Five years ago, at an appointed time and place, I met a stranger to collect something I knew nothing about. In his hands he carried a beat-up milk carton. “You’ll need this too,” he said casually, slipping an index card into my hands. And then he and his sports coat left.
I took the bus home with my old milk carton. I examined the neat notes on the index card. I got a metal mesh fry screen and cut out wonky circles, then fit them onto jam jars to create a screened top. I poured the contents of the old milk carton into a jar, poured in some fresh milk, and wondered what I was doing with my life, and when exactly I had agreed to become a parent.
Sailing in the black void, accompanied only by the humming sound of your own failing engines, you see one distant piercing light. Could it be salvation? Your crew, gaunt and mutinous, eye you hungrily. The violent thoughts you sense in their gaze send a shudder down your spine. Your ship’s light flickers, then fails, and your heart leaps in the hope that the faraway light is another ship, a lighthouse, a desperate beacon of deliverance. You approach as your fuel drains away, making guttural noises in the dark, drifting ever more slowly forwards. Suddenly, fear grips like a vice over your heart, as all becomes clear. One giant glowing eye rises from the watery abyss. This is no lighthouse. It is death.
Sunless Sea is not a computer game known for its kindness to players. A vast dark map, set in a claustrophobic underground cavern, is the playing field for your tiny vessel, which navigates such horrors as cannibalism, bloody secret rituals, monstrous sentient icebergs, crimson nightmares, sacrificial victims, drugged dreams of chitinous insects, and violent corrupt courts ready at a second’s notice to tear you limb from limb. The gameplay is frustrating. Without a physical notebook by your side, keeping track of quests is nigh impossible. Your “Terror” bar is always on the rise, and when it hits the maximum, your character careens into permanent insanity. When you drift too far in the black ocean, to die alone and afraid, you stay dead. You must start over.
Naturally I thought this all was an excellent theme for a cake. 🙂
Before I start: I don’t have a name for this drink yet besides BEAUTIFUL MISTAKE. If you have a name suggestion, please post it in the comments!
A few years ago, I got a new bartender set for free. It had all sorts of shiny things in it: a shaker, a muddler, and many other contraptions ending in -er that I hadn’t ever seen before. Me being me, I decided to use it for everything in my life. For a little while there, every drink I had needed extra mint leaves, just so I could muddle them. I shook drinks that never should have been shaken, adding in way too many ice cubes and shaking so long my fingers lost feeling. I am nothing if not over-enthusiastic. Most of the drinks were… undrinkable. But my enthusiasm finally paid off, when one day I made my favourite drink. Continue reading The Best White Russian: A Mistake
I am, as you may have figured out, very lazy. Well, I alternate between very lazy (out of milk for tea and the store is a whole block away? Please pass that sweetened condensed milk) and incredibly perfectionistic (Why yes I will spend 4 hours frosting that cake, thank you).
This is one of those times I prefer to be very lazy. I first saw this salad in a Cooks’ Illustrated magazine. By now it’s been years and I’ve mostly forgotten their exact recipe (I no longer have website access), but what I do remember is being terribly offended that they would dare to ask me to spend an extra 5 minutes roasting corn for better flavour. I mean, of course, they’re right, but that’s besides the point. I have pride in my laziness, after all. I’ve got a reputation to uphold. And when it’s hot out, the last thing my lazy self wants to do is turn on the stove. Continue reading Black Bean Corn Salad for a Beach Picnic
Hey, did you make that Tomato Cucumber salad I posted the other day? Do you– unlike me, a clear fan of ordering the same thing always always always at restaurants– get tired of eating the same thing for more than 2 days in a row?
Speaking of gardens, it just started cooling off here, and my basil plants are doing well. It reminded me of my favourite summer salad to make, a fresh and happy glowing mess of tomatoes and cucumbers, feta, and basil, with a generous drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Of course, it helps to have some lovely summer ingredients.