Because Crohn's Disease is hard enough - New posts every Sunday!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Story Time: Bessy, the Beastly College Apartment Oven

Meet Bessy. Bessy is a college apartment oven. Bessy is a ... how do I say this correctly ... a "sweet spirit?" Bessy and I have never quite gotten along, and before I ever began this insanity of a diet, Bessy and I were mere acquaintances. I would use her to make macaroni and cheese and the occasional grilled chicken and apart from that, she would simply be there to hold the salt and pepper (though, somehow the salt still ends up missing.)  But the more I used good ol' Bessy, the more I realized that she desperately needed to be hauled off to a retirement home and left to rust.  Thus prefaces the story of how Bessy ruined my birthday.

This all started when I began the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet, for short). I was limited to surviving off of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat. And by surviving, I mean starving. That first month about put me in a morgue it was so awful. But I had reliable Bessy to help get me through those hard times. She was a wiz at the omelets; a miracle worker with the sauces; and for any of you who've had my banana pancakes, you'll know she's a true goddess. Food slowly transformed into delicacies as I experimented with oregano, paprika, and about every other spice Sprouts had on their shelf.

"Wait AJ, I thought you said that Bessy should be hauled off to a retirement home? Why are you painting such a beautiful picture of her?" I'm glad you asked. Bessy is one of those girls that's a looker. She slips on her lavish high heels, curls her hair just right, puts on her cherry red lipstick, and wears a dress that leaves all the guys drooling.

Then you talk to her.

And then you're no longer interested in her.

Like, at all.

We've all met people like her. That's Bessy to a T. Her burners just get my heart racing they're so hot. But once you open her up, there's nothing but heartbreak.  And just like all lookers, you're always secretly in denial, hoping one day she'll change. Just for once everything will turn out ok.

It started out with cookies that were always a little crisp on top and a little underdone on the bottom. But of course, I was new to this whole "oven" concept, seeing that mac and cheese doesn't require an oven. So I went on believing that I needed to make a few adjustments to my cookie recipe and everything would turn out all right. Next came the banana bread. I started with an actual loaf tin. I was actually quite proud of the fact that I HAD a loaf tin (remember, I didn't cook). And to my dismay, it was completely black on top, and undercooked in the middle! That's 3 cups of almond flour! That's $5! I can barely pay rent, let alone almond flour! Oh the anger. But I just brushed it off. It must be that almond flour cooks differently than regular flour. I should try an 8x8 and make it thin, like a banana bars. So I did. And it burned on top and was undercooked in the middle (see a trend happening?)

I was furious! I was enraged! I secretly cried a little over the loss of my banana bread (but it's ok, when you microwave undercooked banana bread, it magically comes out cooked. Magic Microwave: 1, Bessy: -3). I did some reading. Maybe it's the oven temperature. Maybe it's the heating coils. Maybe I just sucked at cooking and should go eat dirt. I had no idea. All I knew is that I wasn't getting the delicious food that I kept seeing on Pinterest.

Two days before my birthday. I was completely out of almond flour, and completely broke (every penny I owned went to getting to England for the Brittish Formation Championships). But hey, it was my birthday, so why not blow off groceries for a week, who needs to eat, anyway?  So I went out and bought a $10 bag of almond flour which had barely enough flour to make the cake. And just for the record, I was making a lemon yogurt cake. Let me describe this cake for you. Imagine eating a cloud, just about to rain lemon drops. That's this cake. It was sweet, sour, smooth, creamy, rich, moist, all in one pan. Oh, it was heaven-sent. And it had been over 8 months since I'd had it last, so I was well overdue. Ok, so I got the $10 bag of almond flour: check. I bought the lemons and hand squeezed each one: check. I even made sure I had a fresh batch of yogurt (which takes 24 hours to make, mind you): check. Every ingredient was in place. The oven was preheated. I was gonna make the best birthday cake ever. The culinary gods would shine down on this cake, leaving their blessing for all those who'd consume it. It was going to be a glorious day! The timer goes off. The cake is done!

And sure enough, it was burnt on top, and liquid on bottom.  But you know what, I still ate it! With a straw, mind you, but I ate it! No cake for my family, no joy of sweet, sour, smooth, creamy, richy goodness. Just disappointment. Just a lowly man left with a broken heart on such a momentous occasion.

So I dumped Bessy and made myself a no bake cheesecake.


  1. My heart breaks for you and the lemon yogurt cake!!!! Time for an almond flour order!

    1. Woot! I just ordered some almond flour about a month ago. And guess what. My oven coil has been cracked for almost 9 months now! We just barely got it replaced. That's why my food never baked well. Can you believe it?!