- Date: Sunday, August 29, 2010 -- 7:30pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Dining Companions: Matty, Bob, Laura, Corbett, Mary, Allison, Helen, Charles, and Clara
- Recipe Rating: B
I put off making this recipe for such a long time because it just sounded so ridiculous to me. There was only one item on the ingredient list: "6 pints ice cream and/or sorbet (2 pints each of 3 flavors)." And the "recipe" was to line a terrine pan with plastic wrap, spread the ice cream into six layers in the pan, freeze, then unmold, slice, and serve. I am not saying it was a bad idea, I'm just not sure I would call that a recipe. The hardest part of preparing this, by far, was decided which three flavors of ice cream to buy. I made some brownies to serve this with, so I needed chocolate-compatible flavors. In the end I went with vanilla bean, mint chocolate chip, and double chocolate chunk. I ended up being happy with those selections. I'm not so sure how to grade this one. Did it taste good? Sure. Ice cream tastes good. Would I ever do this again? Well, no. It was hard to get the layers even, so it didn't end up looking any nicer than scoops of ice cream would have. So why bother?
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A story: a few years ago I saw a dentist who happened to also be a medical doctor. He looked at the x-rays of my teeth and asked, "Were you anorexic as a child?" I immediately and defensively shot back, "No!" "Oh," he said, "well normally someone as tall as you would have teeth with long roots, but you barely have any roots at all. That can happen to people who were anorexic as children." Walking home from the dental office an hour later I realized he was right -- as a child I didn't really eat.
My lack of eating was not anorexia nervosa -- it had nothing to do with weight or body image -- it was more like post-traumatic stress. It all started on Christmas Day when I was 10. Over two days we had two big Christmas meals at two different houses, and a a restaurant meal in between. On Christmas night I projective vomited 13 times. I have a strong stomach, and before that I had only vomited once in my life, after eating an entire bag of jelly beans at my brother's birthday party when I was 5. I was not prepared for that horrible Christmas night, it was extremely unpleasant, and I was terribly traumatized. I looked for an explanation and was told that I had eaten too much. In retrospect, of course, I had food poisoning. I ate all those big meals, with turkey, and stuffing... probably I had salmonella. But I didn't even know the word salmonella at age 10 and I firmly believed that eating too much led to hour after hour of projectile vomiting. So I decided I just wouldn't eat too much. After careful experimentation I established that 16 ounces of food was safe. So from the time I was 10 until the time I was about 15, I carefully counted every ounce that I ate, making sure each day to stay under my 16 ounce limit. It was not much food. For instance, a standard yogurt would count as 6 of my 16 ounces. I ate a lot of calorie-dense food during that time, trying to pack as much energy as I could into my 16 ounces.
My friends and family certainly knew that I ate lightly, and commented on it frequently. But they also knew that I showed no interest in how much I weighed and I had no body image type problems, so they didn't think I had an eating disorder. I certainly didn't think I had an eating disorder. I thought I had a system. A system necessary to avoid vomiting. And I never explained it to anyone. In retrospect, I have no idea why not. After 5 or 6 years I realized that you feel full before you vomit from overeating. Even later I realized it was very likely food poisoning that was to blame for that horrible night. Soon I transitioned from never eating to eating all the time. And I learned that I love to eat! When I started eating again, without worrying about the weight of every spoonful I put into my mouth, it was such freedom!
I went to a different dentist a couple weeks back and he mentioned my short roots. In a strange way those roots feel like a battle scar. And a lesson. If I had just explained to someone, anyone, why I didn't eat, they would have told me that it was nonsensical. I just didn't know. There's a lesson in that. I am in some ways a very private person. Sometimes it is better to not be so private.