For Valentines day, stark white rose meringues. They sound hollow, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, toothsome. And a passage from my favorite romance, Histoire d’O. It was published in 1954, and this Fifty Shades of Grey nonsense has nothing on it. Here is the novel’s articulation of one of the many faces of that signifier, that word “love”: the face of happy torture. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Morning, noon, and night. Recipes. For love potion, for disaster. Or for, well, cupcakes fit for the food intolerant that are fit for everyone as well. I’ve done my fair share of gluten free & dairy free baking due to an affection for a few of those afflicted by allergies, celiac, or a tender conscience. It’s not common place, but I do it. Gladly, really. In the end it’s all just science, this chemical reacting with that and heat, heat, heat. And then you lick your fingers, leave crumbs. It’s all cake in the end. You’ll like these. They aren’t “good for gluten free vegan”. They’re just good.
I collect odd moments. I’ve mentioned it before. I call them “moments that stare back”. They’re the definition of forever. If I’m the universe staring back at itself, then those moments are the ad infinitum. The universe become, I regard myself and the universe (myself, ourselves, you see) looks right back, actively. The reflection of the reflection is alive. These moments are more I than I am. I could probably find a Laconian rabbit hole to fall down at this point. Which is to say I may be able to turn myself into an object to stare at, but at some point object-I starts staring back and I realize I am the reflection, not it.
My esoterica aside (forgive it), suffice to say these moments, they are wordless. They’ve involved laying naked across a bed and making prolonged eye contact with a cat; the reflection of bath water rippling on the ceiling in a hotel room while Lullaby & Doina played; and blood sauce, freshly poured, spreading on a plate of duck hearts. In those moments all that mundane consciousness assumes is inanimate reveals itself to be quite animate and the dead walls (not dead at all) bristle, and I realize I’m surrounded by being and that time doesn’t exist and that I can never leave that moment and that I was never really there and that the story is never over. The horizon never comes. We are forever becoming.
I went to the market in Venice yesterday, gathered winter citrus & fresh eggs—the sun, the eye, some strange warmth in the dead of winter—and walked back to my friend Skye’s family home through the narrow streets and over marbled bridges that arch canals the color of eyes that waver so undecided between green & blue. I felt light of step and grateful and safe and all manner of things one would hope to feel from time to time. I laid the citrus out when I returned, and they, the mandarins and oranges and lemons so spread upon the marble kitchen island with the spectres of branches still clinging to their stems, struck me as summer trying to communicate from the grave. Like Persephone sighing somewhere down below. Summer, I thought, haunts winter. And I felt warm.
First and foremost, happy New Year! This is my favorite recipe. It’s the one I make the most, the one I could make in my sleep, if I had a predisposition toward somnambulant baking. It’s an art. A thing the body knows. But it isn’t hard. And it doesn’t take long. And with these biscuits you can break hearts and best foes and bend the fabric of space time to allow yourself to live all the parallel lives you feel you’re missing out on. I may be overstating their abilities. But I might not. You’ll probably just need to make them and mull over their potentiality with a cup of tea or coffee.