Bassat’s father looks up in surprise from his chair near a hospital bed as Bassat enters the room. Bassat has a hard time naming all the emotions that cycle across his face: shock and excitement and sadness and something else that’s strong and stony and stunned. He looks pale, like he hasn’t washed his hair or slept well in days. His clothes are wrinkled and somehow they look like they don’t fit right. To Bassat’s alarm, tears well up in his eyes, and then start to spill down his cheeks, unchecked. Bassat has never seen her papa like this, and she simultaneously feels like running away and tumbling into his arms. She tumbles into her father’s arms. She rests there for several heartbeats or a lifetime.
After a while standing like this, her papa straightens up. He pulls away a bit, while still holding Bassat’s head as if he wants to keep it close to his chest. “You’re early. How was your trip?” Bassat has never talked with her papa via implant before, at least not in the same room. His cool and collected thought voice calms her down and makes her feel safer.
“It was good.” Bassat searches her memory for the fun parts of her trip. “The train had an ice cream vendor. I bought passion fruit and fig and then there was a little kid who bought chocolate and she traded me part of her chocolate for part of my passion fruit. And in my train car there was a man with this HUGE hat, it was extending way out past his body, like an old-fashioned farmer or something, and the woman beside him was obviously really annoyed with him and she kept making faces at him that he didn’t see, or at least he pretended he didn’t. Then someone opened the door and there was a big wind and it blew his hat off his head into her face and she made a little scream and stomped out of the car. And another kid and I laughed a lot and then the man winked…”
Bassat’s thought trails off as she finally looks over at the hospital bed. She had been avoiding it. Talking calmed her down, though, and her eyes found the courage to meander over on their own.
In this passage, food provides an escape. Talking about eating ice cream on the train gives ten-year-old Bassat a way to reassure both herself and her father by pretending to a happy, childlike normalcy while visiting her critically injured mother in the hospital.
It turns out that passion fruit ice cream is one of both Erica’s and Lilith’s favorite things ever. This no-churn ice cream uses chunks of passion fruit, packaged in one-centimeter cubes which, at least in Ames, you can find in the freezer section of Target (no, there are no Targets in Belite culture, but sometimes great art requires compromise). We like tart flavors, so if you favor sweetness, consider adding a third of a cup of sugar to both the ice cream and the sauce.
No-Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream:
- 16 oz by weight or about 3 cups of frozen passion fruit chunks
- One can of sweetened condensed milk
- Two cups of heavy whipping cream, very cold (you can put it in the freezer to get it cold)
- In a blender, puree together the passion fruit chunks and sweetened condensed milk.
- In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks, approximately three minutes.
- Add the blended passion fruit mixture to the bowl and mix again until combined.
- Pour into freezer containers and freeze for at least six hours.
- Drizzle passion fruit sauce on top and enjoy!
Passion Fruit Sauce:
- 8 oz by weight defrosted passion fruit chunks
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 cup of water
- A pinch of salt
- In blender, puree the passion fruit chunks.
- Heat passion fruit blend, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.
- After it’s boiling, add the cornstarch/water mixture and boil for a few minutes until slightly thickened.
- Chill and serve!