New Ink

Delicious Ink by artist Mez Love

Being a fledgling baker is sort of like being a fledgling tattoo artist. You practice on your closest friends, hoping that they look back fondly on the experience for years to come. Because, while food experiences aren’t permanently imprinted onto the skin, they are etched into the folds of memory.

The memory of the five-course dinner at a chateau in the French countryside – one, after which, I had to nearly be rolled out the door and actually looked like I was pregnant – will always bring a warm smile to my face. As will the first time I saw the enormous fortune cookie at Tao, filled with vanilla mousse on one side, chocolate on the other, and surrounded by berries. Cracking it open with the back of my spoon was a delight. Or, there was my first bite of a truffle from La Maison Du Chocolate on the Upper East Side of New York City.

Where it all began.

It was a warm summer afternoon, the sun just starting to drip golden light across the city streets, and I had just come upon the shop. Intrigued by the detailed molds of fish and other animals in the window, I tried the door’s handle. Locked. But, it turned out, the shop was still open and I went in to discover that these weren’t just fancy chocolates. These were chocolates that sold for around seventy dollars a pound. Gulp. I bought my friends and I one small truffle each and once back outside, took a small bite. In an instant, I went from detesting all chocolate to falling head over heels in love with theirs. I felt ecstatic, practically orgasmic. My senses were heightened and it was as if I had just taken a drop of acid instead of a bite of chocolate. Over the years, I’ve tried many others, but none has yet to compare and every time I make it to New York, I try my best to pick up a piece for myself and for whomever I’m with.

But, there are also the other memories. The bite I took of a bad oyster. The food poisoning I got after eating a plate of mussels for dinner when I was ten. The gooey, mushy, gelatinous pies with crestfallen meringues that I would try as a kid that have since turned me off to most pies, anything soupy that shouldn’t be, and jello. They all bring a shudder, as I’m sure that someone’s memories of the disastrous chocolate balls I made in high school, which, in addition to giving a few friends stomachaches also tasted (and looked) god-awful.

I had pulled the recipe from The Alice in Wonderland Cookbook: A Culinary Diversion, a recipe book I love as all the recipes are based on food mentioned in Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. There’s blotter paper pudding and mock turtle soup and hot-tempered mustard and more for Alice fans to enjoy. But, I would guard anyone against actually making anything from it (after all, just consider it was written by a British TV writer in1976). I received the book a few years back for Christmas and will share the recipe with you. Just don’t make them.

Eat Me Cakes

Ingredients:

6 ounces cocoa

6 ounces ground almonds

6 ounces butter

6 ounces sugar

6 ounces Petit Beurre biscuits

1 egg

1 extra yolk

currants, maybe

sweet almond oil (not mentioned in the original list of ingredients but featured within the recipe)

Steps:

1. Knead the butter and cocoa together into a smooth paste.

2. Work in the ground almonds.

3. After melting the sugar over a slight flame, stir this into the mixture

4. Also the eggs.

5. Break the biscuits gently into pebble-sized nuggets.

6. Stir in all but a few of the pieces.

7. Divide the mixture into individual paper cake cases, the insides of which have been rubbed with sweet almond oil.

8. With the remaining bits of biscuit or currants, spell out “Eat Me.”

9. To “cook” store in the refrigerator for a day.

You know, come to think of it, maybe this is where my aversion to raw food stems from.

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One Response to “New Ink”

  1. Your writing is fantastic — I was just popping in to see if that was actually your ink or not, and got caught up reading the rest of your post (and several more) instead of returning to write the rest of the paper that’s due tomorrow. Keep it up, please!

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