cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So For Christmas

i give you pink marshmallows--because they are my thing.

Pink marshmallows are my thing. Marshmallows are nothing special--they are simple, composed of three ingredients, sugar, sugar, and sugar. They do not require any skill, any real innovation, they are just marshmallows. I never buy pink marshmallows, though when i visit my family there is always a bag in the cupboard, fluffy pinkies mixed in among the white. I sit and pick out the pink, neglecting the white as tasteless. My brother raises an eyebrow, they taste the exact same you crazy, but what does he know. They taste nothing alike. My disdain for white? I don't know where it came from. Strange non? A marshmallow is a petite cloud, a nouage, and as one who spends the vast majority of consciousness up in the abyss of clouds dreaming of a cabbage patch, I can't bring myself to touch them. Either way, I suppose, a pink marshmallow is nothing but a white one caught in a blush, just as there are those who claim the dove to be just a white pigeon. But even if it is, why tell it. Why force one out of the cabbage patch before they have to. why, why, why, who made the rules. So let the Dove be a Dove for a little bit longer, and let the pink parade around as--as, well, pink.

I have been back in the US now for six months, Paris seems at times like it never happened. For a reason unknown to me, i am thrown at this time of holiday into homesickness for the city of lights. But why? My last year's Christmas was...well far less than the stereotypical picture book Christmas that many picture as the ideal noel. Not that i would complain--two different floors, a couch, and a stranger's apartment in Lille, all within a week! But seeing the lights, I miss her, Paris. I watch small films taken, comb through the thousands of photos, and read back the posts that created inside her borders, posts with terrible photography, zero comments, few readers, and yet my heart still bleeds. It is alright to miss, I miss more than I realize. Missing is part of the day, it is just merely at Christmas that we are made more acutely aware of our missing.

You can miss a taste, miss a smell, a sight. The sound of a siren which for me brings to the surface a bag so deeply saturated of memory that I nearly suppress a laugh. I miss the terrifying wind on the Sein on a rainy day, each ruined umbrella was yet one more everlasting trophy. I miss the terrible radio station played in my small G-20 grocery market. I miss the cat calls of the friendly construction workers along Avenue de Versailles as I jog by at 5h00 in the morning. I miss counting down the line 10 metro stops in my head on my way home; La Motte Piquette, Emile Zola, Charles-Michels, Javel-Andre Citroen, Eglise d'Auteuil. I miss Abdel every day at lunch, salut mallory ma puce, un salad de quoi aujourd'hui? Poulet ou thon? I miss la Canal Saint Martin, and I miss the Champs de Mars. Les Jardins d'Auteuil, and the tiny Square Berlioz down the street from Florielle's. I miss walking to class along Rue de Rennes past the ever-changing store front windows. I miss the guy playing the violin in the metro tunnel at Sevres-Babylon. I miss little Flo, Antoine, Nico, Tar Tar, Diogo, and the others. I miss the cooking section at the Fnac, and the crowded aisles of Carrefour that no matter what section of the store, smelled of cheese. And more than it all, I miss waking up in the morning knowing that no matter what i do or where i decide to go, this day will be an adventure, this day will be new, and this day will be alright because i have been given it as a gift. Paris didn't give me myself, Paris let me be myself. So i miss it, i miss something so terribly that i have lived. But i miss all the same what i haven't lived, what i haven't seen, and who i haven't met. But perhaps missing has been given a bad reputation, i would rather miss Paris than not have her at all, and the same goes for you. So happy Christmas everyone, may the new year bring what you hope for. Thank you for your steadfast literary patronage, we will see you in the new year. And take a pink marshmallow, they are my thingão, yes so very dorky. But take one anyways, because they do taste better, even if you don't know it yet.

pink marshmallows:
ingredients: 3 cups sugar ~ 4 packets of gelatin ~ 1.25 cups light corn syrup ~ 2 tsps raspberry extract ~ .25 tsp red powder dye ~ .75 cups water ~ .25 tsp salt
method: 1) dissolve gelatin in cold water in bowl of electric mixer 2) boil sugar, salt, and corn syrup until 238 on candy thermometer 3) slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin in mixer on low speed 4) after five minutes turn up speed and add extract and dye, mix on high for 5 more minutes 5) pour fluffy stuff into greased (do not use parchment paper!) casserole dish, leave out overnight, turn out onto powdered sugar, cut, and coat sides with powdered sugar. done.

as always,
à bientôt


The Fort Henry Gazette said...

"So i miss it, i miss something so terribly that i have lived. But i miss all the same what i haven't lived..."
I love that line, it's so true. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you too!

Anonymous said...

those are gorgeous! i really want to try making homemade marshmallows sometime soon-this might be the perfect recipe! THanks for sharing!

shanna said...

Just made some marshmallows yesterday, also pink, but tinted because of peppermint.

Christy said...

Oh....what beautiful photos!! And what a cute snowman too!! I've never built a snowman in my entire life so we better put that down the next thing to do after the monkey tour, the banana picking and the snail collecting!

I know how you feel---the atmosphere is different, isn't it? And a beautiful city such as Paris holds her charm over you for many, many years to come. But at least you know where to go to be yourself!!

Merry Christmas, Mallory, may the new year bring even more readership and even better things! Maybe even a job at Random House!!

grace said...

i'm right there with ya, mallory--pik marshmallows taste decidedly better than all others. this is a beautifully written post and your pictures are lovely!
hope your christmas was wonderful! :)

MC said...

Hi, Mallory, I love your post and the pictures. Just lovely... A word about Paris: I spent the week before Xmas there (just got back last Sunday)to visit with my Mom (who is 94 and lives near the Eiffel Tower) and it was just awful: dreadful weather, low-level public transportation strike, nasty viruses everywhere (I came home sick), etc. So, sometimes, it is quite satisfying to just travel down Memory Lane and daydream, remember, imagine and hope...
My wish for you is that 2009 will take you back there in a more magical time of year!
All the best, MC

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i hope you had a merry christmas mallory. lovely, lovely!

Dewi said...

Hi Mallory,
My first time here, and I am loving it. Beautiful photographs (obviously) and that snow man is so cute. I never made marshmallow before, it looks so pretty and very girly. I like anything girly myself.

Hope your christmas was wonderful, and happy new year.

Christy said...

Hey, we should definitely do something together, although I have to say 5 types of sugary cod does stump me a little bit. But do think up some crazy impossible thing for us both to make, and we'll make it doable. I already can't wait to see how it looks! Lol!

Oh, btw my birthday is Christmas day itself---as in 25 December. Does that just make it tons worse? Plus, I'm in the middle of a transition here...trying to determine whether working 60 hours a week while being paid peanuts as a pastry chef and having no weekends off for the next 5 years is worthwhile. Or should I just take up the full time job I have just been offered in the reservations department of a prestigious restaurant here in Melbourne and enjoy a nice salary package and Sundays and Mondays off??? I hope your new year's looking better than mine!

Helene said...

In a way I am glad I did not have the time to come visit sooner..I have had major meltdowns the days after Christmas being so far away from home so reading this now is a little easier.

Wonderful marshmallows and pictures! Very "de saison"!

Wishing you the best for 2009!

RioGringa said...

those look almost too pretty to eat. almost!

Y said...

How weird. I have always preferred the white ones. But your pink marshmallows are undeniably pretty!

dessert girl said...

I love this cake! So cute! And the pretty!

Cakebrain said...

Yummy looking cake and perfectly pink plush marshmallows!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

oh my! adorable!