Buckeyes are Balancing (Dense Balancing)

22 May

After watching Anthony Bourdain’s Chicago episode, which went from the greasy and indulgent Foie Gras hot dog at Hot Doug’s to the micro-arranged and mini-portioned fish clips at L20, I realized that where you eat needs just as much balance as your daily three meals. You need grains, you need a protein, you need a three-course lesson in elegance, but you also need that triple decker duck club (and a wheelbarrow afterwards).

When a close friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while suggested making buckeyes in May, I wasn’t aware of two things: we were defying the devotion to seasonality in food (it’s apparently a fall food) and we were making a treat of balance. It’s the decadence of a peanut butter pie in a micro portion that makes 2 or 2 or 4 or any seem perfectly all right.

Now. What is a buckeye?

Courtesy of Charleston City Paper

I always thought they were a fanatic sect of a certain university’s athletics department. Charleston has long had a problem with Ohio imports, so I was a little hesitant about the namesake until I found out it’s a peanut butter ball dipped in milk chocolate. Like a Reese’s Cup. Or a Tagalong. Why all the hate? They could bring us together.

Neither one of us had made them before (hence the tripping over the autumn-only fans), but I don’t think that made a difference. I realized how much of a social experience this dessert-making can be. Stirring, rolling, melting, shortening, sifting-you’ve got a whole assembly line right there, and dipping at the end of the process reminds me of fondue parties.

We were a little short on chocolate (used 120z. instead of 16oz.), so we tried melting down M&M’s. Not a successful facet of our science experiment. They melt in your hand, your mouth, but in your double boiler or saucepan? Don’t think about it.

I took a Tupperware home with me and in the stops I made, I felt like a traveling minister or salesman dealing out something that people already knew about.

“You actually made this?”

Not the most ambitious product from a kitchen project (the gastriques or Thomas Keller Cream of Cauliflower soup w/ fried beet chips take that), but this was a simple and rewarding project that won’t require a trip to Ohio for.

Here’s a super fancy recipe from Smitten Kitchen (we used something more like this)


One Response to “Buckeyes are Balancing (Dense Balancing)”

  1. hungry dog May 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    My mother in law (who lives in Kentucky) occasionally sends us homemade buckeyes. Here’s her recipe in case you want to give it another go: http://thehungrydog.blogspot.com/2010/01/kentucky-buckeyes.html

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