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licked my spoon clean
2014/05/13 13:01

In this world, there are plenty of things to be afraid of, but soufflé is not one of them. We know all too well the horror of a natural disaster, the freak accident, the uncertainty of change, the fearful dwindling of the bank-account balance, the sleep lost to worries and wondering. For me, there’s a special terror reserved for the blast of a tornado warning siren: evidently, my Great Plains youth still haunts me. But if there’s one thing that won’t keep me up at night, one thing that I can count on, it’s soufflé.

I ate my first soufflé as a preteen, at Oklahoma City’s swank but sedate Coach House Restaurant. It was an apricot soufflé, tall and trembling, served in a small ramekin. The waiter, deathly serious, plunged a silver spoon into its center and poured a thin stream of translucent apricot sauce into the chasm. I scooped up a spoonful: the soufflé was airy, eggy, and sweet, with a thin crust of sugar where it met the ramekin’s edge. Everything went quiet. I didn’t speak until I’d scraped up every bit from the ceramic dish and licked my spoon clean maggie beauty.

But a dozen years would pass before I’d try my hand at making one. After all, everyone knows that soufflés are notoriously difficult. According to the word on the street, your soufflé will be nothing more than a scrambled-egg discus if you: a) open the oven before it’s finished baking; b) over-whip your egg whites, c) under-whip your egg whites; d) turn your back while it’s baking; e) don’t worry enough; or f) worry too much. It’s terrifying. To draw on Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by soufflé, starving / hysterical naked, / dragging themselves through the streets at dawn looking for a whisk….” If I’m going to sweat and twitch, it shouldn’t be over dinner maggie beauty.

But, dear reader, because there’s nothing more luxurious and magical than a good soufflé, we can’t let ourselves be beaten down by fear. We’ve at least got to try. In this life of uncertainty, we’d be wise to heed the words of another poet, William Stafford Fine Wine

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