My Technical Mid-Life Crisis

by jkatejohnston

June 9

Dear Max,

A very long time ago I liked listening better than talking and reading better than writing. I don’t remember when that flipped. But now I’d rather talk and write than listen and read. Often I can’t concentrate on reading. I feel too restless.

Well, I’m exaggerating a bit. I’m not a total asshole. If you talk to me, I know you’re there. But still. It’s a change in emphasis.

I’m about to turn forty-five. As Enzo would say, technically, I am forty-five because it’s July and my birthday’s in July. Forty-five seems like a nice round number for a mid-life crisis, or maybe some mid-life resolutions. (I know it’s bad luck to say so, but I’m planning to live a hell of a long time.)

I wonder what would happen if I gave up my computer. I’d have to write by hand, which I don’t know how to do, so I’d just have to read or eat or wander from room to room. That doesn’t seem too promising.

The problem is that so many things prey on your attention (and a lot of those things lurk on the computer) and it turns out you only have so much attention. What do you want to spend it on? Too bad meditation is so boring.

Never mind all that. Let’s talk about my birthday cake. I want to invent a new tart crust (based on the one I invented for the Bake Off, and fuck them by the way). My Bake Off crust had toasted hazelnuts, cold butter, a bit flour, and Heathbits. I want to lose the Heathbits and substitute caramelized sugar. So I’d melt and caramelize the sugar as for flan. Then spread out baking parchment and dribble the liquid caramel on the parchment that so that it cools and hardens. Then put the hard candy-like pieces in the food processor and make a kind of coarse caramel sugar. Then use that in the tart crust instead of those ridiculous Pillsbury Heathbits.

As for what goes over the crust, either cheesecake or apricots. Or both.

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