My daughter and I got together last night to make some ghost meringues for her to take to a Hallowe’en party at work today. Little did I know these simple treats would remind me of an important lesson about sharing food and entertaining.
That lesson? It’s simply that simple is often best.
We could have laboured for hours making cupcakes festooned with frosting witches and spiders. We could have baked and iced cookies that resembled severed digits, or made a bloody looking punch with floating faux eyeballs.
Instead, we whipped up a batch of meringue* and piped out a ghostly, somewhat lopsided army. After baking, Jenn dabbed on eyes and mouths with melted chocolate and the handle end of a small paint brush. We laughed at the different ghost shapes and the expressions on their faces, and how each sweet spectre seemed to have its own personality.
We had a fun, stress-free time together — with few dirty dishes to show for our trouble — and at the end of the evening our reward was four dozen meringues packed up for both Jenn and the Culinary Enthusiast to share at work.
The lesson struck me today when I received two texts in quick succession. The first was from the Culinary Enthusiast:
The guys love the ghosts!
And the text from Jenn said:
The ghosts were a hit! Too cute to eat, I hear, LOL.
And that’s when it struck me: these uncomplicated little treats that were made of not much more than some egg whites, sugar and a whole lot of heart meant a lot to the people who received them. Not just because they were tasty and cute, but also because they were homemade. And maybe also because at least some of the people who enjoyed them might have been inspired to think they could make something like this too.
This is what simple real food, made with flair, is all about.
* You can find a simple meringue recipe here. I suggest omitting the peppermint extract for this ghostly version.