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Breaking the Mold with a Pie Crust

September 17, 2010

Yesterday, I ate chocolate pudding pie. A vegan one, nonetheless, but still. Never, in a million years, would I have found a dessert like this appealing. When I envision dessert I see flaky pie crust encasing cinnamon and lemon zest-dusted apples, or moist pineapple upside-down cake drizzled with caramel rum sauce. These are special occasion foods, and daily nibbles of treats like chocolate chip cookies happen almost never. This isn’t deprivation– the truth is that more often than not, that cookie will be disappointing– too crunchy, stale, or not warm enough. When you hype up dessert, it rarely lives up to your expectations.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I reached for a spoonful of gooey chocolate filling and had a minor epiphany. It was thick and rich, with a touch of salinity, adhering to the unwritten rule that chocolate NEEDS salt. It was simple, unrefined, kid’s menu food, making me nostalgic for childhood memories I had never had. Ordinarily, eating standing up would bother me, let alone spooning filling straight from the pie dish. I hadn’t meant to get any crust, but a few chunks somehow crept into the paper cup I was using in lieu of a plate, providing a buttery crunch (but being vegan, there was no butter!).

How many of you are “routine eaters”? I absolutely am– I love trying new combinations, but true food bliss comes from eating what you know and love, prepared the right way. Why do you think five star restaurants bother making things like mac and cheese or s’mores? 

I’m not even sure why I’m choosing to write about this. Wesleyan dining hall food has proven to be pretty good, but how may days can you live on broccoli and chickpeas for? That’s my point exactly– so many food stations, and I always gravitate towards the same one– that’s routine, and it provides a sort of framework for my day, when everything else is up in the air. I see people eating brisket and mashed potatoes alongside a bowl of Captain Crunch, and good for them, but the mere idea of mixing meals around like that makes me jittery.

But that pudding pie. When I took that first bite, something awakened within me; it was like being splashed with cold water at seven AM. Either I’m starting to lose my mind or I’ve gone way too long without eating chocolate.

More tales to come– secret dorm cooking project underway (hint: a certain induction burner came in the mail yesterday).

-Octopus Gourmet

ps. While we’re on the subject of nostalgic comfort food, I have three words: BARNUM’S ANIMAL CRACKERS

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Gordon Vavra permalink
    September 18, 2010 6:02 pm

    Wow, you must’ve gone long without eating chocolate to have that experience!

    How did you come upon this dessert?

    As for routine eating, I have to alternate my routine a bit every couple of weeks because I get “bored” with the food that I’m eating. I edited my meals like that freshman year, it didn’t end up well.

  2. Froma permalink
    September 27, 2010 2:45 pm

    A vegan now? how did that happen?

    • octopuscarwash permalink*
      September 27, 2010 3:09 pm

      whoa whoa WHOA. you can eat something vegan without being one, right?

  3. October 10, 2010 2:42 am

    Lida! I’m so glad to see that your blog is up and running again. It’s also cool that you are (re)discovering things in the world of food, even in a college dining hall!

    I joined an Epicurean club here and thought of you 😛

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