Quote of Inspiration

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Atilla and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today....a new fig.

Today is a good day. It's a day for figs.

I am headed to the grocery store, where I will be buying a carton of eggs, setting them out at room temperature and preparing to make an angel food cake.

As part of my healthier eating program, I am trying to make one dessert a week for my family. Then, when the dessert is done, it's done. I hope this will make us more mindful of what we're eating, less inclined to eat packaged junk and give a certain festivity to our treats that just doesn't happen with a carton of ice cream or a box of store-bought cookies. I also want to include my kids in the process of baking, so that they get to enjoy the entire process. I find food is so much better and feels more special when I make it myself.

To that end, angel food cake.

Why angel food cake? Well, it's like many things in my life that I avoid. I had a bad experience. I once made an angel food cake, early on in my relationship with my husband. We'd only been dating six months, and I wanted to make a nice dessert for dinner. I spent several hours making the cake, a Martha Stewart recipe (those can be really hit or miss) that had berries swirled through the cake.

The entire thing was a flop. And by flop, I do mean FLOP. The cake just kind of caved in on itself, in a big flopping heap of sugar and egg whites.

I felt like a complete failure. I know some people would laugh or think the recipe was off or shrug and go buy ice cream. For me, however, it was just really disappointing, standing there with my deflated cake, nothing for dessert, my then-boyfriend trying to cheer me up with false words of encouragement.

From that point on, if I ever saw egg whites in a recipe (ever), I turned the page. I refused to even try. It's those dodgy egg whites that turn a simple recipe into a mine-field of culinary pitfalls.

Okay, well, I know that's a little dramatic. Still, it's true. I avoid egg-white recipes at all cost. And really, it was likely just that recipe. Or maybe it was simply a bit of technique, easily fixed. Whatever it is, it's time to overcome it and stop fearing the egg white.

Also, I really need a good angel food cake in my culinary repertoire. It's relatively healthy and low-fat, and it's best paired with fresh berries. So, it's time to face my fears (there really are fears) and try again.

I'll let you know how it comes out.


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