I’ve always had this fascination with chocolate soufflés.
Since I was young I would pour over my mom’s Martha Stewart cook books and look at all the white and pastel ceramic pots that held the social status I wanted to be in. I remember that I couldn’t actually even read the word “soufflé,” which made it all the better.
They were fancy. They were elegant and fragile.
They were something that could only be made in a setting, in a life, that was gentle enough to rise along with the chocolate egg whites. A life I did not know back then.
Fast forward to my teen years. The years of which were ruled by Mandy Moore’s character, Milly, in the movie Because I Said So. Alongside her mother, Diane Keaton, Milly was an event baker. If you’ve never seen the movie, long story short she is in between two guys and one guy is totally wrong for her and the other guy is clearly the one we are all rooting for. Well, in the film one of the biggest signs as to who she should end up with is her ability to make chocolate soufflés around them. With the right guy she has this moment mid baking where she stops what she is doing and says, “the soufflés are done.” The guy then tells her the timer didn’t go off yet and she says, “No, I feel it.” Then we mosey on over to wrong guy and for the first time in her life, which she states, “never in [her] life had [she] burned a soufflé until now, and that in it of itself should have told [her] he wasn’t right for [her].”
(Yes, I have watched this movie many, many, many a times).
So, being the vicarious liver that I am, the soufflé passion rose up in my chest once again.
I’ve had ample time in my life to whip out some ramekins and separate some egg yolks and get this show on the road. But there has just always been, as I’m sure you can tell, something sacred about the tiny dessert for me. And though I’m sure it sounds silly to the rest of the world, I still believe that sometimes in this too fast, too convenient world we live in, some things need to stay sacred. And for the last 20 or so years, I’ve held on to this.
Well to whom it concerns (which is basically no one but my mom and maybe not even her), last night I made my first ever batch of chocolate soufflés.
The process was ugly – I shattered an egg trying to separate yolk from whites in my hands and bowl, I got some extra help from my roommates with stirring and egg work considering I had no idea what it meant to “beat until the peaks are stiff,” and the soufflés did not fully rise the way they should have, or drop melty chocolate lava the way Martha’s do.
But as I powdered my four decent-enough dishes, I couldn’t ignore the feeling of a sort of arriving I felt swelling in my chest.
Since I was a little girl soufflés represented normality to me. Not only normality, but stability. They made me think of serenity, of light, of peace. And I never allowed myself to create any until I knew I was in a place where my heart matched what the image in my head of what the soufflés looked like. And as I can start to see the outlines of my life form shape and clear into an almost comprehendible image, as I have finally learned what it means to not be weighed down by my past, by my choices, by my guilty – as I finally understand what peace is rather than what it looks like, I knew now was the right time for me to make them – as Mandy Moore would say, I felt it.