For a long time, I smugly thought that I knew everything about pound cake, until I recently came across the factoid that French pound cakes rarely have the classic ratio at all and are often make with whole milk yogurt. A friend of mine loves pound cake and I'm obsessed with Fage whole milk yogurt, so of course I had to make a 'French' pound cake.
Of course, when it comes to defining what 'everyone should know' in food terms, things get controversial. When I used to frequent food websites, one of the nastiest knock 'em down fights I witnessed was a post praising Entenmann's pound cake, which prompted many to respond: "DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE POUND CAKE? IT IS SO EASY."
I've been guilty of rolling my eyes and 'wtf-ing,' but not in regards to cooking.
Some of the prose that hits my desk is so cringe-worthy, filled with so many random capital letters and apostrophes I'm just itching to post it...but professionalism dictates I cannot. So instead I post stuff like this on Facebook.
When I come off my metaphorical (as opposed to my literal) high horse (and I'm in a much better mood when I'm on a literal horse, although my seat is still better on the metaphorical one)...I remind myself that no matter how much grammar has degenerated, not just amongst kids but also amongst adults...I have to give myself a poor score on lots of basic types of informational literacy.
How much do I remember of basic math--I mean, math beyond what I need to balance my checkbook and read a graph in the newspaper or the distance on a map? Can you hear the crickets chirping as I try to recall geometric proofs? I'm sure I'm 'innumerate' to some degree like some people are illiterate...and I doubt I'm alone.
I fare better on other tests of 'basic knowledge,' such as knowledge of art, music, and theater, and even the natural world and science. (I'm not saying everyone has to be Dr. Wizard, but you should be able to relate to animals in some basic fashion, without poking them or scaring them, and understand when you should take an antibiotic and when you shouldn't). But I'm not fluent in any language other than English, which is kinda sad, given I have an advanced degree from a pretty prestigious university.
Everyday, in fact, I'm reminded of what I don't know. I'm just lucky our society often confuses being very verbal with intelligence.
Looking back, people from a hundred years ago seem far more competent then ourselves. Can you ride a horse easily as a means of transportation; write extensively in longhand; sew a functional item of clothing; zip through a Dickens novel; plow a field; make candles; play a piano; read Latin and Greek; and do long sums in your head? I know not every late19th-early 20th century person could all do this stuff, but I feel pretty confident saying that most of them were probably more self-sufficient than us 21st century folk. And better able to amuse themselves in the dark. I was getting used to 'life unplugged' when Sandy hit, but I relapsed once again into my Internet addiction pretty quickly.
So, I'm going to try to stop being quite so critical of people's grammar, because there are so many things I don't know how to do. Before I started blogging, I don't think I had ever made a pound cake either.
It's impossible to know EVERYTHING, after all. The times are long gone when it was said that Aristotle knew all that was worth knowing of the known world.
Although I do have to share with you JUST ONE email I was sent from an editor, when I submitted a recipe to a local publication with a fairly wide distribution. They informed me that they didn't want to put it into the print version but would include it online and the response looked like this:
sounds yummy! thanks for your resposnse and I will see that we post your recipe on line.
Thanks so much and feel free to share more with use , We're all one big XXXX family!
SmilesXXX XXXX (Editor)
Okay, so maybe there are SOME things you should know. Like the fact that 'online' is one word, and how to make a yogurt poundcake.
Ginger Yogurt (French) Pound Cake With a Jam Glaze
--adapted from Bon Appetit, makes one loaf--
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted melted butter, cooled
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large beaten eggs
1/4 cup plum (strawberry or blueberry would also work) jam for glaze
1 teaspoon water
1. Grease a 8x4 or 9x5 loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt together.
3. Combine the butter, yogurt, sugar, and eggs. Incorporate wet and dry.
4. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick can be extracted clean.
5. Cool completely.
6. Heat the jam on medium low until thoroughly combined with water and able to be poured over cake. Glaze cake, spreading with a knife, and let glaze 'set.' (It will still be sticky, but will adhere to the cake).