I should have known better. I really, really should have known better. And yet because I’m known, in my family, as the Dessert Queen, I thought I could scale the tanbark pile in my mind and defeat my inner aversions.
But no. Alas, that metaphorical jumble of wood chips slid away under my metaphorical feet to leave me back on the metaphorical ground where I started. Just like it did in real life, when I was eight years old and facing the tanbark delivery that was technically intended for the garden, not child’s play. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, imagine trying to climb up a mountain of raked leaves, except one made with lightweight bark shavings.)
Before you can truly understand why this dessert creation was doomed from the start, I must take you down memory lane. Again, I mean. This time, we’re going back further than the eight-year-old Wayfaring Chocolate staring obstinately at a pile of tanbark. Instead, imagine me at seven, with a present from our lovely family friends in Orange County in my hands.
It was a science kit, with test tubes and bottles and hoozits and doodads and a booklet describing a myriad child-friendly experiments. Would it surprise you that the experiment that interested me involved baking cookies? No, I didn’t think it would.
Problem was, I never got that far.
You see, the kit came with two bottles of essential oil: peppermint and orange. You were meant to divide a batch of cookies in half and flavour each with one single drop of oil. Then you were to bake the cookies, eat them, and marvel at the scientific difference.
I distinctly remember standing at the bathroom sink and deciding that I didn’t need no stinking cookies. I remember pouring a capful of each essential oil then slamming them back in quick succession.
I remember the utter, utter nausea.
After this, I couldn’t even smell peppermint essence or extract without feeling sick. I drank peppermint tea for the first time a few years ago, and even now I don’t much like it. [Oh dear heavens! Clarity! Realisation! This is probably why I can’t stomach orange chocolate, either!]
So why oh why did I think it would be good to flavour rice pudding with peppermint extract?
I’ll tell you why. Because last year I had this Wine and Cheese birthday party, and the tiny peppermint meringues I made that night were a hit. They tasted like candy canes.
Fourteen months down the track (i.e. yesterday), I was sitting in the doctor’s surgery when I suddenly thought “Candy Cane Rice Pudding! With raspberries to colour the concoction pink! I am a genius! Genius! I shall have a pretty photo for the blog, and everyone in the world will love me! Hurrah!” (Okay, so I didn’t really think any of that besides the first two sentences, but for some reason I enjoy setting myself up for a fall.)
The first issue was that I only had long-grain rice, not the short-grain preferable for rice puddings. The second issue was that using soymilk turned the pudding tan instead of white, so instead of swirling pureed raspberries through at the end in a candy-cane pattern, as I intended, I blended them into the pudding in order to turn the mix entirely pink.
Neither of these issues would have mattered much, except… readers. Oh, readers.
I couldn’t stomach this rice pudding at all. At all at all. Sure, I could have kept this story a dirty little secret and only blogged about my successes but, as I’ve said before, this blog is Real Hannah. And Real Hannah tells cautionary tales.
The moral of this story is don’t think you’re stronger than your physical taste aversions. Otherwise you might end up throwing an entire batch of rice pudding in the bin.
Oh, and don’t drink your science kit. But that’s probably a given.