Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Baker's Breakfast (or Why I'm Going to Live Forever)

I follow two maxims.  "Never trust anyone who doesn't drink coffee or beer, unless they have a doctor's note."  And "where there's a van...there's a crime."  The latter being the only useful tidbit  I got out of going to law school.  The former is just good sense.

My grandmother Omi had an especially profound relationship with coffee.  She tried to fell my sister once using a razor thin cheeseboard as a boomerang.  My sister had stolen a sip of Omi's coffee and bolted for her bedroom when my grandmother came after her.  There's still a nasty cheeseboard gash on the hall closet to this day.  The woman liked her coffee.  Her legacy lives on with me.

When I get to my bakery at 4am, first thing I do is grind fresh coffee beans, enough for a 30-cup pot.  And when it's finished brewing, I pick up my precious little carafe full of pep, hugging it to me like a kid's fat pet bunny, and deposit it on the corner of my workstation.  Mine.  All mine.

When the morning barista comes to open the espresso station at 6am, I get the first cappuccino.  I take it dry.  Very light and fluffy, the milk spun tight into microfoam, nary a bubble in sight. Chocolatey espresso peaking through.  

In the late afternoon, to mix it up after draining the last from the coffee pot, I get an iced Americano.  Iced coffee but better.  When it gets sticky hot, we run across to the Meadow Mart, our neighborhood market, and get a vanilla creemee.  Dodging traffic Heisman style with our cup of soft serve, we bust through the front doors of the shop, race to the espresso machine and dump a fresh shot on top of the ice cream.  

I do consume solid food.  I make oatmeal, bake bread, boil eggs.  I eat cups of frozen blueberries, forget that I've eaten them and then wonder why everyone's staring at my (purple) lips in horror.  I nosh on and off throughout the day. But I've always got a cup of coffee working somewhere.

And now comes word from the medical gods on high that drinking up to 6 cups of coffee a day decreases mortality by a few years.  

I'M GOING TO LIVE FREAKIN' FOREVER!  Six cups!?!? That's my 5 - 6am consumption alone.

If you can't stomach a steady stream of hot coffee to keep you in the race for immortality, there are other ways to add to your life affirming java consumption.  Grind fresh espresso beans and add the fine powder directly to your favorite recipes.  I add about a 1/4 cup to my shortbread dough to make snappy espresso cookies.  Add even more to plain cheesecake batter and bake on top of a chocolate crust. Unbelievable how good this is.  And if you don't already, add hot coffee to your chocolate cake when it calls for water.  Coffee brings out the flavor of chocolate.  Honest.  Try it.

Now I'm patiently waiting for the study confirming my long held belief that a stick of butter a day keeps fatal illness at bay.