This New Dessert is Trouble Already

A restaurant is rewarding most of the time, but there are times that drive you absolutely crazy. This happens when you run out of the evening’s favorite dish, the sous chef doesn’t show up, a waiter drops a tray, or the lettuce has wilted. I can give you another apt example of aggravation. My pastry chef wanted gold leaf to add to a fancy new dessert. He couldn’t find it quickly and a local supplier said it would take more than a week. No dice. He went online and when it arrived, it didn’t look real. Was it a fake? Should he ask for a refund? It had to be the edible kind. He wanted to send it back out of fear of fakery, but he thought he could test it first. How do you tell if gold leaf is real? Surely not the same method as jewelry or nuggets.

He asked my advice and I said why not trust the online company, but if it will make you feel better, let’s try to find out. It looked authentic and was super thin and it did not break apart. This was the first bit of good news. The next point I offered was this: if it looked good and was guaranteed edible, why care if it is real? He didn’t accept this at all. I pride myself on quality, he maintained. I understood. What if it tasted funny, like something synthetic or with a chemical smell?

If we were dealing with jewelry, it would be simple. I found this blog to help me: Experts apply nitric acid and try to attach a magnet to a piece for verification. Gold does not respond to a magnet. There is no such thing as plated gold leaf. I have never heard of such a concoction. We tried the magnet but the paper thin stuff lay flat as a board. I could see that we were getting nowhere. I started to think that gold leafing used on furniture is surely real; but for food purposes, it would not be edible if it is pure. I believe that food grade gold leaf isn’t alloyed with other toxic metals such as tin or lead like some gold for jewelry or coins. I suppose that it is pounded into a thin layer as it surely doesn’t come that way. You have to make it in easy-to-use transfer sheets.

We both continued to speculate until we were about to give up. A metal detector would be absurd and we already had tried the magnet. After conducting a visual taste, the last step would be to taste it. An experienced pastry chef would have eaten it many times before. Mine soon realized this. We both put a piece of a sheet in our mouths. No aftertaste at all. It had no taste at all. More good news. We were both satisfied and he went on to use the gold leaf on his pastry that night.

What Does Your Morning Smell Like?

Dogs aren’t the only beings that have a super sense of smell. People do too. Think of those who work in the perfume industry. They must have a “nose.” I suppose cooks also have this trait; I think I do. When preparing food, taste is not the only determinant of success. I pride myself on a good sense of smell to help me know when to stop adding spices and other ingredients. My nose saves me from too much attention to a dish that spoils its appeal.

Since I love the smell of food to whet the appetite, mine and my guests, it makes sense that I would prefer an aromatherapy alarm clock over the other types. My friends all rant and rave about the sunrise simulation they program into their devices so they wake up to wonderful colors. If you are oriented to sound, you would love the various options for nature sounds such as a babbling brook, waves crashing against a sandy shore, crickets and frogs, birds chirping, or whatever else you like. You can even tape your own sounds and add it to what comes with the alarm.

By contrast, I insist on waking up to the smells of morning, whatever they may be. Some like a perfume scent and others go for brewing coffee. As long as it is pleasant and does the job, it is fine. In the field of aromatherapy, there are dozens of essential oils that bring relief and relaxation, and some, like lavender, are best at bedtime. In the morning, you can switch to a lemon fragrance, for example. The machine diffuses the oil in a fine, refreshing mist. The newest wakeup alarm systems combine all of these features so you can program them according to your mood. They are also called natural wake systems, but basically, they work the same way. You can select the colors of sunrise, news or music on the radio, subtle scents, or nature sounds. It is an entirely new way to greet the day. Whoever thought of this invention, no doubt had trouble getting out of bed.

I am a sleepyhead and like to linger under the sheets. This is a bad habit that makes you late to work or appointments. I am too groggy, especially if I have had a late night, to arise on my own. I need a little help from my friend, the aromatherapy clock that I found on Be Right Light‘s web site after I discovered them on Twitter. Alarms are a growing business to meet the demands of people on a schedule. Isn’t that everyone these days?

It feels like a spa experience when I use the mist function. My bedroom is filled with essence. I can have a different one every day. I found out after a while that my clock, being the deluxe model, has an ultrasonic humidifier built in. What a comprehensive design! I love the easy touch controls, the programmable timer, and the automatic shut off when the appliance is empty (it has a water reservoir). Let’s not forget the soothing sunset simulation night light.