from the yolk can be whipped into a firmer foam, then added to the other ingredients. in the oven the foamy batter rises to its highest best. in this DNA age, we have a scientific explanation for the genoise cake ” atomic mushroom” phenomenon. Then , it was pure creative investigation and leap of faith.
there is another version of sponge cake, invented in America, which uses chemicals, baking soda . commercial bought cakes and ready cake mix are of the soda type. in France and i guess Italy as well, three hundred years later, les maisons de patisseries still use the original genoise cake method to make their fabulous gateaux. good habit dies hard.
Remember these creative people of our past and enjoy your food.