Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A Sexless organic experience

We interrupt your waiting with an update on this week’s fake-athon. Anna couldn’t possibly quit with just one story on that subject, after all (though I may de facto exclude all fakir-related stories).

And as it turns out, the aforementioned cinnamon-roll project requires ample substitution. You see, the meeting of yeast and soy just didn’t quite yield the hoped-for rise. In fact, despite its vaunted freshness, said yeast proved practically impotent when faced with the weighty soy-for-milk swap (changing shortening for butter probably didn’t help much either).

Second time’s a charm?
After further consultation with Poster Boy, it was determined perhaps I needed to go with Plan B: rice milk and ... some full-organic substitute for fat. He recommended a mystery-grease I thought was branded “Earth Magic” but is actually called Earth Balance (see exhibit 1, at left). Parcels in hand (far be it from me to not combine errands where possible), I set off to see what the local organic deli could provide.

Two blocks down I encountered a Brooklyn buddy and fellow writer. Presented with my baking dilemma he suggested perhaps I needed a better soundtrack: was not Springsteen the perfect tunesmith? While Dizzy and Otis certainly reach for the heights, that might not be as inspiring to timid yeast as, er, The Rising.

Cheered by this helpful suggestion, I continued on my way to the post office and then (divested of mailings) the local O-deli. Once inside I found many all-real containers of milk in the fridge wall, but no rice milk. This good isn’t submitted to articial chilling, it turns out, but stored alongside an overwhelming welter of milk substitutes. There was almond milk, hazelnut milk and even mixed-grain milk. Apparently anything grindable can produce milk. And in case you need inspiration to make your choice, the store even blasts the perfect music*: R&B/hip-hop mixed up by a 5-borough DJ.

After grabbing a few more groceries since I hear one should not live on bread (and lattes) alone, I checked out (see healthful purchases, exhibit 3, at left).

Everything but the sex
Once home, I promptly set to assembling recipe 2, but did not change the soundtrack as I don’t, alas, have access to the recommended Springsteen. (Although last summer when a one-time suitor took me to hear Springsteen for my birthday, said date got fan-grief for smoking a joint.)

As the rice milk blurped out of the carton, I was pleased by the milk-like white stream. Best Friend has a theory on drinking: the rule is not whether first you drink beer or liquor, but staying within the same color family. Waiting for faux-milk #2 to “scald” so I could add the Soy Magic faux butter, I decided these simulacra boded far better than the last. I mean, when you’re substituting brown for white and white for yellow ... it’s not very reassuring (as a cook). But when it’s white for white and yellow for yellow ... it actually seems like you’re making the same thing and your yeast will rise quite happily. In fact, as you can see from exhibit 4, at left, that is just what began to happen.

Once the liquids were combined and flour added (to make a dough), it seemed like this time the chemistry was there — that is to say, working. But these substitutes do take their time about it. Forty-five minutes later, and still not much of a rise from that dough. These things, I’m thinking, take patience.

And I am nothing if not a patient woman — or pretty good at faking such, anyway. I just hope that this time all my waitful anticipation results in baked goods instead of dumping more dough in the garbage (moist and fragrant refuse though it may be). And since I haven’t decided whether the overworked “metaphors” in this story are more suggestive of boob jobs or horse breeding, I’ll all the witty rejoinders to you folks. Happy commenting!

*At least, that’s the music I always grind to.