Lactase. More like LACKtase. More like lacLAZE. More like I'm just a lactard and that's all there is to it. It seems, lately, when I go to do something nice for myself, like go to Polk Street and drink two cups of complementary chai -- which is the real-deal, tea-&-spices-brewed-in-milk-not-water -- my innards curdle. My stomach grinds to a halt. Like as if I just drank molten wax, which has now set up in my tummy, forming a perfect hermetic seal. Gradually, I begin to feel like that can of soda your brother methodically shakes back and forth, back and forth, snickering, "Want some? Want some? Here, let me open it for you."
As a youngster, I invented an odd little recipe for chocolate-covered coconut candies. I wanted a Mounds bar. But I didn't know what to put in the center -- what, exactly, is the medium for white candy centers? I asked myself. Could it be marshmallows? Maybe Crisco? Cookie dough? I had never heard of fondant, let alone partially hydrogenated high-fructose sludge. So I tried cream cheese ("It worked in the icing"), and stuck with it. The candies never tasted Quite Right -- nowadays I would scratch my chin and say, "Harrumph! The synergy between chocolate and coconut is antithetical to the synergy between coconut and cheese." Quite Right or not, I was terribly afraid my brother would eat all the chocolates without acknowledging my culinary genius, so I added mounds of salt to the fillings of a few, memorized their locations in the wax-paper-lined tupperware container, and warned my brother that if he didn't consult with me before eating one, he would have himself a nasty surprise. I took to hanging around outside the kitchen door, eager to watch him writhe in agony when he sank his gluttonous teeth into the briny cheesy coconutty chocolate at D7.
Now, when I am feeling lactarded and nervous about a potluck where I know all of two people, I return to my chocolate-coated roots. These days, I spike my chocolates with bourbon. Where did my creativity go? Hard so say, but the bourbon sure helps with the nerves.