Thursday, July 10, 2008

Best of the Best from Alaska: Baked Alaska

Is baked Alaska ever really that good?

Or is it just such a glamorous concept-- like fried ice cream -- that we all get a little fluttery at the prospect?

Isabel and I made the very rudimentary individual baked Alaskas from Best of the Best from Alaska last night. Atop circles of poundcake (frozen Sara Lee) we placed scoops of ice cream (Dreyer's strawberry) then topped with meringue. Baked five minutes at 450. Garnished with raspberry sauce (frozen fruit, sugar, Grand Marnier, cornstarch.)

And these tasted . . fine. Certainly one could construct a more thrilling baked Alaska with better cake and exotically flavored homemade ice cream. But I'm just not sure about the marriage of ice cream and meringue. Do you really want warm foam with your creamy frozen dessert? 

Also from Best of the Best, I prepared stuffed hamburgers. I didn't adequately flatten the ground beef, so these split and oozed. What we were after was a very thin, firm envelope of meat neatly encasing a molten, pizza-like filling. Almost achieved. In any case: hearty and great, if messy.

Alas, Owen disagreed. He picked apart, frowned at, whined about, then peevishly rejected the burgers and headed to the refrigerator for a coffee yogurt EVEN AFTER I EXPRESSLY FORBADE IT. This sparked a massive maternal meltdown. Unfortunately, one of our new windows doesn't close so I'm certain our neighbors overheard my shrill fishwife act. Lovely.

Many principles at stake: There are starving children in Africa and he sneers at a burger with cheese and pepperoni???!!! He asked for the burger! This is food he usually likes. My son is SPOILED! He whines. He cries. He looks me in the eye and disobeys. He wastes food. I am a FAILURE! 


My mother, who witnessed the whole baleful drama, suggested I cease setting a place for Owen and that he be allowed to eat yogurt every night if he wishes. I don't remember her embracing this lenient approach when I was a child and she cooked all that leathery fried LIVER. Nonetheless, it strikes me as good advice. I should probably reread Bread and Jam for Frances, though I suspect our mealtime issues have gone well beyond those of the kindly badger family.

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