I woke up at a little before 2:30 a.m., nauseous, sweating, a Miley Cyrus song on endless replay in my head. Finally, on my last night in Montreal, my hard-eating ways had caught up with me. Rabbit parpadelle, roasted suckling pig risotto with foie gras shavings, deep dish chocolate chip with vanilla ice cream – to think that those I’d loved so dearly had conspired against me. The very thought of a truffle-scented kobe beef burger was enough to rouse me out of bed, stomach lurching, and send me down the hall to the bathroom where I spent the next twenty minutes considering the pros and cons of purging my system. Eventually, I decided against re-experiencing my wonderful buttered lobster and grilled veal surf ’n turf in reverse, and left the bathroom to find mom waiting for me, shot glass in hand. “Drink thees,”she advised. I accepted “the medicine”, a thick, amber-colored liquid that smelled of flowers and cloves and the back of your elderly family doctor’s medicine cabinet. I eyed it suspiciously. “It’s Padre Pepe,”she informed me. “It will help settle your stomach.”
I was dubious a shot of hard liquor would actually work to my benefit but figured that, at worst, it would obviate any need for further deliberation over the merits of inducing vomiting. I thanked mom and headed back to my room where I did a shot “to help settle my stomach”. And promptly passed out.
I woke up seven hours later. No nausea. No sweats. The Miley Cyrus song was gone, replaced by that equally annoying tune sung by the Ting Tings, but I was feeling immeasurably better. I showered, dressed, packed, and then headed downstairs where my mother was about to make her famous Friendship Cake. “It’s a very seemple recipe,”she said in her thick Italian accent, throwing a look to my camera. I took the hint and picked it up, prepared to document the process. “Very seeemple. It takes only ten meenutes.” Ten meenutes! Hey, this sounded like something even I could pull off! “First, you wheep two cups of wheeping cream.” She demonstrating, whipping the cream into a fluffy thickness. “Then, you add one tablespoon of sugar…” Okay. Two cups whipping cream. One tablespoons sugar. So far, so good.. “And two cups of the custard.”
I watched her retrieve the custard from refrigerator and proceed to spoon it into the cream. “Custard?”I asked. “Where’d that come from?”
“The fridge,”she replied, missing the point. “You meex them together.” She mixed. “Then, you make the base.” She held up a bag of what looked like bread crumbs. “Not bread crumbs,”she corrected me. “The crumbs from my almond biscotti.”
I watched her sprinkle a handful of the almond biscotti crumbs, then pour some of the cream-custard mix atop them. “This is the first layer. I make smooth and then I put slices of apple cake…” Apple cake?
Top that with a sprinkling of Tia Maria, lay down another layer of cream, a final sprinkling of almond biscotti, and there you had it. And as promised, it only took all of ten minutes. So those of you looking for a quick-fix dessert, look no further than mom’s Friendship Cake. All you need are six simple ingredients found in most any household:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups of custard
1 cup of almond biscotti crumbs
2 tablespoons of Tia Maria
1 apple cake
Let me know how your attempts to turn out.
Following up on some of your comments on In the Garden of Iden –
Terry writes: “Still, Baker never says all of history is immutable, just recorded history. Isn’t the butterfly effect an issue? Even if you alter something not part of recorded history, don’t you run the risk that some ripple effect could alter history?”
Answer: I have yet to read anything beyond this first book in the series so I may be way off base, but my interpretation of the rules of time travel in this book suggest that history has the appearance of mutable but is, in fact, immutable. It’s not so much a re-imagining of time travel as it is re-conceptualizing time itself. Rather than view it as a ever-flowing river, envision it as a still picture. Unrecorded historical events would seem to be more compliant to time traveler influence but that is only because we have no idea how things would have turned out. Someone travels back in time and wipes out a certain species – say, the dodo. One would think that history has been changed but not really because this individual from the future has always been fated to travel back in time and wipe out the dodo species. Historically, we know the dodos were wiped out, but there is some disagreement as to how and why. Some say they were an incredibly stupid species that allowed themselves to be hunted to extinction. Others argue that they were wiped out by disease. But perhaps the real reason hasn’t even been considered because it seems wholly implausible: that time travelers are, in fact, responsible. Okay, before people start posting angry comments, I don’t actually believe the dodos were wiped out by time travelers (they were culled as part of an alien experiment but more on that theory some other day), I simply wanted to offer an example of how I believe the rules of time travel apply in this series. And, like I said, I could entirely off the mark here.
