Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pavlova, Schaum Torte, or a Walk on the Moon?

I've been cleaning out the freezer, making way for the harvest of the new growing season. There were egg whites left over from my spring yen for yolks.  I read somewhere you could freeze them for later. Well later came and its true, they whipped into a hella divine meringue. 

I'm not one for sweets, but a recent trip to Wisconsin after the recall, triggered a recall of a sugary part of my childhood called Schaum Torte, a traditional German dessert - named "Schaum" meaning "foam" in German. Later in life my girlfriend Patience, a fabulous cook, introduced me to a similar dessert called Pavlova, a traditional recipe of New Zealand - named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who took a fancy to the light dessert on one of her tours. Both are meringues, basically sugar and egg whites whipped to a stiff peaked frenzy and slowly baked. The result is a chewy sweet marshmallowy mess, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, typically slathered with whipped cream, heaped with fresh berries, kiwis, ice cream, or whatever happens to be in your larder worth desserting.

I'm not one to preach the benefits of egg whipping or reiterate confections of international origin. Recipes, how-tos, and theories about both dishes abound on the web. There are foodies and bloggers and recipe hounds out there with much more finesse than myself.  My fascination lies simply in the process of transformation and the symbolism therein, a way of Being in the kitchen, the heart of the home.  It's a wonder of alchemy that a slimy colorless egg white could morph into heavenly fluff and so much fun can be had just beating it. Who dreamed this up? Cooking is not always about eating or the feeding and pleasing of others. There are days it turns to artistic expression, if only to please the imagination of the artist who happens to be cooking.

The aha moment for this post unfolded during a frustrating photo shoot; me fumbling with the light, not getting it right, same old boring pie in your face picture to accompany a floppy story called, "The Blob That Came From The Oven." After several unsuccessful takes I stepped back, took a breath, and returned to my mantra, "Try New Things." Squinting, I looked at the hot mess from another angle, then a little closer, going in a little closer, going in...when out of the blue the light bulb turned on in my head and angels started singing "In Egg Shells is Deo!"
Suddenly my meringue came to life,
spouting new twists,
erotic fantasies with soft body contours in secret places,
walks on lunar landscapes,
spirits of the ancestors.

Images enlarged to wall size, were framed and hung in galleries to amuse artsy types sipping white wine, and graced the walls of swanky Manhattan offices . . .
 just messing around.

"Try New Things" is a mantra I live by, and one I like to share. It keeps the mind fresh, inventive, youthful and open to starting over. Thinking new unsticks the stuck in your ways.

 Get outside the box by creating a new one. 

1 comment:

  1. HaHa. In egg shells is Deo! And I like your advice to try new things....