NLP Post #3 (2nd update)

9 Jun

Earlier this week I created two different arequipes for my students. I wanted to make the arequipe as authentic as possible, so I used two recipes from Colombia. In this post, I look back and smile at my earlier distaste for certain recipes marked as “homemade” which call for a can of condensed milk and a double boiler pot only. I smile because I had no idea what I was getting into when I made the authentically homemade recipes. After creating the two batches I have a strong desire to settle for the other dulce de leche recipes I found, not only because arequipe and dulce de leche are essentially the same, but what a challenge it was making the two recipes I chose!

Digital Camera   

The main frustration I had when making the delicious dessert was the need to stir frequently for 1 and 1/2 to 3 hours. Little to my knowledge, because there was no  forewarning, apparently not all heat settings on stoves are the same. What one recipe said would take 1 and 1/2 hours to stir ended up taking close to 3 hours. The other recipe calling for 3 hours of stirring took OVER 5 hours! Fortunately, my wife was there for my rescue and stirred for me while I worked on my grades. We formed a type of “tag team” and what could have been a laborious (let alone monotonous) activity became sweet:) through the help of another. Another challenge I faced was the lesson learned that one recipe needs to me made at a time and, of course, I learned it the hard way. For the larger yielding recipe I used a large soup pot, and for the other, a medium pot. Everything was going fine for the first five minutes until both came to a boil at the SAME TIME! When milk boils, it foams, and while I was able to control the large pot from overflowing, the medium pot spilled over like a volcano. Each recipe did not clearly state that temperatures on stoves may vary or that it is ONLY possible (if but for me) to make one batch at a time, but through my adventure, amid some sour events during preparation, I have to admit it ended up with some pretty sweet results.

 Digital Camera

I labeled the two different arequipes, brought them to school, and as a gift for the last day of class for my students we had a fiesta! In Colombia, arequipe is traditionally spread on top of obleas and eaten like a sandwich, but I did not have any. In Mexico, where arequipe is better known as cajeta or dulce de leche, Marías cookies can serve the same purpose as the Colombian obleas. Each student received two cookies, one with each type of arequipe. After I served each student, they all tried the cookies at once and decided which one they liked best. There was a bit of irony in the results, because the recipe I created “perfectly” with the correct liquid consistency and no foamy overflow ended up getting fewer votes than the “volcano” recipe! Even though the one recipe erupted and the arequipe turned out more like fudge (see the difference below) than caramel, 29 of 46 students preferred it over the other. Only eight preferred the gooey version over the fudge-like version, but seven said they could not decide between the two. Of the remaining two students one just plain didn’t like caramel and the other had food allergies, but that student received something special nonetheless. Best of all, EVERYONE liked both! Even though I have a desire to settle for the condensed milk recipe, my students made it clear to me that homemade is always the best made. I have not yet decided which one to make for the final project, but hopefully next time it won’t take over 5 hours!

 Digital Camera

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