Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Taste of Disappointment

My gelato dreams are going to have to keep waiting to be fulfilled, and I am so bummed. I bought an Italian Ice Cream cookbook while we were in Milan, and though the gelato was by far my favorite food on our whole trip, I've spent the last few days playing around with some other recipes. I've made crepes, a lemon tart (tarte au citron, to make it sound all frenchy), and not-quite-Angelina's hot chocolate. Finally, though, I decided that today was going to be gelato day.

I went to the store last night with a migraine in order to buy whole milk, more cream (in case I ran out, I already had a quart), and some chocolate. I put the ice cream maker in the freezer, made sure there were some nice ripe bananas available, and went to bed. Right after breakfast, I got out my ingredients, blended the sugar and bananas and milk and cream, then poured it into the ice cream maker. Thirty minutes until nice, soft gelato!

And then I went to put the lid on. I had to attach the paddle to the motor, and the little plastic piece that connects the two was gone. I spent a whole minute looking at the two pieces, wondering if I was wrong in thinking there was another piece needed. Yep, I needed another piece, I couldn't convince myself otherwise. And I knew that there was no way I had that piece anymore. Gelato was a no-go.

It didn't stop me from looking, though. I searched the cupboard where the ice cream maker lives, but it wasn't there. I searched the tupperware cupboard, and the one that holds all of my baking things. I looked in the messy drawer, thinking that at some point Ryan or I would have found this skinny white plastic thing and said to the other, "Hey, what's this go to?" And the other would reply, "I have no idea, but it must be important. Put it in the messy drawer." It wasn't in the messy drawer.

I looked with the pots and pans, the cookbooks, the random extra bakeware cupboard. Man, I have a lot of cupboards in this kitchen! Plenty of space to keep one extra little white piece, surely. But it wasn't in any of those places.

Then I replayed the hypothetical conversation in my head again: "Hey, what's this go to?" "I have no idea, but we haven't missed it until now, so just toss it." Ryan is a purger, if something hasn't been used in a month he's ready to throw it away. Sometimes only a week. Occasionally, he'll want to trash it the moment I set it down. He's some kind of crazy kitchen-gadget ascetic. If he had been the one to find it, he might not have even asked the question.

But I couldn't stop looking because I could picture the white plastic thingy every place I thought of. Wait a second, didn't I see that once in the freezer? Or maybe it was in the bathroom closet! No, I'm sure it ended up with the kids' toys. If I just look in the empty flower pot on the shelf over the sink, or in the cup where we keep the pens, or behind the phone books. It's got to be one of those places, I can see it in my mind sitting there right next to the microwave!

The mental mirages were making me crazy, and I finally had to admit defeat. It's gone and I now have several currently worthless pieces of a once-promising ice cream maker. I also have a bowl full of banana gelato mixture in my fridge, wishing it could become a smooth, tasty dessert. Poor gelato, I had such high hopes for you. Now you are going to go the way of all leftovers, rotting in a tupperware, getting shoved futher back behind all the edible food, being stacked with other containers until one day when I need a bowl that size and remember our failed gelato experiment.

There will be other foods for me to try, but nothing I wanted quite so much as gelato. I was so close that I could almost taste the fresh banana flavor mixed with the rich creaminess of the ice cream. But now, all I can taste is disappointment.

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