DESSERT-OLOGY PT 5
22nd December, 2014
“More green,” Mum instructed, arms akimbo as she added a generous dash of food colouring to the sloppy lump of fondant. The sugary mass stood white as fallen snow against the black cutting board. It left a thin white film between my fingernails, softening a little from the heat induced by the kneading.
“It’s supposed to be ‘Tiffany’ green, Mum,” I countered. “Best leave it as it is.”
Visiting relatives from overseas hovered and stooped over my workbench from time to time, each with a foolproof way of improving the form I was sculpting. Perhaps, still reeling from the tedium that filled up their time a few days back instead of slacking off for the jollity of a Christmas reunion. Our home was to be theirs for the remainder of the holidays and next year, we are hoping that they return the favour when we fly over to visit.
My grandma, the undisputed cordon bleu cook of my hometown, clicked her tongue in reprimand. “You always had weak upper arms,” she chuckled, urging me to increase the elbow grease. “Couldn’t even do a handstand when you were a kid.”
I bit my tongue, nodding as Mum and her mom giggled over my childhood moments: the one time I collided with a glass wall so clear I could swear it came out from nowhere, the other time I attempted to act in a school musical and other cringe-worthy moments that they seem to have found amusing.
I am in many ways grateful that they can recall that far back. My favourite pastime that endured beyond the flurry of preparations and the fabrication of merriment for many Yuletides past, is reminiscing on the year that had been. Keeping track of what transpired over the previous three days let alone three years, is easily the first collateral of my hectic schedule. That is exactly how long it had been since I started this journey, since Micah Prose became a website rather than just a name, since Axyelle and Zedryd were written into existence. Within three precious years I met all of you who have been with me ever since. You who have became my friends and critics and helped me get this far.
I left them to their musings, thankful for the quiet. Hands and mind were similarly occupied while the matriarchs chatted, saving me from the admission that even now I still could not execute a handstand. Already lost in my own recollection, I flattened the first of panels for what was to be a fondant handbag.
What kind of bag would I be taking into the new year? I asked myself as I sliced through another sheet of bright pink saccharine paste. Despite three repetitions, and a series of mishaps and misses, the Spring 2015 Fendi bag I was forging in celebration of the website’s third anniversary was slowly taking shape. Volatile, malleable and tempered by time, the life of this early twenty-something year old is beginning to resemble the pasty material I was working into the likeness of its famous fashion accoutrement look-alike.
As this year had brought its own lot of surprises, I had a few of my own to share. Tucked within the handbag’s makeshift folds is a blueberry, white marble, red velvet and custard layered, moist ganache-laden Mondrian cake that was inspired by the works of the Guggenheim Museum favourite, Piet Mondrian. The more the bag gets filled, the more angles and corners press against the surface. But, a good leather bag conforms to its contents. These inconveniences at the onset that will smoothen over an interval into gentle grooves and curves. And like the contents that fills that bag, experiences reveals the edges and bumps of one’s character. A roughness that will eventually mellow down to an even finish when a person lends himself to time and the times. Unloading the bag is akin to revisiting a moment, feeling each item being retrieved, selecting ones of value which ought to remain and discarding the irrelevant to make way for the new and improved.
With the bag present to remind me of what was, the question remains as to where I should go to next. The stylish woman that she is, my Mum recently advised me to trade in my sneakers for heels, claiming that a good shoe will take me to good places. As much as I would have loved to put her words to the test by strutting in on my own Fall 2014 Valentino Mary-Janes, crafting a pair from gum-paste would have to suffice for the now.
Little did I know that this Dessert-ology project not only required precision and a masterful eye, evidently, considerable experience in shoe-making is also essential. Assembling the components of these faux-luxe creations demanding nothing short of an overnight haul of persevering precision. With all the pieces laid out before me, one could almost wish life’s decisions were as straightforward as this. Looking to the bright side, the notion that if I can accomplish this it is symbolic that I can square the challenges of the year that is ahead, spurred me on. 2015 is the indelible due date for the second and third instalments and the penultimate year of University. Suddenly, all the challenges of fondant moulding seemed non-existent.
I added the finishing touches to the bag and the shoe which now rested on a lazy susan on a banquet table decked with baubles and tinsel and flanked by a shimmering, shining tree. Grandma seemed satisfied with my handiwork and pulled me in for a hug filled with pride as relatives flank the display on the table. Little cousins, restless bees that they are, scurried around me as I took photos of my creations. I could not have asked for a better present than this blissful end to 2014, for the Christmas marks the beginning of the fourth year of my writing journey, and the promise of many more to come. For now, I will eat, drink, burn the ham, sing carols off-tune and laugh off the extra calories, while wishing all of you the same good fortune. Soon this year will be another memory that goes into the bag and one step further into the brilliant unknown.