Cooking Adventures Pt. 5: Substitute Creatures

Substitutions are necessary sometimes in cooking. Ran out of milk? Powdered milk can save the day. Could have sworn you bought cumin but no time to get to the store, chili powder will have to do. Then there’s the inevitable buying of more cumin, to place aside the one you just now found, unopened, in the cupboard.

But some substitutions are more problematic than others. Spices usually have similar replacements, but if your recipe already has the substitute then what’s the point of adding more? You’ll lose a subtle layer in your cooking by doubling up instead of having both. And some things just can’t be substituted. Different types of flour can have drastically different effects, different salts change taste of a recipe. Tofu should never ever pretend to be a meat.

Just be yourself tofu, we’ll like you anyway, but nobody is gonna buy you being a steak. Same for bean burgers, yes you’re healthy and sometimes tasty, but you do not taste like burger. Turkey burgers are fine but do end up tasting differently and work with different seasoning and sides. Mushroom burgers are super delicious but not quite as filling.

I have yet to taste powdered milk and have it be anything but watery disappointment. Frozen yogurt is tasty, but not ice cream. Fat free anything is just not the same, though it may taste good.

That being said, I love sun butter. It’s just roasted sunflower seeds blended to the consistency of peanut butter. And it tastes like peanut butter. I made some in  blender with some flax seeds, chia seeds, and psyllium husks since those are all supposedly healthy. I didn’t add oil or anything, although that would probably make it a bit more spreadable. It just tasted like a nut butter to me. I’ve already used up my first batch in baking and several sandwiches.

I was super excited to find a substitution that actually works for me in place of the original. I’ve always worried about needing to cut stuff out of my diet and replacing them. Then there’s the fact that if I had a kid with allergies I’d have to adapt. It’s hard enough getting a healthy mix of food within budget without worrying about substitutions.

Anyways I have to find the time to make a new batch now because I want a PB&J (Or a SB&J I guess? That doesn’t sound appropriate.)



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