A Fairy Tale, of Sorts

Once upon a Saturday night, in wonderful land called West Philadelphia, two friends and I decided to tackle an ambitious dessert called Mango Crème Brulée. This pesky crème required a flame and several fresh ingredients. So, we headed to the source of all things fresh, affordable and of non-suspicious origin: the Fresh Grocer. Having already relied on Trader Joe’s for the mango, we only needed heavy cream, sugar, and eggs. The cream and sugar were easy to obtain— we only had to follow the maze of angled aisles—but the eggs entailed a hunt through mountains of cartons laden with broken shells.

After successfully making our purchase, we journeyed back to our tower. The first task in creating the crème was to dry the sugar. A slight misreading of the directions led to disaster. Minutes after we put sugar in the oven, we noticed smoke seeping out. Against our better judgment, we opened the door only to find a menacing cavern of flames. To vanquish the fiery beast, I shot it with my fire extinguisher. The foam suffocated it, leaving a billowing mound of blackened sugar. We were out of immediate danger, but in its dying breath, the beast enacted revenge and filled the room with smoke.

Our omnipotent fire alarm began to shriek, and we knew that unless we acted quickly, the whole building would flood, drowning all. We opened windows and grabbed whatever we could to fan the smoke. The longer the alarm screeched, the more we feared our imminent doom. With our eyes burning from the fiend’s smoky remnants, and our arms exhausted from trying to appease our alarm, we nearly accepted our fate. But then, a third friend came to save us. She had been locked away in her room but sensed that we needed her help. With another subject working to soothe him, the alarm quieted.

Cold, tired, and smelling of smoke, we were grateful for our survival, but still accepted our overall defeat. There would be no Crème Brulée. Whatever our downfall, be it hubris, or an unpredictable oven— it just was not meant to be.


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