Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Cook and the Chef

There was a tear rolling down her cheek. Her big blue eyes were wet and her lip was trembling.

She was crying over egg white and I was finding it difficult not to walk out of the room in frustration.

She wasn’t crying because she had broken a bone, or had a fight with her friend or because people are dying in refugee camps across the globe. She was crying because I had been unable to find freeze-dried egg white at the local grocery store.

Frigging freeze dried egg white?

Her misery had started because she had found the recipe for peppermint creams in one of those Christmas craft books that I always buy in anticipation of the festive season, but forget about until sometime after Valentine’s Day.

The ingredients consisted of dried egg white, half a fresh eggwhite, peppermint essence and icing sugar.

What was I meant to do with the other half egg white, I wanted to know?

I had warned her that it was an unusual ingredient, but she is rarely one to let reality get in the way of a good idea. I trekked around the shop three times, looking at various sections before admitting defeat and asking one of the shop managers to look it up on the computer.

The strange look she gave me was probably deserved. ‘Yeah no. We don’t have that here,’ she said. ‘I don’t think anyone has that anymore,’ she said rather unnecessarily.

When I told the Bombshell I couldn’t find the dried eggwhite, she seemed to take it quite well. We’d try at a different shop, I told her. People make pavlova from it, I said. Someone will have it. And she had shrugged and walked away.

But as usual, bedtimes congeals the smallest disappointment into a puddle of distress. A puddle that needed to be dealt with so that I could make my escape to my own bed.

And so the tear was rolling down her face, and something she had clearly been dwelling on for 12 hours was bubbling up inside her.

Frigging egg white.

It took some gentle prodding to get to the real issue. Already a competent baker of muffins and cakes, brownies and biscuits, she wanted to try something new. She was getting stale (my pun, not hers). She needed to branch out. She wanted to make lollies and sweets.

Aware of what I was getting myself into, but too tired to care, I went to my stash of cookbooks and came back with an armful of books: ‘Pies and Puddings’, ‘Sweets and Toffees’, ‘Ice-creams and Sorbets’.

Her eyes widened and she greedily grabbed at the books.

‘Tomorrow,’ I said. ‘You can tell me what you want to make tomorrow.’

And with that I disappeared upstairs to shower.

Ten minutes later the door slid open. I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was still annoyed at having been caught unawares. And nude. ‘Always knock,’ I warned her. ‘Or one day you might walk in on something you don’t want to see.’

She looked at me, puzzled, but decided it wasn’t the time to ask what I meant. Instead she held a book out in front of her.

‘I found something,’ she said. ‘I want to make this and I am sure we will have the ingredients.’

‘Ok,’ I said, noticing she was holding the Ice-cream and Sorbet book. ‘Which yummy treat do you want to make?’

‘Pumpkin ice-cream!’ she said with glee, showing me the recipe.

Pumpkin, friggin ice-cream.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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