February 22, 2010

Ile Flottante

"The soup was clear and hot, the lamb cooked in a sauce that was both delicious and exotic, all of it accomplished and fine in a way that would have been admired in any restaurant in any city she had ever been to, and Mrs. Larsen served it with a simplicity and finesse that surprised and pleased her. She had thought she wasn't hungry, but she ate everything, including a dessert made of light meringues floating in glistening, silky custard."
--A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick

Alas, no floating island has passed through these lips before, but it sounds, like all things custard-y, positively fantastic. Ina Garten's recipe looks inviting, minus the caramel sauce. The creme anglaise (english cream) is basically sugar, egg yolks, and hot milk, though Ina gets fancy with the Cognac. Another potential use for egg yolks! That definitely warrants an exclamation point in my book.

Tangent time: I have a friend whose pet peeve is people's overuse of exclamation points. She has a point. (Good thing she has a high tolerance for cheesy jokes, though.) She also happens to be a great writer, just about the best one I know. This is no coincidence. When I correspond with her, I try to watch my use of !, and I've noticed that it makes me a more thoughtful writer. When writing personal e-mails, it's nice to actually think about what words best express your emotion -- to rely on the strength of your words and trust your writing voice, rather than resorting to symbols all the time. Exclamation points are the easy way out - and I think that's why so many people use them so often. When you use them (and see them) time after time, people are inclined to think that you don't stand behind your words as strongly as you say. And you always want people to believe you mean everything you write...don't you? There's a great Seinfeld clip about the way people can disagree about the use of this controversial symbol, too. Check it out.


Velva said...

Great post ( no excalmation point :-) ). I really enjoy Ina Garten recipes. I don't think I have ever made a recipe from her that I was not completely satsified.

thefattyreader said...

I agree, Ina Garten recipes are great. I am especially fond of her lemon bars. :)