Friday, March 16, 2012

Pound cake and pounds

I get awe-struck by certain things in food history. When I think about the first person who looked at a leaf of something and decided it was good to eat, I wonder at the courage and ingenuity that it took. Then I think about the first person who discovered how to get milk from cow and I think some of those leaves might have done something to the person's logic or courage. It's fascinating to think about. Then one day man discovered that food taste better when cooked, and about a week later he discovered the baked good. Well, slightly later than that. In the 12th or 13th century he started adding fruits to batter and a sweet treat was born. These were baked in less than reliable cooking devices until sometime in the late 1600's when the oven was born. By the mid 1700's the cake as we know it was born, and from that time period comes one of the most versatile, long keeping, delicious creations still around today- the pound cake. It can have changes in flavor, turned into peti fours, turned into strawberry shortcake, sandwiched with ice cream and so much more. A pound cake made from scratch will keep for about 3 weeks where it will happily serve you as a snack, dessert and springboard for some fun creation.

Pound cake is incredibly easy to make. Grab some loaf pans, your ingredients, mix and bake. Originally it was created  using a pound of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Those measurements were based on the concept that "a pint is a pound the world round"- hence the name pound cake. The actual measurements used today are based on volume and not weight . Leavening agents are also used now to create a more consistent, lighter product.

Perfect pound cake

2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds with each. Divide the batter between two pans. Smooth top with rubber spatula. Bake 60 to 65 min. Loosen with a knife, and flipped onto a cooling rack.

Think eating pound cake, pasta, sugar, meat, fat, etc will pack on your own pounds ? If you eat any of these without any consideration to your appetite ( meaning eat a cake a day or such) you will gain weight. If you eat according to your appetite, your weight will move to what is normal for your body based on genetic information and many other things. It is proving true for myself and my family. We stopped dieting, stopped exercising, ate real food and the weight is coming off . No guilt, no angst, no effort. No scale either- our clothes are proving to be the indicator. Hubby has dropped 2 pants sizes, son dropped on size and I have dropped 2 underwear sizes ( I rarely buy clothes because my needs are not that great these days. No need for the latest steampunk fashions to go grocery shopping or so forth). But...but...what about cutting out fat ? Cutting carbs ? Calories ? Truth is, the human body NEEDS all food groups ( unless there is an allergy , sensitivity or such). The metabolic system requires things like sugar in order to work at a level where the body temperature is at 98.6 or higher in order to process nutrients properly. Read Matt Stone's blog for some mind blowing thoughts on all that we have been told about losing weight, health and more.

So what exactly does make us fat ? Many things. But for most people , I believe it is a heavy reliance on food made with substances used to create a consistent taste, texture, and satiation. In nature , the taste, texture and aroma of anything it produces will vary from geographic location, soil conditions, rainfall and a million other things. So how exactly does something like a bottle of  Heinz Katsup taste the same today as the bottle you opened a year ago in another state and will be the same taste of the one you open next year on another continent ? The answer is chemical additives, often labeled as natural flavorings. It is the very thing that makes brand recognition  possible. Every box of Cheerios, every package of Arnolds Thins, every pack of Tyson chicken breast owes it's success to chemicals. And I believe it is those very chemicals that interrupt our metabolic system in some fashion that has cause the obesity epidemic. Sorry Clark Griswold, it is not better living through chemistry. It is fatter living through chemistry. I believe that the only way to obtain a normal body weight is to eat according to your appetite ( that is what it was created for- not something to make you feel guilty for having one) and eating food that comes as close to what nature produced. If you add something to it, make sure it is something you cold produce in your own kitchen (you can squeeze olives and churn butter from milk- you cannot extract oil from corn, soybeans or rapeseed , nor make anything a vibrant green color). You will have to take time and effort to prepare the things you put in your body, plain and simple. Kick out Betty Crocker, Campbells, Heinz, Hidden Valley and so on from your cooking, and in turn you will be kicking out the pounds. In the process you might discover that, like bathtub hooch made with rubbing alcohol in The 20's , the invention of process foods was equally as harmful to the body. While bathtub hooch made people blind pretty quick, the packaged food products have blinded us in a different way , and perhaps it is only now that we re beginning to see how that is harming us.


JC said...

When do you put the flour in? Before or after the eggs?

Di said...

With pound cake it does not matter- you can simply throw everything in at once and mix. It is an incredibly forgiving cake to make !

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