Dyginc writes: “. The thought of time travel and not messing with the past can seem like you are able to tell only a bit of a story and are not able to jump out of that set arc. I will have to admit some sci-fi time travel stories have confused the heck out of me.”
Answer: Me too, and I occasionally write them for a living.
Narelle from Aus writes “ Wasn’t it mentioned extremely early on that only immortals could cope with the physical demands of time travel? I’m reading a few books at the moment so maybe I’m having a blonde moment.”
Answer: That well could be. Maybe I was having a brunette moment.
Fsmn36 writes: “While I don’t usually like the real technical sci-fi, I was disappointed at how little the sci-fi figured in and how much was romance.”
Answer: I too was surprised by the emphasis on romance over scifi, and even more surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I loved the characters and, at the end of the day, I didn’t really mind the minimal SF elements.
Fsmn36 writes: “I wished I could have seen more of The Company. I’ll admit I prefer organizations and political intrigues to romantic ones.”
Answer: So do I. Here’s hoping the ensuing books in the series offer us the best of both worlds.
Narelle from Aus also writes: “From the reading list on the side bar I have access to:
– Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, Kate Wilherlm
– Inherit the Stars, James P. Hogan
– Chocky, John Wyndham
– Vellum, Hal Duncan
– Ten Thousand Light Years from Home, James Triptree Jr.
– Crossing the Line, Karen Traviss
– Feersum Endjinn, Iain M. Banks
– The Embedding, Ian Watson
Any that you would say, just don’t bother?”
Answer: It really depends where your interests lie. Inherit the Stars if hard SF. Vellum is an almost hallucinatory experience. Crossing the Line is a sequel to City of Pearl, so I would recommend you start with the latter. Of those listed, my favorite was Wyndham’s Chocky followed closely by Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang and Feersum Endjinn.
Well, after seven glorious days in my hometown of Montreal, I’m finally back in Vancouver. The flight was delayed by half an hour because there was some sort of problem getting the baggage aboard. I didn’t have any checked baggage so my inner voice was screaming: “Screw the cargo! Let’s go! Let’s go!” While we waited for the problem to get sorted out, I sat back and listened to the in-cabin music. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it a little disconcerting to hear the theme from Six Feet Under playing on a flight just before take-off. Equally disconcerting is having the pilot make a special announcement halfway through the flight asking whether there was a doctor on board and, if so, to please head to the back of the plane. Holy crap, I thought. I’d had the fish! Fortunately, it seemed to be an isolated incident quickly addressed. I’m assuming: a) it was a false alarm, b) the person in need of the medical assistance recovered or, c) the person passed away and the air hostess simply draped a blanket over his corpse and proceeded with the in-flight service. Someone I know actually experienced the latter firsthand, flying first-class with a covered dead body lying beside him in the full-recline.
Well, among the things I have to look forward to: home and plasma repairs, meetings with my accountant and financial advisers, two script reviews, and Project Twilight await. Also, you’ll be pleased to hear that the mailbag will be making a long overdue return in the day(s) to come.
Speaking of the days to come, here’s what’s in store…
Sunday: Janina Gavankar drops by to answer your questions.
Monday: Discussion begins on this month’s phantasmagoric fantasy BOMTC selection: The Etched City. Finish up and ready your questions (I’ll even have a few this time out) because K.J. Bishop will be joining us all the way from Bangkok.