I've said it before and I'll probably say it again and again - I love to learn something new everyday! Even if it is as strange as the knowledge I've just acquired about a food product most of us simply pour down the drain.

Aquafaba is, quite simply, the briny water in which canned chickpeas (cece or ceci peas if you're Italian or the Spanish word is garbanzo) are packed. Apparently if you are vegan, you already have a working knowledge of how to turn this viscous fluid into everything from meringue to mayonnaise, whipped cream, butter and an all-purpose egg white substitute.

In fact a little digging on the infinite "interweb" (as Ben calls it) and you will discover the depth of love which a segment of society has for this wet wonder! For your own edification I would start with the official Aquafaba website, then perhaps peruse a New York Times article examining this wonder water. You could also check the Vegan Society's website and even a Bon Apetit article for further information.

Once I had acquired all of this material I still wondered where the name came from and who the first person was to drain their chickpeas and think, "Whoa, I could whip this stuff up into French Macarons!", (like the ones pictured above). This became an "aha" moment as I researched, because as it turns out, the name evolved from a Facebook community conversation about what to call this versatile liquid. The group settled on "aqua"- for water, (of course) and "faba" from the Latin for bean. But they had plenty of other silly, strange, slightly suggestive and just plain weird ideas before that!

As for who that first person was to stare deeply into a can of garbanzos and ponder the usefulness of the aqueous material the beans were suspended in- - that will remain one of the universe's mysteries for now, as no one seems to know for sure.

There! Now we all know about Aquafaba! I know I feel more scholarly, how about you? I can, however, guarantee that I won't be whipping up a big batch of bean juice gloop brownies anytime soon.

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