On the menu: Key Lime Pie
Let’s discuss cognitive ability. I am an aspiring academic, after all.
Why is it so hard for me to learn about how the landscape affects pollinator efficiency, and so easy for me to learn about how to freeze beans? I have a deep interest in both topics, and really, I don’t think about much other than my research and my culinary exploits. Well, that makes me sound cold. I think about Kevin, my family, and my friends. I do my best to keep up on the news, which usually leads to me reading the latest celebrity gossip.
But back to my point: my brain hurts after reading a couple of paragraphs of a research paper. I can read tens of blog posts and be ready for more. Perhaps it is the density of the writing: not that bloggers aren’t intelligent, just that they write in a conversational tone that is easy to read and comprehend. There’s a sentence in my thesis that reads: “Principal Components Analysis (PCA) is a multivariate statistical method that groups correlated variables into components to reduce redundancy. ” Who wants to read anymore of that?! I don’t, and that’s my writing!
I’m often frustrated because I have to read, and read, and read some more in order to a) learn about what’s been accomplished in my field of study and b) stay on top of what’s being accomplished in my field of study. I read a paper the other day that had been cited by nine other papers in 2013 alone. It is the first week of March, friends. I’m still reading papers from 2007 most of the time! What really gets me is that I have a difficult time retaining a lot of what I read, which is bad news when you have to explain a paper to your advisors or write a detailed document explaining how you could use this information in a research project.
Speaking of writing a detailed document, it’s much easier for me to write here than it is for me to write my dissertation proposal. It’s probably for the same reason that I read blogs more easily than I read papers. It’s a bit therapeutic when I work for 5 hours and write 340 words, then head to the blog and write 350 words in 15 minutes. But frustrating: where is that output when I’m working? Why is it so hard to write at work?
I feel like I’m constantly at my cognitive capacity. Is there such a thing? I’m learning so much that I can’t possibly keep track of it all. I have so many things to do that it’s hard to focus on writing when I need to be reading, or I have homework (Homework! The bane of my existence.) My brain is always buzzing. But there’s always more to learn. My curiosity for this stuff is insatiable, even when it hurts my brain to read or write another word.
But there’s always pie. The promise of a sweet treat at the end of the day always keeps me moving forward. Sunday mornings are always for baking, and I eagerly anticipate reaching this point in my week because it allows me to take a break and focus on one thing. Well, two things–I have to take presentable photos while I bake. I finally had the chance to play with Key limes, and although juicing a ton of them wasn’t the most pleasant, the end result was so, so wonderful. The pie is punchy with floral citrus but tempered by sweetened condensed milk. The well-balanced flavor is complemented by the well-balanced texture of smooth filling and crumbly crust. And, once you’ve juiced your Key limes, it is so simple to put together.
Key Lime Pie
from the Joy of Cooking
I chose not to make a meringue for my pie–I wanted to get as much Key lime goodness as possible!
1 recipe Graham Cracker Crust, see below
One 15 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup Key lime juice (from 12-14 Key limes)
3 teaspoons Key lime zest
Whipped cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Whisk sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, Key lime juice and zest together until blended. Pour into prepared crust. Bake the pie for 15-17 minutes, until the center looks set but the pie quivers when the pan is jiggled. Cool completely on a rack, then refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream.
Graham Cracker Crust
from the Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients and pat them into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool a bit before filling.