Ombudsman: Degrees of Cheating
Earlier this week, BS wrote the post, “Classy Cheating Confessions,” about foods that automatically turn an eh dish into an awesome dish. Endless Simmer defines cheating liberally, and allows for multiple variations and degrees of usage. Some of the commenters on that post chimmed in about their “classy cheating confessions,” as prompted by BS:
Have classy cheating confessions of your own? What stand-by ingredients do you rely on to save a dish?
Commenter Tim, however, disagreed with our calling anchovy paste, truffle oil and ajvar cheating ingredients:
I still don’t see eye to eye with you all on this (surprise!). I don’t think of any of these as cheating. They’re just ingredients. Buying pre-made garlic bread in the freezer section, now that’s cheating! Buying pre-made anything in the freezer section – cheating! But truffle oil, anchovy paste, and prepared horseradish are, in my view, legitimate, delicious ingredients. This is all very subjective, but I think you can give yourselves a break!
Tim makes a good point. Utterly fantastic ingredients are just that: utterly fantastic ingredients. But what takes an ingredient into cheating mode?
Cheating can be anything from using store-bought pie crust to adding truffle oil to save a dish.
The first example is fairly self-explanatory. The crust is not from scratch and buying an integral part of the finished product deceives eaters of a truly authentic baked-at-home experience.
Using truffle oil is a bit trickier. Truffle oil is not something that can be easily made at home, unlike pie crust. But truffle oil is cheating in BS’ circumstance. In this instance, it’s important to note what the truffle oil is used for: to “save a dish.”
…it’s made me ten times less creative in the kitchen, because any time I get to the end of a dish and don’t think it’s quite there, I just throw in some TO and call it a day.
BS is using truffle oil as an aide, as a calculator on a test when only brain power is allowed. If his sauce is bland, his dip is uninspired he doesn’t reflect back to think of creative ways to fix it. No, he relies on the ease of truffle oil. And that is cheating.