This post is triggered by Monday’s recipe for chipotle cream. Chipotle has this reputation for being ungodly hot. But as the photo shows, just minutes out of the fridge, they are only in the 50s, so …
I may have the concept of heat confused here. I’ll need to recheck. I’m a little confused right now. I saw something that had my head spinning and it is only now that I can begin to sort it out and write about it.
When I was researching chipotle cream, one of the recipes I saw, but did not mention, used a new product: packaged chipotle paste, that is chipotle and adobe processed, amalgamated, and put into a tube so you can conveniently squeeze out flavor. And heat. One inch at a time.
I saw the product mentioned in the recipe and I went to the vendor’s website. I saw where I could purchase the product in New York City, and the price for it. Two or three times the price of a simple metal can of chipotle in adobo, one of those cans you may have in your pantry.
Should I? Shouldn’t I? Is it a good thing? A bad thing?
After an hour, I got testy. It’s too much. I don’t buy anchovy paste in tubes any more, or tomato paste. I take real anchovies, for example, and I get dirty and I make my own paste, which is different every time.
Ask a little kid where hamburger comes from, and he’ll say, “The store.” People don’t know where their food comes from or what is involved in transitioning molecules from the soil and air to fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
And now tubed chipotle. It’s too much. The cooking experience should involve all the senses. The pop of that lid as you open the can of chipotles. The assault on your nose as the fumes first rise up. The squishiness of the chili as you try to cut it. The smoothness of the adobo sauce that triggers all kinds of ideas: what happens if I put that sauce in mayonnaise. Magic happens. But that inspiration does not come out of a tube.
We need the full sensory experience when we cook or we lose touch with our heritage, ourselves, and our food. For those of us, most of us, who are not astronauts, cooking and eating does not have to be an exercise in squeezing something processed so much that all connection to its roots is lost in the plastic and metal packaging thingy that encloses it, strangles it. It’s strangling us, too.
If I want chipotle, I’m going to risk getting my shirt stained.