When's the last time you let yourself make a big ol' mess just for the fun of it? If you saw the heaps of laundry adorning my bedroom floor or what my counters look like after a baking binge, you'd know that I'm no stranger to messes, but it's rare that I intentionally sit and get my hands dirty for the sake of playing. When I was a little kid, I used to love playing in the mud. I'd play "cooking show" with moss and dirt and whatever earthly ingredients I could find. Somewhere along the way, I lost that ability to be present, get dirty and let my imagination take over. I admit, it would be weird if I were to go to the park, plunk myself down and start making mudpies as an adult, even if some of the kids in the sandbox are bigger than me. But, what I'd like to get back is the ability to let my mind be at peace enough to be vulnerable to my imagination and the present moment.
This all came about when I was testing recipes for NYC Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry. It's a fantastic gathering of talented food bloggers and bakers, organized by the amazing Ken and Lillian (no seriously. Peep their blogs. I'm always impressed by what they can make.. when they channel it into an event, it's even more spectacular!). Obviously, I wanted to bake something worthy of a great cause and something I hoped folks would want to buy!
I settled on raspberry & cream marshmallows. Initially, I wanted to make a double layer creation, similar to the meyer lemon meringue pie marshmallows I made a few months ago. But, as I thought about it more, I decided to go with one uniform color. I set out to mallow with the best intentions, but as I poured them in the pan, they were a runny, sticky mess. I tried to guide some stray mallow back towards the pan with a finger and my finger was covered in sticky pink. Which spread to my other fingers. And my palm. And my hand. I had cotton candy colored strands stretching from finger to finger, making my hand look like a Pepto Bismal pink spiderweb. I could have been angry. I could have been frustrated, but instead, I chose to just enjoy the mess. I proceeded to lick my fingers. I scraped the mixing bowl out, Winnie the Pooh style. I wound up with a pink sticky mouth that wouldn't lick clean. I was, quite literally, a hot mess.
Further iterations of the recipe were more successful and much less sticky, though I still look back and laugh when I think of the first batch. All in all, I had to tell myself that two dozen of these marshmallows were going to help little kids, who I'm sure would have had just as much fun diving into a sticky bowl of marshmallow. And the rest were going to Krista of Budget Gourmet Mom (Check out her Triple Layer Lemon Meringue Cake!) as part of The Leftovers Club, so I wanted to make sure they were tasty!