The other day

For no good reason, I felt joy percolate in my gut. Well, there is a reason, but it makes no sense, has no business speaking and I don’t care, because it hasn’t come around for a while and I want to stand next to it and feel it run right through me like a virus we are not supposed to catch. Just let it infect every cell and become a part of me that never leaves. I am tired of working out the logic. You tell me where the logic in love is.

My favorite dessert is creme brûlée. It is slightly dense in a way that gives me shivers when the spoon goes in. And it is just sweet enough. If somebody asks me what my favorite is, I don’t say, “ohhhh, I don’t know..there are so many good ones..I can’t pick.” I know exactly what my favorite dessert is. The taste of the vanilla bean that got its flavor hanging on a vine in the warm sun and then distilled itself by getting drunk sitting in a vat of vodka, is a fact of life that helps my heart beat.

It is not hard to make; you just have to pay attention. Slice the vanilla bean in half, and then down the middle and scrape the paste off the skin with the back of a small knife. Save one half for another time. Put everything, skin included, into 2 cups of heavy cream and let that simmer until there is a rim of tiny bubbles all around the edge of the pan. Turn off the heat. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Whisk 4 egg yolks with 2/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt, until combined. Pour hot cream slowly into the egg mixture, while whisking. Pour everything through a sieve to remove impurities. Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Set ramekins into a roasting pan and nearly fill the ramekins with the custard mixture. Set the roasting pan in the oven and then pour simmering water around the ramekins to come up the sides by about half an inch. Bake until nearly set. They should have a slight wobble in the middle. If some are undercooked, take them out with the rest, but leave the undercooked ones in the roasting pan for another minute. Cool completely. You can refrigerate them to hold them until you need them, once they have cooled. Let them come to room temperature before proceeding. Sprinkle the tops with a dense, but not thick, coating of brown sugar or raw sugar. Caramelize them using a blowtorch or the broiler. If you use the broiler, watch them like a hawk.

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