Blue Plate Special
There was a famine in the land … A widow woman with a son was preparing their last food, so they could eat it and die. (Maybe she wasn’t a very good cook. … ??? )
She only had some meal and a little bit of oil …. Elijah asked her to make him a cake and promised her that she would not run out of food …. She had faith …. She made him a cake …. She was blessed … they didn’t run out of food …. and didn’t starve to death … it is a good story.
I decided to make some Elijah Cakes.
I started with some Generic Cream of Wheat. I would have used Malt-o-Meal but there was a famine in the land.
The first thing I did was to scientifically establish a baseline by tasting some dry meal ….
It was edible but not really enticing ….. it’s a little like eating wheat, but not as good … it is easier to chew than wheat … all this wheat talk reminds me of a past life when I was a chicken.
I mixed some meal and oil till it was a little pasty … I tasted it …. It was better than the dry meal.
I cooked some of the meal and oil paste ….. I spooned some gobs into the pan and spread it kind of thin …. As the oil heated up it just spread out real thin till all gobs had merged and there was a thin layer all over the bottom of the pan.
Nope, it didn’t stick together … not at all …. I just cooked the mixture till it got brown.
I dumped some in a bowl to cool … I had to keep stirring while getting it out of the pan or the oil would have just poured off …
it was kind of like eating sand and oil … edible oil of course ….
I have tasted sand on many occasions …. I have tasted motor oil more than once …. It is likely that I have tasted motor oil and sand together …. Now at my advanced age I believe that I prefer fried meal and edible oil over motor oil and sand …. Even this thirsty version of oil and meal is better than sand.
I knew at the outset that It would probably work better if I added water to the mix …. I had to try it without water first … For science.
The Elijah story didn’t specify water … I bet they used water …. This leads us to accept the possibility that they could also have used salt …. or almonds …. or cinnamon … or cookie crumbs …. or any other items which may have been available during a famine. …. Enough speculation
I added water to some to the fried oily-meal that was left in the pan …. I cooked it some more … as expected, I observed a kind of a gravy effect taking place …. It tasted ok …. A lot better than the tar sand.
…. The texture of wet fried oilymeal reminded me of gritty oily Malt-o-meal … does the o in Malt-o-Meal stand for oil? … the o probably means oilless … to remind you of the need to add oil …. Well, maybe ….
I ate some gritty oily Malt-o-meal …. It was just lacking sugar … so I added a little sugar …. Wow that was good … it tasted a lot like the prashad that I tasted at a Sikh Gurdwara …. I should Google prashad and see if I can find the recipe …
I did the Google …I found hundreds of pictures …some of them looked like malt-o-meal and the stuff I had at the Gurdwara … other pictures appeared to be pictures of food … some of the food might have been edible … some of the pictures looked like people …. Probably people named prashad.
With that many variations it seemed unlikely to find a recipe without considerable effort …. It would probably be easier to ask a Sikh.
Now it was time to get to the real stuff ….
I mixed some water with the meal till it seemed saturated … then I added oil …. The oil and water didn’t want to mix at first … kind of like a bunch of teenagers who don’t know each other …. After a lot of work the mixture became homogeneous … this does not happen with teenagers.
I used a lot of bowls …. It’s a good thing I am able to clean up after myself ….. I would hate to be banned from the kitchen ….. again.
When doing technical iksperiments like this I don’t want any cross contamination …. I worked kind of like a surgeon …. I cleaned the frying pan after each operation … I guess the pan gets hot enough to sterilize itself.
I decided to cook the first half of the goo in Imperial and the second half of the goo in oil.
I fried the gobs in Imperial …. As the stuff heated the gob spread out and became thin …. the excess oil came out of the cakes and added to the oil bath ….
These Batch E cakes were really good …. kind of crunchy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside … the crunchy was the best.
Next time I think I will use the big frying pan and make a lot of the little cakes.
I will make them smaller since the crispy edge is the best … Yup I will make them a little more edgy.
And I will measure stuff.
I should cook some with just oil … without Imperial.
Perhaps I will add salt to the ones without Imperial …. Hmmmm ?
Here is what I actually did.
Recipe of batch G
1 cup Generic Cream of Wheat
¾ cup water (add water till the meal is saturated)
½ cup vegetable oil …. ( you can add more during the frying if necessary )
Fried in oil …. in the big frying pan.
I tried to spread them thin but they agglutinated before it was possible.
There obviously wasn’t enough oil in this mix …. It didn’t spread out near as well as batch E ….
When done they were ok …. But not as good as the E-batch.
I put a little Imperial on the cake and it improved the flavor.
I added sprinkle of sugar and it was quite good … I also tried dipping the cake in sugar … there is enough oil on the cake that just the right amount of sugar sticks to the cake.
Stop your whining …. I know …. Imperial and sugar gets away from the Elijah effect …. Imperial is just a brand name …. Hey, It is possible that Elijah had butter and sugar … or at least honey.
