Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Americans are fat--cream cheese

Last night I put on my jammies and robe, and curled up on the couch to glance at TV and read a good book--the 2004 Taste of Home Annual, purchased at a library sale for $2.00.

"What are you planning to make?" asked my husband. "And why are there all those cook-books in our the bedroom?"

"Those are Martha Stewart. I never use them and I needed more room on the kitchen shelves so I shifted everything."

"Why are you looking at that book if you're not going to cook?"

"People who read mysteries aren't planning to kill anyone; women just like to read cookbooks," I replied, completely baffled that after 50 years, he understood so little about women.

After browsing several sections before I nodded off, I decided Americans have been made fat by a conspiracy to add cream cheese to everything from pastry dough to potatoes to salad dressing. And what doesn't get two 8 oz + one 3oz package of cream cheese, gets half a cup of sour cream, or a fourth a cup of butter (no substitutes, please), or all three! In my grandmother's day, women were fascinated by Jello. Just look at the recipes in the women's magazines of the early 20th century. Then when I was a little girl, it was cottage cheese on lettuce with half a pear and melted Velvetta and grilled Spam. My generation 30 years ago was discovering condensed soup mixed with any frozen vegetable and calling it a casserole for the church pot luck.

I did find a very tasty recipe in this volume (p. 91) that I modified yesterday, "Pumpkin Cheese Coffee Cake." Instead of mixing all that flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, etc. and spices, I used a box mix of Carrot Cake that I had on hand. I didn't use the package directions for oil, water and eggs, and instead used the recipe from the book.

1 1/4 cups of canned pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

The filling which is cut through the cake batter, uses

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 egg
1 TBSP sugar (I used Splenda)

The topping which called for pecans (didn't have any),

3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (mine was loose)
1/4 t. ground cinnamon

You still make a mess in the kitchen and use three bowls. It's also very messy to have the nut chopper jar slip out of your hands and throw walnuts for 20 ft.

Bake in 9 x 13 greased baking dish at 350 for 35-40--and I suggest 35, because 40 made it a bit dry. I taste tested it twice, one warm piece and one cool, and yes, it's just fine. It's the cream cheese, I think.

No comments: