All human beings value food, it is one of the most unifying themes in our species. Everyone can appreciate a home cooked meal, if not for the taste than for the time and effort that went into it. Homemade food is the most universal physical sign of time and effort. You can look at a loaf of bread or a batch a cookies and see the time that went into it, and taste the care that was put into its creation in a way that you can’t with paper money. That’s why in a perfect world the currency would be food. Wall Street would smell like chocolate chip cookies. Presidential candidates would use artfully decorated cookies to take down their opponents instead of TV attack ads, and kids would pay for college from their moms’ care packages. Your wealth would be determined by the care and skill you put into to your cooking. Because no one would dare try to pay for anything with a bowl of instant ramen when someone else was paying in handmade pasta, artificial food would become obsolete. Trust funds would become family cook books, and Bobby Flay would be the new Bill Gates. People would learn much more about foreign cultures by cooking their food than they would by exchanging their money at a kiosk. With every meal the world would become more connected, and the world would be led by the best most loving cooks.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. We must pay for things with Bens and Andrews instead of Beignets and Andouilles… unless of course you’re Molly Biskupic. I’ve developed a Little House on the Prairie style bartering system in my friend group, and I must say its worked out very well for me. In the last week alone I’ve paid for a hair masque in custard handpies, two henna tattoos with a pan of toffee, and an entire summer of rides to and from school with a quiche and a pitcher of cafe mocha. My friends appreciated the payment as much as money, but I’m still testing how far I can go with this whole food currency. I can only hope the day will come when banks accept a Thanksgiving feast as a mortgage payment… until then I’ll be fixing cupcakes for drivers and almond brittle for clothing loans.
1 pan’s work of unbaked pie dough
1/4 cup hazelnuts (ground)
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1. Take a 1 dozen muffin and flip it over so the cups face down, line the side facing up (the outside of the cups) with a tin foil. Line each cup on the outside with pie crust and bake at 375 until very light brown ( they should hold their shape when removed from the pan). Remove from from pan and let cool on a cookie sheet (you should have 12 muffin sized pie shells).
2. Soak hazelnut meal in water for 10-20 min. then strain the hazelnuts out of the water with a cheese clothe. Mix the water with the milk, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together the milk mixture, egg yolks, and sugar.
3. Cook while stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to evenly coat a metal spoon. Divide custard evenly among the pie shells and bake at 350 until the centers off the pies have set.