I say “Imperial helps” … sugar I can take or leave … it all depends whether you want crackers or cookies ….
I took the rest of the goo … about half the goo that I had made for batch G …. I added about a half of a stick of imperial to the goo …. I chopped it up and tried to stir it in … I had hoped that the corn oil would help dissolve the Imperial … nope … if the oil did dissolve the Imperial, the process wasn’t fast enough for me …. I put the goo into the microwave for 44 seconds to warm it ever so slightly.
There was a lump in the center that had tried to cook … and the imperial wasn’t quite melted.
Next time I will just melt the imperial before adding it to the goo.
I decided to spread the cakes thin … and to increase edges effect I put three little holes in the center … kind of like making a face … two eyes and a mouth ….. it just wasn’t happening … I got tired of making faces and went for the doughnut effect.
I had nice thin cakes with lots of edge …. They were pretty good … but still not as good as batch E.
I don’t have the Meal/water/oil/imperial/salt ratios right yet
The doughnut is however a better cooking method …
A sprinkle of salt helps …. These cakes were actually quite good.
Perhaps as good as batch E … it is hard to say now …. I was hungrier when the first batch came out and I ate all but one …. The one cake which I am saving for an unbiased judge.
Well I could break off just one little piece for comparison …. I think I will
I will prepare my mouth for the test … I will have a glass of milk … I wonder if Elijah had milk or owned a cow …. Well he could have … he probably liked milk …. The bible doesn’t say that he didn’t …. It doesn’t even mention goats, cows, or milk in this story … if Elijah heard me talking this way he would probably have a cow.
Ok …. Now …. the taste test results …..
it was real close ….
batch E tastes the best ….
Batch H has the best texture ….
Both were way better than the batch that we are not mentioning.
I should mention that when the unbiased judge arrived she also had the same opinion about batch E being the best …. No, she didn’t have a correct opinion because she had heard my opinion first … I did not express my opinions first … that wouldn’t be scientific …. She had the same opinion as I did because she is highly sophisticated and is an excellent judge with very good taste.
Batch E, G, and H were All good …. Just not quite perfect ….
Well Elijah wasn’t perfect either …. And he hadn’t eaten for a long time so anything edible would taste good … so there.
There are probably people somewhere in the world that have done all of these iksperiments before ….if so, they didn’t tell my mother about it …. or I would already know.
So then the only remaining question is …. Is it better to use only imperial or should I use oil and imperial …. I am guessing that imperial only would be too salty. Who knows, I may test that hypothesis some time … or you can …. If you do, please let me know your results.
The next time we see Elijah we will have a few questions for him.
Cream of wheat and malt-o-meal are both brands of farina …. Farina is basically ground wheat with the bran removed …. So it still has the germ and the endosperm ….
The germ is the part that grows … it germinates
The endosperm is the starch that is the food storage for the young plant to live on till it can make it’s own food …. Endosperm is what white flour is made from.
The bran … the part that is missing from farina …. Bran is the skin of the seed …. It contains dietary fibers such as cellulose and lignin etc …. It also contains fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Most of the really good stuff is in the bran.
I bet Elijah’s meal contained the bran.
Perhaps I should have used cracked wheat instead of cream of wheat. Then I could be cool like Elijah.
Some of you mathematicians might have noticed that I didn’t mention the second batch of the first goo …. batch F … well there isn’t much to say about the batch that we are not mentioning ….
…. Well … ok … it got burned …. Something about me getting distracted and leaving the kitchen with the burner on high …. I just wanted to speed it up a little.
…. You can read the whole story of Elijah and the widow and the cake … it is in the old testament …. 1 kings 17:7-16 …. There are also many more exciting Elijah stories.
The writer of Kings said that the widow had a cruze of oil … or at least that is the word that the King James translators used … I wonder how that is translated in a Spanish Bible and if that is where Ted Cruz got his name.
Bible gateway has 19 spanish translations … I looked at several
There were 3 words used
Vasija …. I will call that a vase
Jarra …. Girl jar
Jarro …. Boy jar
Google says a cruse is an earthenware pot or jar … Google didn’t mention boy jars or girl jars.
Google translate says cruz means a cross.
It also says a cruz is a multiplication sign or a plus sign … so how do you tell the difference? … Mexican math must be difficult ….
I wonder if Elijah had to decide between a girl jar and a boy jar … or whether the meal was adding or multiplying …
Oh I get it …. boy jar plus girl jar = 3 …. or more …. Now that is multiplying … no wonder Mexicans have so many kids.
Oh … you thought it was from eating deep fried malt-o-meal?
The recipe as written could be a little misleading …. You defiantly need more oil than I had listed … vegetable oil … or Imperial, which is just another form of vegetable oil … rich people would probably have good results with actual butter.
What kind of vegetable oil? …. I used corn oil this time … I’m sure soy or canola or palm would have similar effects.
One of these days I will spend the big bucks and get some peanut oil … and maybe sunflower seed oil …. or even Olive Oil … if you promise not to tell Popeye.