Month: July 2011
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home is a pretty interesting contrast to my current ice cream bible, the David Lebovitz book. They’re both really good ice cream books. The latter is a slow foodie’s dream: all natural ingredients, slow preparation, real egg custard bases, and so on. The former is not molecular gastronomy or anything, but it’s definitely on the cooking as science side of the fence.
I did my first recipe from the Jeni’s book tonight; just a plain vanilla ice cream. The generic base uses cream cheese to get the richness that normally comes from egg yolks. It also incorporates cornstarch, which works to provide better texture by impeding crystal formation. And I guess the corn syrup helps with texture as well? So in general, more processed ingredients for the sake of better texture.
It came out pretty well. The flavor was right on target. The texture was awesome, and I assume it’ll freeze up nicely. On the whole I sort of prefer the traditional custard method cause I was indoctrinated in the ways of earthy-crunchy granola from a very early age, but I like this stuff too.
There I go giving away my conclusion. Ah well. Anyways: American: The Bill Hicks Story is on Netflix streaming, and if you don’t know Bill Hicks you oughta watch it. If you do know who he is, you can watch it to get all pissed off all over again, or you could watch it because there’s some really cool footage of his teenage comedy act.
The problem I had is that the movie shows Hicks as a saint. Even when he’s going through his alcoholism, it’s not really his fault. He hung around with a dangerous crowd, right? And he got off alcohol soon enough, after which it’s smooth sailing until he dies of cancer in the most polite, family-oriented, sane way possible. The movie was authorized and supported by his family, who come across as really decent people. His parents didn’t object to his comedy, which is saying something. But I still suspect the seal of approval might have gotten in the way of any real examination of the man.
I’m still glad I saw it. There’s a 60 second clip of his infamous heckler routine — the bit in Chicago where he gets heckled early on and decides to turn the evening into a brutal, stop and go, stutter-step deconstruction of the relationship between audience and comedian. I’ve seen the whole thing, cause it’s on YouTube, and the brief clip in the movie is worthwhile all by itself. I just wish the movie spent more time thinking about the alchemy that transmutes anger like that into comedy like that.