Lesson #9 : Tiramisu Overdose

Desire has died in my throat;
the mixing of coffee and
Marsala live two bellicose lives.

Churned cream curdles
the void of my organs
and burns a great hole
of blazing solid whiteness.

My lips:
still blue and hungry.

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Lesson #8 : Coq au Shiraz

A Shiraz will tarry on your tongue—even after your palate has been cleansed with water.

The only coq au vin recipe I’d known was the one so dearly hailed by Julia Child. Its origins begin in Bourgogne, and its base ingredient: a swig (or three) of Burgundy.

I buy a $5 bottle of Australian Shiraz.
First notes: chocolate, cherry, and coconut.
Second notes: vanilla, berry, and spice. It is like the pain d’épices of wine—which is as close as a wine which is not Burgundy can get to a bottle of full-bodied Burgundy.

             My heart bleeds like wine,
             although I never drink it,
             dripping blithely;
             the slow-cooked chicken
             under a smoky oven
             drunk-tender with
             pearl onions.

Lesson #7 : How to eat chocolate

I am told that I have been eating chocolate the wrong way all my life. This is a revelation for me.

I
You need to suck on it.
Let it melt on your tongue; the sooner
the taste disappears, the cheaper
the quality of the
Chocolate.

She places a thin shaving of dark chocolate
On her already wet and salty tongue–
her eyes roll back into the
whiteness of silicone
paper.

II
It isn’t like truffles;
It has nothing to do with aroma
— Once infused
with other ingredients the
Textures melt and disintegrate
Into particles of mixed flavours.

A faint hum
of the electric mixers
resonate throughout the kitchen
and slowly fade from her
Mind
now calm, and focused on one thing:
the eating of
Chocolate.

III
Love was once described
by the Greek poet Sappho
as being sweet first,
then bitter.

The chocolate is semi-sweet:
it has hints of both
milk and cocoa.
She swallows and it
lingers in her mouth.
Moments later, there is still
Sweetness.

Sweetness, and then
Nothing.

Lesson #6 : You’ll never gain weight

There’s this hopelessly gorgeous song
by Tori Amos
called
“The Doughnut Song”,
which tells you that you’ll
Never
Gain weight
from a doughnut hole.

I am convinced that this song is
about
Sex and
stuffing vaginas with
Dicks (and/or dildos).

I feel a constant need to stuff
My mouth with
Things—
usually food, and
Occasionally dicks.
For a while
that thing was my fist
but now I’m back to
Eating just food and dicks.

This interchangeability
keeps me thin
and I never
need to go on a
diet.

Lesson #5 : In search of lost tastes

For ten years I had wondered what a madeleine would taste like.
I knew that they were like cakes
and
I knew that they were like biscuits.

 I also knew that they were supposed to be dipped in tea
and that         Proust adored them.

             Pretty shell shaped sponges;                                                                                       they
reveal hints of honey, lemon and butter
             and fail to trigger memories.

             I am a madeleine virgin. And I am searching for lost tastes.

Pancakes

I make pancakes for breakfast, which we eat past eleven. It is technically brunch but we never use the term “brunch.” Brunch is something trendy people in the Eastern suburbs do on a Sunday—and it is usually done following a session of morning yoga. People who do Sunday brunch are the sort of people who can pay $22 for a few slices of pressed avocado on linseed toast and still keep a straight face. I have never been on the paleo diet—which, as far as I’m concerned, is a good indicator as to how I might feel about things like Sunday brunch and yoga.

Pancake breakfasts have been a bi-weekly ritual of ours since about a month ago. They are usually clock-shaped, and eaten with a slice of lemon and brown sugar.  Today I decide to cook pancakes in the shape of penises. Milo is not impressed. Milo is a feminist and doesn’t partake in phallogocentrism. Of course, he does not say ‘no’ to blowjobs—but he always holds my hair back, and kisses me on the lips afterwards. Milo has a paradoxically large penis; it is why he’s so phallo-sensitive. Condoms are a pain to buy—size large ones are often out of stock, and extra-large ones need to be bought online. When I think about Milo’s penis, I imagine a cactus: alone in a dessert, full of water and waiting to be had by some thirsty passer-by. This makes me think of Paris, Texas, and I consider looking for a pink mohair sweater at h&m, and getting my hair chopped into a lob. Milo eats his pancakes in silence.

