This morning, Angela told me that her short story “Birthday Girl” won the best story of the month in November on Every Day Fiction, where it was published. She will be interviewed by the magazine tomorrow. “Birthday Girl” was a first person account of a kidnapped girl. I remember the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I read the story for the first time. The entire piece was only two and half pages long, but it was pregnant with complex circumstances and feelings.
Angela was a precocious and sophisticated child at four. When her preschool class witnessed the metamorphosis of a butterfly, everyone marveled. But Angela saw the fledging butterfly on the ground and stepped on it. All the kids gasped, and some of them started to cry. The teachers were concerned and informed us of the incident when I picked her up. When I asked her why she did such a horrible thing, she said simply, “ At home you kill moths. The butterfly was just another moth. And it wasn’t happy. It didn’t deserve to live.” I knew then that Angela would always look at things or respond to things a little differently from most of her peers.
I believe that we become creative to save ourselves. In “Birthday Girl, I saw a little girl trapped in the basement of her own inescapable “Inside” and, on a more hopeful note, I also saw her heroic rescue—the rescue of the little girl who might be herself.
To celebrate Angela winning the Best Story of November, I made two simple and healthy deserts.
Dates with Mascarpone and Toasted Walnuts
Well, the ingredients are exactly what are in the name—a simple but perfect combination:
Trader Joe’s Fancy Medjool Dates
Trader Joe’s Mascarpone
Walnut halves (raw or toasted)
Just open the date with a knife, take out the pit and spread a dollop of Mascarpone on it. Press the walnut half in the Mascarpone and fold the date. You can serve it as part of your cheese platter or as a light dessert. Or an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. Since I love coconut, I served the dates on a bed of coconut chips.
The combination of dates and nuts is a tasty way to make raw desserts such as the bake-less cake featured in the blog by our guest writer Kim.
Steamed Egg Custard
2 eggs + 1 egg white, or 4 egg whites
1 cup of milk (any milk of your preference, such as almond milk or coconut milk etc.)
2 tablespoon of xylitol or sugar (I used xylitol)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of brown sugar
Beat the eggs with the xylitol or sugar, almond extract and vanilla extract. Pour in the milk and beat some more. Spoon the mixture into the cups of your choice and steam on low for about 25 minutes or until congeal completely. The more slowly you steam the custard the more smooth it will turn out.
Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar before serving.