Wednesday, October 19, 2011

American Buttercream in the Eyes of the French

Hey everyone :)

Today all the Basic Cuisine and Basic Pastry students had to go to a lecture about HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, the management system used in Canada that addresses food safety through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Basically, it was a lecture about food safety and sanitization procedures. It was an important lecture for sure, but still, after sitting in one room for 3+ hours (the lecturer went over time by about 35 minutes or so, to everyone's dismay except the one girl in the front who couldn't wait until the lecture was over to ask her incredibly long list of questions), everyone was getting tired (we'd been awake since 7am or so), hungry (we're culinary students after all!), and hot (the temperature of the room had been turned up one notch too much we all agreed).

Anyway, class was pretty uneventful, but I did learn that one of the principal ways food can become contaminated is when it is at the wrong temperature. There exists what is called a "Danger Zone" for food and that is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Food (at least prepared food, fresh produce, fresh protein, etc.) is only "allowed" to be kept within the danger zone for 4 hours. After 4 hours, according to the lecturer, the food may become contaminated and might thus be unsafe for consumption.

I also learned that out of all the proteins, eggs are the "safest" in that they are the least likely to be contaminated (compared to beef, pork, chicken, etc.)

Also, I didn't learn this in class, but later when I came home and was talking to a few of the Superior Level Pastry students, I learned that there are actually 2 kinds of buttercream icing (which as many of you might know is my favorite kind lol): buttercream made with egg whites and buttercream made with egg yolks. The difference is in the texture and color: egg-white buttercream is lighter and fluffier and whiter, while egg-yolk buttercream is heavier and thicker and more yellow in color. In considering this, I began to wonder what kind of buttercream I'd been eating (and very much enjoying!) my whole life - was it the kind made with egg-whites or egg-yolks? When I asked for my housemates' opinions they looked at each other, smiled/snickered (politely though!) and said that if what I was asking about was "American buttercream," what I'd been enjoying my whole life probably wasn't even "real" buttercream at all. "You Americans use Crisco in *everything*," Chantal, one of the girls said. "Most of your buttercreams are light on the butter, heavy on the Crisco and fat, and extremely heavy in the sugar, while more 'traditional' buttercreams, like you'll learn how to make at Le Cordon Bleu, are made from 100% butter, sugar, although less sugar than is used in America, eggs, and maybe a pinch or too of vanilla extract."


Somehow that does not surprise me lol but you know what? I still stand by my fake American buttercream! You have to admit, it's delicious ;)


  1. HA! Theres always that one person with so many questions...usually not relevant or not all that important. JUST WAIT TILL AFTER CLASS AND ASK THE PROFESSOR ON YOUR OWN TIME.

    Speaking of unsafe food, I was distracted while cooking chicken and ended up eating two pieces of chicken that weren't cooked all the way through. :/ Hope I don't die. Hopefully that helpful thermometer you have posted will help prevent that from happening again.

    I already knew that eggs were the safest! Thats why I'm cool with eating raw cookie dough and brownie mix but not raw chicken or beef.

    Thats right! You represent our American butter cream. Don't let those canucks talk trash about our butter cream! :P

    To answer your facebook questions, since I'm too lazy to open a new window and go to facebook, I don't walk to school. I was going to take the bus everyday...but my mother said absolutely not. I'm glad she did because the school is not in a nice neighborhood. The school itself is pretty and modern...but the surrounding area not so nice. I drive everyday and park in the garage, as do most students. I don't go out in Philly at night because 1. the city creeps me out 2. I'm usually tired by the time its dark.

    Glad to know there are hotties up there. I'm quite jealous. Philadelphia is not only known as the dirtiest city, but also the city with the ugliest people. There are some good looking people in my class...but no one that I'm into. You mentioned cute younger guys...I like em young ;).

    I'm already feeling cold too...but I feel cold anytime it drops below 65. Also, the lecture hall we have is freezing. I think they still have the A/C on! I hope that nonsense stops because it is seriously colder in the lecture hall than it is outside.

    I'll consider writing a blog, but I'm fairly lazy. Reading yours sounds like more fun. I actually have more time than you probably think I do. I watched Bridezillas on my laptop for like 3 hours today. :P This class is not so intense and, like I said before, not as intense as chemistry at Cornell. And since I really only have one class at a time, I dont have multiple exams at the same time...which is really really nice.

    I eagerly await your next post.

  2. its funny how relevant this post is to me. just last week someone confused me by saying eggs spoil after two weeks. i knew that wasn't right...but i wasn't really sure. hadn't ever really thought about it but knew my parents kept eggs around for a while. i also lost 5 minutes two days ago figuring out what the differences were between the cinnamon rolls pillsbury was selling at Wal-Mart (butter cream icing vs plain "lard" icing, etc). now i know.

    anyway, im glad you decided to follow through with the blog bracken. looking forward to your future posts.

  3. lol idk why that comment reads like your blog was assigned reading for a class. what i meant was YOUR BLOG IS THE SHIT BRACKEN.