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The Brian Loo Cookbook… Brian Loo applesauce
by Kurt True

Brian with granola.

Brian with hypoallergenic granola, Pinnacles National Monument, February 2009.

Brian with granola.
Brian with hypoallergenic granola, Pinnacles National Monument, February 2009.

I don't like telling people how to do things. I think that's because I live in America, and in America, that is to say in the United States, just about all of our ideas about instruction and learning seem to derive, for reasons I've never understood, from Calvinist principles.

There's an unspoken assumption in this country's educational systems that all of us begin life as depraved little individuals, and school is where we go to learn how to overcome all of our base instincts and perverse desires.

School is where we learn how to walk around in single file and say the Pledge of Allegiance and sit in neat little rows. We learn how to eat and perform other bodily necessities in the most orderly manner possible. We learn about taking turns. We learn to ask permission before committing any act that might cause the slightest disruption to the day's routine, sharpening one's pencil for example.

And school is where we learn about the promise of the Next World, the place that awaits us when our time in school is over. We learn that the Next World is a place of abundance, material well being and wholesome living conditions. And we learn that God, as conceived by the American educational establishment, will admit only a select few to the Next World and cast the lazy and unrepentant, that is to say, the vast majority of us, into Outer Darkness.

How do we know who's going to the Next World? Well, those are our peers at school who've been favored by certain signs. They have neat penmanship. They're punctual. They can recite the multiplication tables and the poetry of Joyce Kilmer. They're good spellers, and they never forget to include their names in the upper left corner of their work. They are, from time to time, elected to ceremonial positions.

But most importantly they know the answers. That is the surest sign of God's Favor. If you want to know for certain who's destined for the Next World, look for the child who knows the answers.

I remember around Third or Fourth Grade, the teacher would ask us "Who signed the Emancipation Proclamation?" or "What is adobe made out of?" or "What is the lowest common denominator of fourteen and fifty-six?"

We'd react as if her words had conjured a dark, yawning abyss below our feet. We'd twist ourselves around and grimace and make sounds of distress and hold our hands up as high as we could manage.

"Pick me! Pick me!" we would say.

Or "Oh! I know! I know the answer!"

The answer. To blurt it out before God and the community was to grasp, for one glorious moment, the blessed promise of Salvation.

And that's why I don't like telling people how to do things. They've all had the same conditioning I've had, so as soon as I start talking, they go into a panic and blurt out one answer after another at me before I can get half way through what I'm trying to say.

apple slices

Thumb-sized apple slices. Your thumb size may vary.

apple slices
Thumb-sized apple slices. Your thumb size may vary.

Take Brian Loo pancakes, for example. When I tell people how to make Brian Loo pancakes, I start out with the standard Brian Loo Preamble, which goes like this

My friend Brian is allergic to all kinds of stuff. He can't have legumes, tree nuts, cantaloupe, avocado, bananas, seafood, chocolate, sesame or eggs. If he eats a peanut, he could go into anaphylactic shock and die.

Then I say that, when you make Brian Loo pancakes, you can't put eggs in the batter. You must use a different binding agent, I explain.

And that's when the blurting begins.

"So you use peanut butter!"

"You use bananas!"

"You use tofu!"

"You use almond paste!"

"You use tahini!"

No, I say. No, you don't. Those are all things that could kill Brian. Did you listen to what I just said?

No. Nobody listens. We're all so busy trying to blurt out the right answer, we never shut up long enough to hear the right answer.

And the right answer is applesauce. That's how you make Brian Loo pancakes. You substitute applesauce for the eggs.

apple slices in stock pot

apple slices in stock pot, kurttrue.net test kitchen, June 2016.

apple slices in stock pot
apple slices in stock pot, kurttrue.net test kitchen, June 2016.

And if you're like me, you make your own applesauce. Sure, I know you can buy it in a jar at the supermarket, but, if you're going to use it for Brian Loo pancakes, you need applesauce that's been manufactured in a facility that doesn't process anything that Brian is allergic to.

Also, commercial applesauce often contains so much added sugar that if you try to make pancakes out of it, you're going to end up with a product that tastes like a cross between cotton candy and a honey bun from a Skid Row liquor store.

And when you make your own applesauce, you can make it out of any kind of apples you want. If you like tart apples, you can make your applesauce out of Granny Smiths or Braeburns. If you like sweet apples, you can make your applesauce out of Fujis or Galas or Pink Ladies. Or you can mix sweet apples and tart apples and make applesauce that's a little bit tart and a little bit sweet.

Now Brian likes his applesauce pretty sweet, but not too sweet, so if you want to make authentic Brian Loo applesauce, you take about ten sweet apples and a couple of tart ones, you peel and core your apples, you cut them into slices about the size of your thumb, you put your apples in a stock pot with about half a cup of water, which works out to about 118 milliliters, if you live in a part of the world that goes for that sort of thing, and you cook your apples down for about a half an hour on low heat.

Cover your pot so your water doesn't boil away. Stir if you hear bubbling or begin to feel bored.

When your apples have cooked down to the point where you can mash them with a wooden spoon, mash them with a wooden spoon. If you don't have a wooden spoon, use any sanitary, heat resistant object solid enough to mash cooked apple slices. You could use your coffee mug, I suppose, or even a rock, provided you wash it off first.

apple sauce in jars

home canned applesauce, kurttrue.net test kitchen, June 2016.

apple sauce in jars
home canned applesauce, kurttrue.net test kitchen, June 2016.

If your applesauce comes out wetter than you want it to be, which it might, because the water content of apples can vary considerably, you can just take the lid off the pot and let your applesauce simmer for a while.

If you want to get fancy, you can put your applesauce in a blender.

So, like I said, I don't like telling people how to do things, but I don't mind writing down how to do things, because when I'm typing on a laptop at my kitchen table at 4:00 a.m., the likelihood of being interrupted at a critical juncture by a victim of Calvinist mind control is relatively low. I'm not saying it never happens, I'm just saying I think I've found a way to minimize the risk as much as possible.

So if you want to know how to cook for Brian Loo, or anybody else with multiple food allergies, keep checking kurttrue.net for updates to the Brian Loo Cookbook.

In my next update, I will teach you how to use Brian Loo applesauce to make Brian Loo pancakes (traditionally served with Brian Loo blueberry goop).

As my teachings are web-based and have no particular theological bias, you should feel free to eat, sharpen your pencil or use the bathroom any time you want.

Kurt True