I know that doesn't generate a lot of sympathy for those of you who have already seen this number come and go. You've made your peace with your twenties. They were swell, you had a shitty apartment and your older friends bought the drinks. You made a few bad decisions that - with luck and a bit of hindsight - hopefully haven't been repeated in your thirties-plus. I'm sure you think your twenties were nice and you have some great memories, but who would want to go back to that?
But bear with me for a bit. Remember that once it was suddenly the last year of your twenties. How suddenly that number had the gravity to yank you down to actualized adulthood. Think of how the next blank-9 birthday of your own is coming up and how another decade in your life will be closing so fast that if you turn to look at the days gone by you'll risk way-back whiplash.
A few years ago - heck, at 28 - the looming possibility of 30 seemed so abstract. It was a number. Something far, far away. Way over there and so distant you needed binoculars to get a fuzzy view of it. Little did you know it was charging in your direction like a pissed-off menstrual rhino.
We all poo-poo'ed our friends who turned 29. "It's just a number, after all. Who cares? Don't stress," we said so haughtily.
Then, sweet Georgia Ann, it's your turn. What the hell did you know a year ago and how did your older friends not backhand the shit out of you every time you opened your dismissive maw with another age joke or half-handed condolence? You're a god damn twenty-something anyways. What do YOU know about life?!
My twenties are in their twilight. I guess I'm supposed to have experience now - I'm an adult, after all. My decade of mistakes is over, right? I'm perfect from here on out, yes? I would like to think I have my lessons learned now and if I get struck down tomorrow then please, Jesus, can I just come back as someone who knows better?
Still, the last 9 years haven't been bad. Sure there was a fire, a flood, an incredibly harsh break-up with a guy who secretly ran up my credit card, and that asshole who slipped the Gamma-hydroxybutyrate in my drink that resulted in a near death hospital visit for me. There was that job-we-dare-not-speak-of in college and the job at the Evil Nazi Cupcake Store in 2010, the latter being the worst of the two because it paid a hell of a lot less and devoured more of my self worth.
But overall 20-29 has been pretty phenomenal. There was 21, which is a malachite haze from way too much Midori-based cocktails, but I think I had fun if the dog collar and pink hair are any indication. I have a business card that says I'm a writer! People believe it, too! Sometimes enough to pay me and that's super nifty. I think my high school self thinks that pretty damn cool. I have great friends who keep me grounded and support me when I don't to be.
Undergrad was a breeze and a blast, though I can't say it prepared me for the hell of graduate school, which made me feel like the meal of an epileptic preying mantis. Still, the diplomas are on the wall so that means I'm smart, or so I'm told.
I have a family now. An amazing man who makes Indian food, a Corgi whose left hind leg is a bit shorter than the right, an orally fixated tabby cat, and an Eat Beast disguised as a teacup panther.
And who knows? Maybe the next decade will bring on another member, but I'm not sure I can commit to that yet as the Corgi is responsibility enough thankyouverymuch.
I need more time though. I think I can still do more in my twenties and one more year isn't enough.
I need to be 22 and spend a year living in Ireland. I've still never been to a rock concert. I need to be 21 and celebrate that birthday something proper and not get drunk at the first bar I hopped to. I need to be 24 and start my career earlier. I need to be 27 and drive to Montreal like I meant to that summer. I want to go sky diving.
Too bad. So sad. I'm still 29. 356 days till 30.
I suppose I better make the most of it...
On that note, I've had this recipe sitting on a post-it note since 2007, when I was 24. Almond Joy ice cream. I've been meaning to make it and assuming it worked blog about it for years. I only just remembered the idea after a small discussion on Facebook if peanut butter-chocolate-coconut ice cream was a valid idea or not. (I say yes).
It's chocolaty and coconutty. A soft and slightly chewy ice cream with plenty of crunch from roasted almonds and flickering texture from a heavy hand of finely shredded coconut. It tastes just like one of my favorite candy bars. Perhaps a little better, in my humble opinion.
So, yes, it's just ice cream. No glass of Midori in Ireland. But it's something. It counts. One more experience while I'm twenty-something.
Almond Joy Ice Cream
Makes 4-5 servings
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup coconut milk (not light)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1. Toast the almonds for 10 minutes at 350F. Set aside to cool.
2. Place 2 tablespoons of the milk and the corn starch in a bowl, mix, and set aside. Break up the chocolate and place in a medium bowl and place that in a large bowl filled with ice water.
3. Place the remaining milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4 quart sauce pot and bring to a boil. Add the cocoa powder and whisk for 4 minutes (your wrist may feel sore, if so then deal with it and power on. suffering for ice cream = worth it). Add the corn starch slurry and mix for another minute. It'll all get rather thick.
4. Pour over the chocolate and whisk till smooth. Add the salt and whisk a bit more. *whew* The texture will be almost pudding-like.
5. When it's room temperature pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and process for about 30 minutes. After, chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Mix in the almonds and coconut, then chill for 4 more hours before serving.