Everyone knows there’s science in cooking – reactions occur when heat is applied to ingredients or even just mixed together, like the bubbles that form when baking powder is stirred into batter. But rarely when I cook do I feel like a scientist. I understand some of what’s happening on a molecular level, but following the steps in a recipe, or even hashing out my own path on the stovetop, does not feel like doing science.
Recipe comparisons are when I get to be an experimentalist and a cook/baker all at once, and that’s why I love them, despite all the work they entail. I thought a tapioca pudding comparison would be easier, and so I wouldn’t mind sharing it with Jen as part of her Friday Favorites series. And besides, Jen’s an engineer – that’s just a scientist with a purpose. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Jen doesn’t like pudding.
I would have loved for my first shared comparison to be one of those rarities in which there’s a clear favorite, but there wasn’t even one recipe that we loved. Cooks Illustrated’s had a weird gritty texture, Kraft’s was lacking flavor, and I completely messed up Mark Bittman’s recipe – although that one ended up being Dave’s favorite. Clearly more experimentation is in order, and that is absolutely fine with me. Check out Jen’s blog to get the full analysis, more photos, and the recipes – the very first pudding recipes in her blog, and perhaps the only ones she’ll ever post!