In these past days of national lockdown, my body has adapted to a new way of spending more time at home on recreational activities, because life before the lockdown is not the same as life at home without the freedom of leaving it. With changing surroundings it is natural that our inner selves require a recompensation of that lively version of life in public spaces – my recompensation of spirits came with baking…and eating what me and my mom bake.
The smell, the taste, the texture of each cake, merengue, or crumble, comes with a sweet feeling in our hearts of warmth. It has been a confort baking one dessert everyday since day 1 of the lockdown, and I truly appreciate that my family is able to have that piece of delight during hard times. Desserts have always been a divine consolation for me: when I feel sad, the sponginess of a chiffon cake appeases my days. When I feel happy, an apple pie makes me nostalgic of a special occasion when I baked an apple pie with my mom with Snow White’s recipe (we didn’t have birds to stump their feet on the border so we used a fork). Overall, desserts are a method of expression and relaxation for me.
Without any doubt, the queques are not only my favourite dessert, but my favourite food. Indeed, they are the best because they use egg whites as an ingredient. Throughout all my life I’ve always avoided eating egg yolks for a foolish reason, and felt better when I ate only the egg whites. In consequence, when whisking them with sugar until they reach a thickness when stiff peaks can be formed, I become fascinated by their beautiful effect on the mixture, as they act just as if white gleaming clouds were placed at the mixture’s sky limit. After the mixture is whisked with the normally beige mixture, the consistency transforms from being stiff and heavy to being comfy and fluffy.
The most marvellous thing to see in the baking history of manhood is the transformation of simple primary food into desserts. Since the beginning of settlements, hommo sapiens lived in aggrupations called families. Since then, men and women have cooked for their families to share time, company and pleasures with them. The tradition has developed, and in that same dynamic, desserts were formed, reaching in its beginning royal families that could afford them, such as the greek rulers who had the pleasure of tasting the first cheesecakes from goat milk, or the English royal family who could taste the first sponge cakes. The most interesting fact is the one which I found about marzipan. Marzipan, according to a webpage, was created in Italy “after a year of bad harvest” where the only crop left was almonds! Out of desperation and necessity of producing food, Italians transformed almonds into what we call now marzipan.
Desserts are not only food that soothes the soul, it is the vivid representation of people who can transform the angst they have into a pleasant feeling of harmony and companionship that comes with sharing love through what we make with our own hands. During this pandemia, we need to look at what we have and with creativity convert it in a delicious creation.
Here are my favourite desserts – must try:
- “Keke” of carrots or orange with amapola seeds
- Strawberry meringue with chantilly cream
- Apple crumble/pie with chopped (not grounded) apples
- Crema volteada sin huecos
- Hot home-made vanilla ice-cream
As I write this my mouth sweetly melts.