Friday, May 26, 2006

Flan: stupider than black currant Starbursts

I hate flan. I absolutely hate it--every single bit of its caramel beret-topped, custardy flesh. There is no way to turn me off dessert more than to show me a menu that has flan on it.

A decade ago, you never could have provoked such an anti-flan reaction in me. Sure, flan looked like rotten Jell-O and had the aftertaste of sweetened cottage cheese, but I told myself it was just one of those many cultural differences that I would never understand about the Spanish, in the same way no one understands why we Americans like peanut butter.

But then I spent a summer working in a restaurant in Menorca, which Americans will know as a Spanish-speaking island we’ve never invaded or based our military operations on, and the English will recognize as the island next to Ibiza—the place where they go to puke for cheap and dance to techno with their fists in the air.

I was initially hired to fill in for a waitress, but quickly failed at mastering the corkscrew. I was then thrown into the back and told to assist the chef. When the summer business picked up, I was given complete control of the desserts, because the owner had been impressed with the little caramel flourish I had begun adding to our nougat ice cream and mille feuille.

As is befitting of someone obsessed with sugar, I poured my heart and soul into those desserts, and everything went well except for the flan. I could never master it. There were a dozen molds to each tray, and no matter how hard I tried, I always managed to destroy about half of them.

One day, the owner spotted several broken flans in the trash and began to cry. The Spanish people feel very strongly about their flans, you know.

I told her it was a one-time-only mistake, and from then on was very careful to make sure that only one or two flans ended up in the trash each night.

How did I do it? Well, I used a very old-fashioned concealment method: I swallowed them. Twelve to fifteen flans a day for an entire summer. And with each day I hated them more.

And I still hate them. Flans. They are the devil’s dessert.

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anselmo the fire-eater said...

i am eating a double-chocolate chip muffin, a large mocha coffee, and a basket of fresh raspberries for breakfast this morning.

i am a good person.

boadwee blog said...


Moko said...

see, boadwee? i knew we'd get along!

as for you, fire eater, your breakfast sounds like a jolt of sugar that even i don't attempt before 10:30 a.m. i bow before you.

bikoko said...

toilet is your friend! Why didn't you just flush the whole thing?

Moko said...

hmm...not a bad idea, but it would've been hard: i would have had to make it past other kitchen staff in order to get to the bathroom. and how would i have explained why i was carrying ten flans into the bathroom with me?

Anonymous said...

This post was really hysterical!