8.07.2006

A Brief Introduction....If We May

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction."
-The Prince (1532)

With this in mind it is our privilege to pause for but a moment and introduce the individuals who constitute the collective brilliance known as The Experimence. The following is a humble attempt to explain a fraction (for realistically that is all anyone could do) of who these individuals are.

Zeus

-Known by many titles (e.g. Ruler of Mount Olympus, God of the Sky, God of Thunder, King of the Gods) Zeus is nonetheless a troubled soul. Constantly pestered by the one known only as The Naysayer, Zeus' role is that of the tormented hero who is able to triumph in the face of such overwhelming difficulty. Driven by a desire to create something more powerful than himself, Zeus toils endlessly creating some of the most exemplary culinary masterpieces ever conceived.

"Open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what Zeus will send you."
-Aristophanes, 450 BC

"
Zeus does not bring all men's plans to fulfillment."
-Homer, 754 BC

Achilles

-The greatest warrior of all time, Achilles is equally famous for both his prowess in battle and the intensity of his anger. Though normally a gentle-hearted patron of the kitchen, Achilles is fiercely loyal to his friends and will pursue their persecutors to the ends of the earth. His destruction of Hector during the Trojan War after the death of his friend Patroklos, as well as his attempts to deflect the Naysayer's insults from his friend Zeus, stand as evidence of his fealty. His name, a combination of the Greek words for "grief" (akhos) and "people" (laos), is fitting: Achilles travels throughout the oceans to address the grief of people everywhere by bringing them epicurean delights.


"I only wish my fury would compel me to cut away your flesh and eat it raw for what you've done."
-Achilles, to Hector (Homer, 754 BC)

"If they ever turn my story let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles."
-Odysseus (Troy, dir. Wolfgang Petersen, 2004)

Admiral Salty

-The most secretive of the divine trinity, Admiral Salty is a legend in the truest sense of the word. His precise origins and even the reason for his peculiar name have never been revealed. To this day not even his companions know what nation or organization granted Salty the rank of Admiral. Only one thing is known: none have ever questioned that he deserves it. Vigilant and guarded when supervising even the most menial of tasks Salty is able to remain as stoic while watching over an oven as he did when taking a 12 hour watch in the crow's nest. Admiral Salty, a swashbuckler, pirate hunter, and legend has become an integral part of the greatest collaboration in history.

"That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs but what a ship is . . . is freedom."
-Captain Jack Sparrow, 2003

"The admiral or commander in chief of a squadron, being frequently invested with a great charge, on which the fate of a kingdom may depend, ought certainly to be possessed of abilities equal to so important a station and so extensive a command."
-William Falconer

Chapter 3: (better than) Chipwiches

The Experimencers sprang back into action on Sunday, August 6.

Buoyed by the arrival of the newest member of the Experimencer team, Admiral Salty (fresh off a six-month detail patrolling pirate activity in the Arctic Ocean, see photo in "My Profile"), Zeus and Achilles decided to one-up their last experimence (see "Chapter 2: Ice Cream Cake") in the only way possible--to make something equally delicious, yet portable.

Z and A decided to create chocolate-chip-cookie-ice-cream-sandwiches. Yet unhappy with the quality of regular storebought cookie-dough ice cream (the cookie dough is simply inferior to Z and A's own recipe), they decided to put the "experi" in "experimence" once again.

After making a double batch of raw cookie dough, Z and A baked 10 cookies (enough for 5 sandwiches) and also rolled out an extra sheet of cookie dough. After the cookies had cooled, Z and A spread ice cream on each cookie and sandwiched them together around a small disk of raw cookie dough that would serve as the filling.

The Naysayer did make one suggestion (one more than usual) that the experimencers decided to use--namely, pressing mini chocolate chips onto the sides of the sandwiches for an extra dose of chocolate. True to form, however, she soon retreated to the couch with the pot of leftover cookie dough, abandoning the experimencers (see forthcoming photo). Newcomer The Ocean, Achilles' girlfriend, chipped in by suggesting a revolutionary method for placing the chocolate chips on the side.

In the end, though, the inspiration and execution came from the usual source. But this time, the experimencers' feat was one not just of culinary brilliance and ingenious foresight, but also of revolutionary architecture and sublime deliciousness.

Current status: The experimencers are currently in negotiations with officials at the Louvre to replace the much-maligned pyramid in the courtyard with one of Z and A's culinary masterpieces.

8.02.2006

Chapter 2: Ice Cream Cake

Controversy struck the experimencers on Sunday, July 23rd.

Zeus' girlfriend (hereinafter referred to as "The Naysayer") alleged that on Thursday, the 20th, he had promised her ice cream cake at a DC bar in an attempt to persuade her to attend happy hour with him and his coworkers. Though Zeus denies any such promise, the experimencers decided to silence their critic and also confront the heat wave swamping DC.

They decided to create a cool, creamy concoction--the Oreo Ice Cream Cake.

Using a delicious butter-chocolate cake mix, the experimencers created a rich fudgey cake that would have been wonderful on its own. But that wasn't good enough. Instead, they cooled their two cakes, sandwiched Oreo flavored ice cream in the middle, frosted it with a wonderfully fluffy vanilla icing, and placed crushed Oreos on top.

Despite heckling from the Naysayer (specifically that the cake looked "misshapen" and "postmodern"--as if the founders could make anything that wasn't amazing) Zeus and Achilles pressed on and ultimately created a wonderful dessert that involved hours of baking, freezing, and crushing.

In short, they realized that the best way to silence their critic was to make a creation of undeniable brilliance. They succeeded--at least for the time she spent chewing and savoring the delicacy created by those she dared doubt.

Whether the experimencer's solution to the DC heat is a tenable one remains to be seen. But rest assured, readers, that if the DC government comes to the experimencers and asks them to serve the city they temporarily live in, they will be ready to aid.

So long as they get a piece of each cake they make.


Current Status: True to predictions, the Experimencers have been contacted by an exploratory panel commissioned by the DC government to investigate potential culinary solutions to the heat. They are expected to testify in front of the panel at some as-yet-undetermined date. This blog lacks information or belief as to whether the Experimencers will reveal any of their trade secrets in this inquiry.

Chapter 1: The Beginning

Welcome to the experimence! This site is dedicated to celebrating the collective brilliance of two resourceful young gentlemen who one day decided to focus their genius on culinary pursuits.

One Sunday night, the two founders, Zeus and Achilles (former college students at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively) decided that they wanted cookies. Unhappy with the products they found in the store, they decided to take matters into their own hands. They purchased every ingredient needed to make delicious chocolate chip cookies . . . and then they came home.

Arriving in their apartment, they realized that they barely had any baking utensils to speak of. Their inventory consisted of three wooden spoons, a big metal pot, and a pizza pan. Undaunted, the founders pressed forward. They made a delicious cookie dough, set some of it aside for instant consumption, and began to form cookies out of the rest.

They soon discovered that their small pizza pan would not enable them to make a big batch of cookies. Putting their minds to work, they decided that instead of making a few small cookies, they would make one big one. They spread the dough on the pizza pan and made a cookie cake that would put all others to shame.

The cookie was delicious, but more exciting was the experience of experimenting with baking. The founders could have stopped there, but they decided to press their ingeniuity and resourcefulness further. They would attempt to make outlandishly complex creations with only the tools in their apartment.

The world would never be the same. History was forever changed. The experimence was born.