Friday, May 9, 2008

Things Are Different Here (part I)

The Kitchen Edition

As I said yesterday, I had to make a cake from scratch. And this is because things are different here. I went to a few different grocery chains and found only one single cake mix box and that was for a chocolate cake. So I went online and looked for a yellow cake recipe. My actual goal was to make the bacardi rum cake, so I had to get that recipe from the net as well. Shopping list in hand, Katie and I made our way into town.

Now we all know europeans use the metric system. But, though it may seem obvious now, that means they dont use cups or half cup measurements. They use grams. They WEIGH their flour, sugar, powders etc. WHAT?! So, how many grams are in a cup? Well, it doesnt matter cause I dont have a scale.

The recipe calls for instant pudding. In Ireland, pudding is a mixture of ground pork and oatmeal and in the case of black pudding, congealed blood. The closest thing to vanilla pudding is custard. Bought a tin of custard powder (non-instant) and hoped for the best.

Had to go to a specialty shop for measuring spoons (tablespoon, teaspoon) and got a 4 spoon set for $12.00 (look at your own set and you will note that you get 8 spoons and you probably got it at the dollar store.

Not even the specialty shop knew what a bundt pan was.

Home again and thank god for Manus' cousin Orla, I had a hand mixer and some american measuring cups so we are ready to rock.

The Bacardi recipe calls for 4 eggs. But that is to mix with the prepackaged cake mix. So I refer to my cake recipe to see that I am to mix 3 eggs. So, is this a 7 egg cake? So I had to look up the directions on the back of a box of duncan hines to find out what is typically added to a mix to then compare it to my 'scratch' recipe and then compare it to my rum cake recipe. In the end I justified my portions of milk, water, oil, rum, eggs the most scientific way I knew how - which measuring spoon hadn't yet been used.

The recipe calls for one box of instant pudding. Do you know how much one box is? I do now. It is 3.5 ounces. Do you know how many cups that is? me neither. So, a 1/2 a cup it is. Now, the instructions on the side of the custard tin call for 1 TBSP of sugar to be added for every 2 of custard powder. Does that mean I should add extra sugar to my batter? And if so, how much? How many 2 TBSP are in 3.5 oz?

At least the batter looked like batter. Now its time to cook. We all know about the celsius conspiracy over here, but I am down with that. (my cell, er, Mobile phone has a conversion calculator). But, do I cook it for 40 min at 350 like my scratch recipe says, or an hour at 325 like the rum recipe says, or for 50 minutes at 175c like my oven users manual says?

In the end, the cake is edible and I'll just double the amount of rum that goes in the glaze and no one will care WHAT it tastes like.

And all that for just one cake! And remember the other day I was looking high and low for baking soda? Well, I found it. Its called bread soda here and comes in a white bag, not orange box and neither damn recipe even called for it!

But that is the thing, they have some of the same stuff over here, they just call it a different name.

Example, play Match the Vegetables with their Irish names:

American Names - Irish Names
Snow Peas - Mangetout
Zucchini - Courgette
Eggplant - Aubergene

And we in the states know that our food, especially our fruits and vegetables, come from other countries, but we OWN dem bitches, so we plop our american brand labels on everything. Well, Ireland is an island and if they want something that can't be made here, they import too. Only it's the other country's product, thus brand, thus language (not just the rape and pillage of their crop)

This our juice selection:

And when we are all done and ready to wash up, do we use dish soap? No, we use:

And now, for Katie. Thankfully, she is the same in any language.


Georgie said...

BBBuuunnndddtt cake? My Big, Fat American Adventure in Ireland! The cake sounds yummm. I'd also serve it with a side of rum and coke! Tell me what you want me to send you from the US and I'll run to dollar store soooo fast for you! Have you had your black beans and rice fix yet? Kisses to Katie!

Clodagh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clodagh said...


Who are the lucky lucky people that will eat this cake? Should we have the paramedics on standby????

Jess said...

Malinda, you make me laugh! I've loved reading of your adventures over there. Every day brings a new one, huh? With the language thing, now you can understand how I felt when I first moved to Miami. We didn't have flan in PA, honey! I was talking to Laurie yesterday, and told her how much your writing reminds me of her. We all seem to have similar "dry" senses of humor, but you and she have a gift for conveying that in writing. Pap would be so proud! As for Katie, "precious" seems to be the same no matter where you roam.

Jess said...

Now that I've figured out how to post a comment, I'm going to go back to the beginning and post on each one. I know, you've been holding your breath for that, right?

Jess said...

OKaaayyyy, this is WAY harder than it should be. I'm really gaining an even greater appreciation of your efforts at blogging.

This is my FOURTH attempt at this. And forget about commenting at your other posts. I'm worn out from this one. Apparently, I'm even more computer challenged than I thought I was!

Jess said...

I'll just sum up before I hurt myself. I'm loving your blog. When you move back to the US, you'll have enough material to launch your own sitcom. "American in Kilkenny" will be a smash!

Debbie said...

ROFL...I would have just bought the damn cake.

I'm beginning to really look forward to your posts :-) I knew this would be an adventure for you, but dang. Keep 'em coming girl.

Bski said...

Dang, now I am hungry for you dad's rum cake.

I'm pretty sure I would've given up and just spent the day with Captain Morgan. I LOVE that man!