Can we start by talking about the musical wonder that is a kazoo? It is awesome because it is the only instrument that levels the playing field as far as musical talent goes. Music majors and tone-deaf Joe-schmoes all sound equally amazingly obnoxious (upon making that claim I am sure someone will quickly show me a YouTube video of someone who can play one to make them sound like you are at the orchestra but I would say that if you have watched a video of a kazoo orchestra on YouTube then I am calling for an intervention, you've got a problem, so be prepared). I also enjoy a kazoo because it takes me back to one of my favorite memories. Picture a warm summer evening after getting some Moosetracks ice cream with my aunt and having completed a trip to the dollar store (which you know only leads to the purchasing of worthless things you don't really have a need for like kazoos). With one hand holding our ice cream and one hand holding our kazoo's and I suppose a third mutant hand for my aunt who was steering the car, we cruised around northern Michigan playing all the hits kazoo style. The best portion was when we happened to need to go the same direction as another car for a good 20 minutes, so we were unintentionally following this car while jamming out on our recently acquired musical investments. I wondered what he thought of us but wasn't worried enough to stop the jam session. With 40 minutes of kazoo rehearsal on our drive, naturally we were ready for our debut performance and subjected our whole extended family to a concert. I would like to say I was 7 when we did this, but I was a little past that (okay maybe a lot past that) and she was a little more past that (okay maybe a lot more past that). Kazoo's transformed us, united us, and I will forever esteem the musical instrument that is the kazoo. I share those same sentiments of regard for my kazoo band-mate and aunt, who passed away on Monday. Few words can quite capture her character, to explain who she is an the mark she left on the world and in many hearts is as difficult as explaining a kazoo to someone who has never played one. My attempt to describe her to you would be mediocre at best but I will say I have met few who encapsulate heart, passion and drive as she did. She wore the Achatz name well so hopefully I can carry on the legacy. Maybe I'll enhance Achatz fame by perfecting my kazoo skills and creating a YouTube video in her honor. Who knows? But for now? I think I'll stick to baking.
You never plan for loss, but luckily for me I did plan for a massive weekend of baking up at camp, so I got me some baketherapy. It all began with biscotti. I made three flavors. I consider it an accomplishment that I waited until day 2 to actually try any of it. I let it sit for one whole day looking all tempting and cute before I finally gave in. Biscotti makes me weak at the knees. Forget the soft and chewy cookies, I love me a crispy cookie. They were delightful, especially with a warm cup of coffee (even if it is not my favorite #1 Grandpa mug that broke a few summers ago).
Baketherapy continued with molten chocolate cakes. I had never made them before. My boss said I was crazy for trying them for a banquet. I agreed. I will never deny my over-achiever-type-A-never-take-the-easy-way-out-don't-try-what-I'm-trying-cause-it's-insane way of life. I'm all in. That's how I do. Molten chocolate cake? We will meet again soon, now that I know how to make you and all. I've got some tweaking to do.
In case you were worried that I did not sufficiently baketherapize enough with the biscotti and the molten chocolate cake, fear not, I had another banquet. Me being me, everything was made-from-scratch down to the lemon curd that I put in, um... um... um... one of the recipes, maybe the berry mascarpone mousse? Yes. That's the one. There were so many ingredients and minute details that I barely kept my head straight. Yes friends, I was sufficiently therapized.
Meet mousse contestant number one: The Creamsicle. Lemon sponge cake topped with a tangerine mousse.
Contestant number two: Chocolate Dream. Mocha devil's food cake with a mocha mousse, brownie bite, strawberry and chocolate sauce.
Finally we have contestant number three: Berry bliss. A blood-orange soaked biscotti bottom, fresh berries and a berry mascarpone mousse.
I am not really sure the contestants could actually enter into the same contest because they were all so different but I am just gonna go out on a limb and say that I am the winner because I made them all without eating any. If you want to make me a medal, feel free. Also, I wonder if I drooled enough over the crates of mousse that drool should count as an ingredient? They looked like the kind of dessert you order at a restaurant and then stick your spoon in about 10 more times after you finish it just to make sure you ate even the air that now sits where the dessert used to be because the air might taste like what you just ate if it was in its presence long enough.
It was a glorious and much needed weekend in the world of baking. I am anxiously awaiting my next excuse to bake. This week I was reminded of how short life really is, so I had better get baking STAT. The world is full of millions of delicious treats and it is my civic duty to try as many as possible and force feed them to my friends. I don't think they mind...
"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14
R.I.P. Aunt Mary. You will be missed!