BY LAURA JANE/ILLO BY JEN
Point is, I love dessert. It's the dreamiest, most romantic part of a meal, and eating it's pretty much the only time I'll allow myself to fully let go- of all of it- and when I bliss out I bliss out, like I'm on a morphine drip dripping into a sleepy secret world where I don't need to care or talk or listen, can't be bothered to try and make any enthralling writery points about "what the sauce is like" just in case anybody forgot that I'm a writer who writes about food for like five fucking seconds of their life God forbid.
I ordered myself a piece of flan as my staff meal one Sunday evening. I'm not really supposed to do that, since flan is not a very nourishing meal and I don't think it would do a ton to enhance my performance or anything. But I was selling all these people all this flan all night and accidentally sold myself on it too. I had to do it. I think it's fine and normal if I do it every once in a while.
Our flan has cream cheese in it. It's very rich, as all desserts should be. I hate when people act offended by the richness, by the wealth of their dessert, like duhhhhhh- yeah it's rich! Duh. Who cares if it hurts your stomach? Why are you paying attention to your stomach? Pay attention to your mouth.
I had my little slice of flan up in one of the windows- there is maybe better terminology to use than "window"; I want to explain it so that people who haven't spent in time in kitchens understand it- it was resting on one of those silver shelves where the cooks put the food up when it's ready, to wait for a runner to come and run it to one of the tables. I had it shoved off to one side so I could take a little bite whenever I had a free moment here or there. I was eating it in the tiniest possible bites. I wanted it to last forever and I was dreading finishing it. I felt like I was going to die once it was gone.
The curved line running through the lefthand centre of the flan in the flan diagram seen above represents the size of bites I was generally taking, although I feel like the diagram bite I've illustrated is a tad more generous than the bulk of my real-life bites. The crosshatched section at the bottom of the flan diagram and the shaded portion at the upper lefthand corner represents the amount of flan I'd already eaten when the tragic thing that is about to happen happened.
I was standing by the counter, calmly and peacefully eating a diminutive and ladylike flan bite off a dessert fork, when my sous-chef noticed the flan, yelled, "OOOOH, THERE'S FLAN?", and then, grasping a tablespoon in his fist like a fat king about to dig into a feast involving turkey legs in a Disney cartoon, dug into the flan and took the gargantuan fucking bite, if you can even call a bite that big a bite, denoted by the EXTREMELY LARGE CIRCLE enveloping the ENTIRE TOP HALF OF MY FUCKING PIECE OF FLAN THAT I LOVED SO MUCH AND WANTED SO BAD-
I screamed, "Nooooooooooooo!" in an arc of a whine that was about 95% pathetic, 5% fierce: a wolf pup's howl. A newborn wolf pup. "There was not flan!" I cried- I was literally crying. I mean, I wasn't crying, but my eyes definitely teared up. It was my flan! It was my meal! I was loving it so much, savoring it, and then he came and swooped up half of the entire thing, and the worst part was, he ate the fucking crust. I mean, it's not a crust, because it's a flan- but it's the edge part, you know? The burnt, sticky, caramelly outer ring that I'd been SAVING FOR LAST because I SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST because THAT'S HOW I EAT MY FUCKING FOOD. He ate the best part of the flan, and it meant nothing to him, and everything to me. I hate him and will never forgive him. I have not shut up about how this happened since it happened and I need to stop writing it right now or else I will wake up seventy years later and realize I just spent my entire life writing about the time my sous-chef stole a bite of my flan and that was how I spent my time on Earth, and then I'll die.
Oh Christ, just look at these gorgeous little fuckers. Don't you just want to laminate that cone of newspaper into a pouch and carry them around with you everywhere? Like they're your marbles or pennies or whatever.
I ate this dessert at Terroni with my mom in mid-July; I almost never eat dessert at Terroni, because I allegedly "hate" Italian desserts. So many times in my life, my mother has asked me if I want to get dessert at Terroni, and then I whine, "I haaaaaate Italian desserts," as if I have just been asked if I'd like to pop in to the gynecologist's office for a quick post-prandial look-see. Luckily our server was a great salesperson and, before I even had a chance to roll my eyes at the prospect of tiramisu, tiramisu, or tiramisu, described the feature dessert as being peach fritters, or fritturi or whatever, served with sweet cream gelato. I was like "Sold." Peaches & cream is my everything. She could have been like "We have some peach-flavored barf, served with sweet cream-flavored horse-bones," and I would have been like "Okay fine."
The fritters were, I don't know... fritters. The fritters were fritters. Everything is everything. The other day I was explaining ceviche sizes to a table of at my restaurant and I said, "Well, the small is a small, and the big is a big"- don't think I'll be using that one again! The fritters were fritters. They were fried dough. They were hot. I liked them a great deal. The peaches inside were sliced into cylinders, and they reminded me of gemstones. They made me wonder if there are gemstones the color of peaches. And if so, why don't we care about them more? They seem like something Southern belles would really dig.