I picked up Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid by Wendy Williams because it came with an excellent recommendation — it was set on a display next to other books I had read and loved. It was entertaining and informative and taught me a lot about cephalopods, but that wasn’t what I really got out of it. I read about the undersea light show playing round the clock and acted by most of the creatures living in this dark place and thought “humans are so boring.” You could maybe argue that evolutionarily humans haven’t needed to light up and that other tactics have evolved to help humans thrive. Humans have a brain. Then, Williams presents the challenges of humans measuring intelligence in beings so very different. She ponders the what-if scenario of squids studying humans and finding them dull-witted for their inability to change color. Or, in my words — humans are evolutionarily kind of boring.
Kraken talked a lot about the long evolution of squid — and cephalopods as a whole — which of course made me think of X-Men. X-Men never really go into the science behind their mutations — at least the movies don’t — but, suddenly it made sense. The same cell set-up that gives squid the ability to turn red or mimic the sea floor is allowing Mystique to change ages or eye color. Or, maybe it’s a bacteria causing her bioluminescence. See not all squid have the same abilities and those abilities are not all achieved in the same way. It’s wonderfully complex…like in X-Men. The world of X-Men is an exciting human world. I’d like that genetically diverse world to really exist.
Unfortunately it doesn’t even exist in baking. To track the evolution of this idea I have created a chart. The scientists out there shouldn’t get too critical – I am obviously not one of you.
Apple Cranberry Pie Crumble
Peel, core, and slice two apples and put them into a large bowl. Add in a couple handfuls of cranberries (maybe around a cup or a little over). Spoon over a fairly good amount of sugar, the juice of half a lemon plus a squeeze from the other half, and also a large spoonful of cornstarch. And some cinnamon — add in some of that as well. Let this sit for a while. Then strain out the apples leaving the juices behind in the bowl. Pour this into a small pot and heat until thickened or sort of caramelized – just a minute or so.
In another bowl combine about 2 cups of oats, about 1 cup of flour (all-purpose plus a couple spoonfuls of whole wheat for good measure), brown sugar, cinnamon, and ½ cup (or a bit less) of melted butter. Pour about half into a pie dish. Press it against the bottom and sides. If more or less is needed to create the bottom crust, adjust accordingly. Pour the apples in and then the apple juice sauce in over that. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the top.
Bake in the oven at some temperature (lets say about 350°) until browned.
Cool and eat.
I made this, photographed it, ate it and wrote this post without writing down the recipe. This is, an approximation, of how this was made. I could and probably did do things differently.