Thursday, May 12, 2016

Macaron? Macawrong I say.

Reeking Lums assemble!

We have serious matters to consider.

One is shaped like a coroners slab, covered in chocolate, dessicated wood chip and is hard as a brick, another is a gaily coloured and fragrant sponge sandwich, that would look more at place in a bowl beside your bath, and the last looks like its been coughed up by a camel and left to dry in the desert sun, what am I talking about?  Macaroons, that's what,  and their obscure history and provenance.

Let the Reeking Lum untangle this holy mess with an in depth investigation of these so called Sons of Aroon, whoever he was.  “There can be only one” said immortal Highland Frenchie Christopher Lambert,  lets see if he was right

My investigations have taken me to the darkest corners of the web, it will take a long time to unsee some of the sights my eyes have had to endure, but as I try and make sense of it all, lets remind ourselves of the holy grail that is The "Lees Lees more if you please" Macaroon favoured in these parts, to prevent any confusion with inferior, less sturdy pretenders, I'll refer to it from here as The MacAroon. 
MacAroon: aka House Brick ( edible)

1931, to the east of Glasgow, a young grocers son, going by the name of John Justice Lees was experimenting with a new prototype confectionery bar,  if only he could perfect the smooth chocolate covered fondant, he would erase the disappointment his father felt when he flunked law school, "Michty me, I might be shite as a solicitor" young John Justice may have said " but by fuck, I'll be a passable grocer".  Time and again his trials failed,  the alchemy needed eluded him, until late one night, after a particularly disastrous attempt at making fondant icing with  sugar of all things (until then his experiments had used traditional mashed potatoes) ,  Mr Lees the senior visited him in the cellar, " What of all the fucks is going on doon here, ya useless wee tit? he inquired., "That Tunnocks bastard is over the hill cleaning up with they daft cocynut logs or whatever the fuck  he calls them, and your fannying aboot wi this, look at it, its brick cunting hard, it disnae even huv any tatties in it." With that he picked it up and to prove a point, threw it at young John Justice, hitting him on the temple and knocking him clean out and into a sack of dessicated coconut that Lees senior had won in a game cards.  Some hours, or possibly days later, young John Justice came round, starving and locked in the cellar,  all he had to hand was the rejected chocolate covered fondant slab, covered in coconut flakes,  He could have chosen to break down the door with it, or to bash his useless brains in as a final apology for all the disappointments his dear father had had to suffer, but instead he did  something surely only a genius would do, something so unlikely with an object like that, he ate a bit of it, and it wasn't bad, not as good as a Tunnocks Caramel Log, but nevertheless, edible, Quite unbelievably, an iconic legend was born, The MacAroon tolerated throughout the world and beyond.

All well and good, my beliefs had been reinforced with these discoveries, but the investigations had also thrown up suggestions of an older heritage, a possible lineage that stretched back to the old witch burning times.   This revelation had the potential to reset the clock of Macaroon evolution.  Simon Schama has nothing to say on the matter and Richard Dawkins would not even pick up the phone, so I had to search for answers myself.   

These ancient Google texts claimed that Macaroons have been around since the 8th Century, which even pre-dates the Ginger Nut.  They would have been baked by master baker monks in Venice, monks then, as now,  are prolific master bakers.  
 Macaroon aka Camel Phlegm
The secret recipe was then stolen by Catherine de Medici's pastry chef when she went off to marry the famous jousting Richard Stillgoe lookalike, Henry II of France.  And so sparked the the War of the Spatulas, a little documented confrontation between France and Italy that led to the catastrophic schism between the almond and coconut flavoured biscuit, as the Venetian monks knew it, and the camp  Macaron, with its soft spongy melt in the mouthiness, as the ponsy Frencheis liked to call them.

Later, two Nuns, fleeing the French revolution,  set up shop in Nancy and baked Macarons for the locals, they became popular and the Nuns sold so many they bought a house  and became known as the Macaron sisters, which by the way, isn't very imaginative.   I would have called them the Fancy Nancy Bitchin Baker Sisters.  All the Hipsters of the day would have went there probably, 

And that's how the Macaron became what it is today, well, almost, the Fancy Nancy Bitchin Baker Sisters Macarons had no colour or cream filling,
Macaron....aka BathBomb
they were basically a Farleys Rusk, but never mind, the cast was set for  all pretentious little cake shops that make fortunes charging £3.50 for a cup cake that has about 12p of ingredients in it and no obvious skill required to make the fucking things.

And so, my investigation into Macaroons was complete, apart from one curious side note, In Puerto Rico, Macaroons are called besitos de coca, or little coconut kisses.  My mind immediately jumped to kissing a coconut and an old girlfriend, which tells you all you need to know about her. 

Lang may yer Lum Reek. 

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