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I had halfway hoped to start back here with a rhubarb dish, but it’s way, way too complicated to pull off just yet. My plan B was a raspberry dish, but I screwed something up when making it that requires me to order some more obscure ingredients, which will set me back another week. In scouring the Mosaic forums for some help on that one, I came across this recipe, which is a current Alinea dish and isn’t in the book. Provided you have the right ingredients, it’s also super-cheap and super-easy to make, so I did!

We had one of these when we dined at Alinea a couple of months ago, as a palatte cleanser. It was called “Lemon Soda”. Given how dazzling the entire rest of the meal was, this small thing was largely overshadowed. As soon as I got it made, though, I remembered it well. Eating this is a bit like watching the A Team: not a ton of substance but hella fun.

Remember as a kid when we made foaming volcanos with vinegar and baking soda? Same idea here. The recipe revolves around mixing citric acid and baking soda, which, when they come into contact with moisture, foam. This key explosive is laced out with lemon flavoring (though I figured, really, it could be paired with whatever flavoring you want) and cut with a mixture of oil and maltodextrin to ‘fluff it up’ a bit in terms of mouthfeel.

The powder is very light and fluffy, and when it hits your tongue it immediately melts into a foamy tasty froth, reminiscent of a sip of soda. The original recipe calls for spray-dried lemon juice, which is way more tricky to come by than what I used: Kool-Aid. Unsweetened, it more or less worked the same way. For funsies, I got lemon, grape, and a Crystal Light strawberry flavor. They’re each immediately recognizable (especially the grape, which is so damn artificial and so damn delicious at the same time. It’s like foamy Hubba Bubba).

The powder is presented in little ‘purses’ of edible paper derived from potato starch and soybeans. A chef on the Mosaic mentions this stuff can be found sold as ‘obulato’ paper, which is sold in asian supermarkets and is used for making DIY pills for yourself (ostensibly for herbal medicines maybe?). I found a package of it at Berkeley’s Tokyo Fish Market (which was TOTALLY AWESOME), sold as “Edible starch bags – ‘oblate bags'”…for $5. Discounting the fact that I already had maltodextrin and citric acid, I was able to make HEAPS of this dish for less than $10, and in about 20 minutes’ worth of time.

Next up, Raspberry Transparency…hopefully.