Wednesday, October 21, 2009


i've decided to start simplifying things, starting with cooking. i feel like our modern world involves so many conveniences that you stop understanding what doing something yourself is actually like. in other words, there are too many layers between the user and the data. i'd like to get down and process data with my own hands, not with someone else's api.

first to start off, cooking rice. when i first cooked risotto and realized that it's just a certain rice cooked to become mushy, my life was changed. and since moving to rene's house and not having a rice cooker (neither a microwavable or electric one) i wanted to cook rice one day. and i just did it in a pot. ~ 2 cups rice, water over the top, bring to a boil and let simmer until rice is edible. that, kids, is what cooking rice involves. we can easily forget the act of cooking when we start worrying about the whole deal with pressing the button that pops up when the rice is cooked and keeps it warm, adding a specific ratio of water to rice, etc.

recently, i've started making yogurt. there was always something foreign about making yogurt. milk should stay in the fridge - how can you willingly leave milk out, then eat the thickened stuff that forms hours later? but forget about all those yogurt brands in the stores. light yogurt, fruit on the bottom, organic, lactose intolerant, unsweeted. make your own from milk. boil milk, and when it cools a bit, add a spoonful or two of plain yogurt. leave it wrapped up in an old coat overnight. the next morning, you have yogurt. and you know exactly what went into it, and what will eventually go into it (honey, granola, fruit.)

and finally, i write this article as i make a pot of coffee in my 10 cup coffee maker. i make a cup each time, and the pot sputters and steams and eventually i get a small cup of brown liquid as if magic. you put the water into some reservoir in the back of the machine and it magically flows through a pile of coffee held in place by a filter. well after spain, i started to enjoy a smaller frothy espresso, and when i went to the store to look at espresso makers, their simplicity made the whole process of coffee drinking more appealing. there's water that turns into steam. it rises through the coffee and goes into the pot. only one layer simpler than a coffee machine, but you have direct control of the path of the water and the coffee, and somehow it just feels better.

next up, hand grinding whole coffee beans after i roast them on a bonfire made from wood cut from my own saplings.


Nathan said...

I have a Costa Rican coffee maker in my cube. It's basically a wood frame that holds this cloth sack. You put the grounds in the sack and slowly pour hot water through it. Actually comes out better than a percolator, but typically you use finer ground beans. French presses are also a good way of making coffee. Honestly though, I typically use my percolator (arguably one of the worst ways to make coffee) simply for its delay brew function so the coffee is ready when I wake up in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Or you can try making Turkish coffee. Even simpler.