I’ve gotten used to microwaving water for tea and never having to tell a single person what I’m thinking. I slept for fifteen hours yesterday, my body exhausted from the flu, and no one would ever have known if I didn’t tell people. For pity, for a connection to someone else. I’ve become this different person, a liminal character between two worlds–the moorish memories of California, the Shangri-La future of central Texas. If the sun hits me at noon, my fingertips become smoke rings, I float away into my own imagination. I never have to tell a single person what I’m thinking.
Last week, I stopped by a Salvation Army and looked for an ice cream scoop. I wanted an old one, one that looked rustic and used. One that survived birthday parties and anniversaries, graduation parties and the Y2K scare. I found a chipped crock and an Ace of Base CD instead. I forgot my wallet in the car and felt oddly embarrassed, oddly unsure of myself, self-conscious of my windowshopping. I went back out to the car and noticed how few parking spots there were for how many customers the store had. It confused me, how people got there. I left without buying anything.
The reason I needed the ice cream scoop is because I was determined to make ice cream. Chantilly Meringuèe, to be exact. I was given twenty-two eggs from a coworker whose fridge was overflowing with them. So many delicate egg whites, cracked open on the sides of mixing bowls and countertops. My fascination with the egg white’s transformation was last seen with the Italian Meringue Buttercream, but I wanted to take it one step further. Because, egg whites, too, are so liminal. So between-worlds. Too viscous for liquid, too amorphous for a solid. The more air you incorporate, the more velveteen and shapely it becomes.
I wanted to see this transformation, I wanted to feel as though my sublimated body could border-cross the way this dessert did. I wanted to create magic without the unnecessary equipment of an ice cream maker. I wanted something cold on my tongue, the sharp bite of winter melting in my mouth. I wanted to feel alive this week, after sleeping for fifteen hours and only speaking when I needed something. I wanted to feel like a kid again, taking change from my pocket and buying ice cream across the street from my school, at a place called Shaffer’s Snack Shack. I wanted to share this recipe with you.