I go to my drawer and consciously retrieve the closest thing I own to a pink mohair sweater. It is a button-down cardigan the colour of strawberry macaroons. I usually wear it with plaid skirts and patterned stockings. The problem with having a face that still requires I.D. in order to prove you’re not still in high school is that you think it’s okay to still dress like a high-schooler, even though you’re twenty-seven. It’s okay to still eat KFC on a weekly basis and snack on potato chips instead of carrot sticks—or whatever it is that figure-conscious women in their late twenties tend to eat nowadays. I love the idea of dieting because it sounds so stylish. A fridge stocked only with a particular brand of almond milk, lab-grown kale, and organic non-dairy cheese is like a clothing store that sells dresses in one size only, and some assorted hosiery. Exclusivity has such a classy ring to it. But of course, Milo and I are neither classy nor trendy. We shop at big-chain supermarkets and buy pancake mixes for $1.99. I get my jeggings from Target for $20—someone once asked me if they were by True Religion or Citizens of Humanity. She carried a thousand-dollar Longchamp bag, so you can imagine the horror on her face upon learning where my jeggings actually came from.

I wonder how much I would be willing to pay for an exact replica of the pink mohair sweater Natassja Kinski wore in Paris, Texas. I feel like my limit would be $70. That amount is, of course, due to its novelty-value for which I feel I would be able to easily justify.

I have never worn fuchsia—not even as a little girl. For most of my life I avoided the saturated shades of pink. It’s an odd colour to wear when you’re a loner and dislike being the centre of attention.  So what would I even do with my replica of Kinski’s pink mohair sweater? Would I leave it hanging in my closet to save for a special occasion, only to have that special occasion never come? Would I wear it for Milo, ask him ‘do you mind if I take my sweater off?’—proceed with taking the sweater off, and then never wear it again? This pink mohair sweater that I do not own is the most existential piece of clothing I do own in my mind’s eye. In my mind, I’m wearing it all the time—in bed, in the kitchen, at the library—it is like a second skin and doesn’t itch.

She told him that she dreamed about escaping. That was all she dreamed about: escape.’ Perhaps that’s how my non-existent sweater would feel, hanging in my closet: empty and pensive in its absence of a wearer. Clothes carry memory in its fabric, the way memory is stored in quantum particles. This may only apply on a psychic level, yet it is the reason why most people find it so difficult to throw old clothes away. Not only does my imaginary sweater have a particular texture to it; it also has its own scent. It is strong and sweet, but it isn’t like candy. It is the smell of pancakes cooking on a non-stick pan with a little oil—no butter. It is the smell of Milo’s un-shampooed hair which I breathe in as he buries his face into my neck on a Sunday morning.  I have worn this sweater a dozen times. I wear nothing underneath, and only wear it in order to make love.

I give Milo a cactus plant for his birthday, along with a book on the essential works of Allen Ginsberg. Tomorrow morning, I’ll make pancakes in the shape of cactuses.

Lesson #1 : How (not) to tie a tie

 

        The only iron that I own is a hair straightening iron.
        It sits on top of a plastic storage box, next to some rose-scented pink garbage bags.

My first lesson in Pâtisserie is how to tie a cravat. It must first be folded into creases in a manner which is not dissimilar to the process of lamination. Butter is used to laminate puff pastry and croissant dough.
                My neckerchief of cobalt blue is steam-pressed into five tapering folds.

According to Zola, French laundresses in the late nineteenth century were pretty, coquettish labourers. Her linens were always freshly ironed to mask her weakness for dancing and alcohol.

        A pâtissier is no less a whore than a laundress, I learn quickly: we tempt with beauty; and we sell decadent and empty pleasures.

        My boyfriend does my laundry.
        He irons and folds my chef whites like thin Origami paper.