It was sweltering in southern Minnesota, 98 degrees Fahrenheit with fifty percent humidity. I was put in charge of bringing dessert to a Fourth of July barbeque held by my best friend, his weirdo roommates and a handful of townies that I could never decide if I even liked, yet constantly yearned for their acceptance. Red white and blue cake seemed too obvious. Jell-O cake too lowbrow. I toyed with the idea of making lemonade cake, but quickly decided that would be a sticky mess in the July heat.
What could be more quintessentially American or summer than strawberry shortcake? I started pulling ingredients out of my cupboard and refrigerator. I sprayed a no-stick baking spray on some cupcake pans and quickly set to work mixing the ingredients for the shortcake biscuits. After baking, I removed the biscuits from the cupcake pans and let them cool on a rack. While the biscuits were cooling, I sliced some strawberries and set out to whip up some cream.
When I went to add powdered sugar to my chilled heavy whipping cream, I noticed that the container was crawling with ants—but not just any ants, SUPER ants. These were the ants that give you nightmares. The ones you envision carrying off an entire human body to their underground home. Then I realized they weren’t exactly moving. Did they suffocate in powdered sugar? If there was such a lack of oxygen, how did they even get inside the container? Were they smaller before gorging themselves to death on powdery confection? Did they OD on this fine, white, powdery substance?
I pulled myself together, calmed by the fact that they didn’t seem to be moving, and considered my next move.Read More›