Today’s Solutions: May 28, 2024

Elbrich Fennema | August 2009 issue

Photograph: Pieter de Swart

“Laughter kills fear,” writes Umberto Eco in his novel The Name of the Rose, which probably explains why laughing is considered healthy. When fear arises in the kitchen, it tends to be about the fear of failure. A simple antidote: Screw up a recipe and laugh about it. Don’t allow room for regret, don’t give up, don’t blame the cookbook, skip the excuses… and laugh.

Choose a summer day for this simple exercise in ineptitude. Invite people over. Lots of people; the more witnesses to your failure, the quicker you’ll overcome your fear of it. In advance, take one apricot and one peach for each guest and pierce the fruit all over with a fork at approximately the same angles. Then freeze it.

Pour champagne, cider, sparkling water or apple juice concentrate into a large dish, preferably glass and big enough to accommodate all the fruit. Slide in your frozen peaches and apricots. They should float. Then pour the drink from the dish into the glasses. It’s a very festive but thoroughly ridiculous recipe, because when you serve the bubbly drink, the fruit is still frozen and inedible. But if you wait until the fruit thaws, all the bubbles are gone. If you want to be sure this messy exercise leads to joyous laughter and not annoyance, include children at your party. They’re naturals when it comes to seeing the fun in something.

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