Try A Little Weirdness? Hell, Yes!
Bread Pudding is Weird Like Me, and I Own It
… the external world looks foreign and maybe even deranged. [Artists and storytellers] do the minimum to give it its due while they keep their focus on their real work, which is integrating the insights of the deep mind. What they have to offer the world most of us live in is transformative. Without people willing to do this work the world would end in overwhelming and repetitive boredom.
You know you’re in the realm of weirdness when you find yourself explaining the Apollonian/Dionysian false dichotomy of Western civilization to your boss and a coworker.
No, really—I did just that. And it was all my fault.
Or it’s just me.
See, we do potlucks at work every month, sometimes twice a month. Our excuse is to celebrate coworkers’ birthdays in that given month or to celebrate a holiday, like, I dunno, Arbor Day. We go all out for our potlucks, such that stomach distention starts to interfere with our jobs. So, in conversation with my boss and a coworker, I said our potlucks are bacchanalian, which of course led to quizzical glances. (Theirs is no disgrace, as “bacchanalian” is not sumthin’ ya drop in casual convo … unless … you’re me.)
“You know,” I said, like the Kardashians just used “bacchanalian” in a post the other day, “from the Roman god, Bacchus, which came from the mystery religion in ancient Greece, celebrating the rites of Dionysos, in which women got deliriously drunk and tore apart any man in sight.”
They looked at me, like, “Yeah, Bethany, sumthin’ you see everyday.”
I dug the hole deeper. “The ancient Greeks were such an Apollonian society, as in toe-the-line, all ordered and such, like the god Apollo. So, they’d cut loose when Dionysos came in the spring, bringing tons of wine, which represented his blood. So, our potlucks are a bacchanalian departure from our normal work routine. Get it?”
If It’s Weird, Don’t Fix It
I’ve always been weird. Long before I ever knew myself as a woman, let alone a witch, Papa Culture tried to school me in all his techniques. I didn’t actively work against his efforts. I just did it.
No one told me I wasn’t allowed to bring something to the party other than reason, rationality, facts, and normalcy. No one commissioned or invited me try a little weirdness. I did it spontaneously.
Papa Culture burned me for it. After I touched that hot iron, I found it damn hard to intentionally go back and do it again. Yet, I kept on doing it whether I knew it or not.
After transitioning, I didn’t stop being weird. In our current world, trans folks are viewed, even by friends, as folks who’ve given-in to their weirdness. So much so that we’ve become a lightning rod for the Republican party.
Trans people elementally disrupt the status quo, our existence calling into question something the Apollonian stuff-shirts never bothered to question: gender identity.
I Own It
In transitioning, I didn’t take on more weirdness, I just let it blossom in the direction it had always been aiming at. I explode on the scene like Dionysos and his drunken band of cut-loose women, and I don’t ask permission of Apollo. Of course, sometimes that requires explanation, like the word, “Bacchanalian.”
Then again, in the current cisgender-dominated culture, any trans person being who they are demands an explanation, even to allies. And not everyone of us feels like we have to teach the public why we exist. We just wanna live our lives.
Like Bread Pudding, We’re Just There
Bread pudding is a dish made from scraps and what-have-yous left in the pantry and fridge. It’s a desperation dish, as in “I wanna have a treat, but without going to the grocery store, for which venture I’ve no money anywho.”
Bread pudding is a delight. It’s not b*tchy.
It doesn’t smack you in the face with exotic flavors.
It’s just there on your tongue till you’re thankful it’s warming your belly.
Being trans is a treat I found the magik to whip up. From the scraps of an existence I was tired of shopping for, had broke my spiritual bank account for.
So, I’m me. I’m here to serve that up.
And damn, I’m a treat!
Not-So-B*tchy Bread Pud
Prep Time: 30min Cook Time: 30min Total Time: 1hr Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8
1Q (1L) Pyrex baking dish or pie plate
kitchen thermometer (optional)
Sm mixing bowl
Deep roast pan
Ramekin or sm container
Kitchen torch (optional)
1⁄3C (75g/3⁄4 stick) butter
8 slices leftover bread (number of slices varies w/ shape/size of Pyrex dish)
1C (125g) raspberries (I prefer frozen, as they're more concentrated in flavor, but you can use fresh)
1⁄3C (100g) white chocolate chips
1⁄2C (225ml) milk, whole 1⁄2C (225ml) cream, heavy
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out (or 1t vanilla bean paste/1-1⁄2t vanilla extract)
3 lg eggs
⅛C (25g) caster sugar
3T apricot jam (or jam of choice)
1⁄8C (25g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1a. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C (375°F/190°C High Altitude).
1b. Spray Pyrex dish with cooking spray, bottom and inside rim.
2a. Cut off bread crusts (crusts keep liquid from soaking into bread).
2b. Butter bread slices.
2c. Cover base of Pyrex dish with one layer buttered bread, cutting bread as needed to fill gaps.
2d. Evenly scatter little more than half raspberries and half white chocolate chips over bottom bread layer.
2e. Repeat steps 2c-d for second layer, using remaining bread, raspberries, and white chocolate chips.
3. In med saucepan, over med-low heat, whisk milk and cream with vanilla (If using thermometer, don't go higher than 170°F/77°C).
4a. Whisk eggs and sugar in bowl.
4b. Slowly pour milk-cream into egg-sugar mixture, whisking to thoroughly combine.
5. Gently pour custard mixture over bread filling, evenly distributing liquid from edge to edge, filling all nooks and crannies. (Do not pour over crooks or nannies, though I daresay the crooks deserve it, as well as an abusive nanny or two, who definitely deserve it. But let's not turn this into a moral lesson.)
6a. Make bain marie of roast pan by filling with cold water about ½in (1.25cm) deep.
6b. Place baking dish into roast pan and add cold water as needed into roast pan to raise water to approximately 1in (2.5cm) up side of baking dish. Do not let water splash/overflow into baking dish. Tentatively, gradually, ever so painstakingly (well, perhaps not that nettlesome) set baking dish into bain marie to judge whether water will come up too far.
7. Bake 30 min till pud is set and mystically golden.
8a. In sm saucepan, heat jam with splash of water, till thin enough to use as glaze.
8b. Pour glaze through sieve into ramekin/container. Set aside.
9a. Dust put with icing sugar
9b. Apply blowtorch torch over surface to brown sugars.
10. Brush with warm apricot glaze and serve. (Goes great with ice cream of choice!)
Refrigerates well for 1 week. Zap single servings in microwave to take off chill.