Before heading into the soft and glistening world of gelatin for the month of July, I thought it necessary to identify the three types of caker cooking – and here you thought there was only one!
1) New School Caker
Think Sandra Lee, Duncan Hines frosting and Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercials.
2) Old School Caker
Think ’70s, full-sodium canned soup and TV Guide recipes.
3) Vintage Caker
Think Sunday hams, pickled watermelon rinds, gelatin molds and your grandmother.
Of these, cakers generally find vintage the hardest to…er, swallow. Case in point: a friend brought a party sandwich loaf to Caker Christmas a few years back. It’s a loaf of white bread, made into sandwiches with various fillings (usually tuna, egg and salmon). The sandwiches are then reassembled back into a loaf shape, which is then “iced” with cream cheese.
No one touched it. In fact, several people didn’t return the following year, including my friend. Perhaps, like Dr. Frankenstein, he was traumatized by his own creation.
Recently, someone gave me a copy of Knox On-Camera Recipes: A completely new guide to Gel-Cookery. I became entranced by the recipes: Tomato Aspic, Chicken Mousse and Chocolate Chiffon Dessert, among others. This was vintage caker cooking in all of its jiggly glory. Maybe the world needed to give vintage caker cooking a second chance.
For the next four weeks, I’ll feature a different recipe from the book. Truthfully, I have no idea how this will go. My old school caker gut is telling me that some foods simply aren’t meant to be encased in gelatin.
But I could be wrong.
Let’s go on a gelatin journey and find out.