Thanksgiving day this year began with Beth and I freezing, standing on a snowy street in Tukwila waiting for a cab to the airport at 4:45am and ended with my crazed, drunken brother breaking in to some asshole’s house to steal his liquor. Luckily, that neither Beth nor I were around for that last part.
What we were around for, however, was Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house. We brought my mother with us and we all ate a fantastic meal together. My brother’s kids were on their best behavior, the turkey and stuffing were spot on, and my mother made delicious mashed potatoes.
For dessert, we ate flan.
Being that I live in Seattle, I don’t often have the opportunity to eat flan. My brother’s wife made flan and brought out some other desserts– apple pie, pecan pie, ice cream– but they all went ignored by me in the face of this flan. Beth and I each had some and we were both floored by how good it was. Then my mom spoke up– “I make it better.” Her proclamation was met with a polite smile and a nod, but she meant it. The rest of our visit to my brother’s family’s house went off without a hitch. Friendly chatter was made, and his daughter, who will one day be a famous artist, made us “Happy Thanksgiving” drawings. I’ve never been sappy about kids, but I feel like framing mine.
The next day, my mother made lunch for Beth and I. As cooks, the women in my family are great exaggerators. They bring three different kinds of dessert and try to throw ice cream on top. They bring out a three-entree lunch and throw entire sticks of butter into things that don’t even call for butter. Then they ask you why you’re so fat. This lunch consisted of chilaquiles, refried beans, homemade chips, a crazy sugar and mango milkshake, and flan. It was the most amazing thing ever. I can’t speak for Beth, but I know I came back from this last vacation to tighter fitting pants. This stuff was creamy and sugary, but not so creamy that it didn’t stand up by itself.
The best flan I can remember having was at Sandoval’s a few years ago and I remember thinking “This is what it should taste like!”
My mom’s is better. This stuff that simultaneously creamy, jello-y, chew it with the roof of your mouth quality and the sugary sauce was just the right amount of burnt and opaque. This is the stuff that makes yearly trips to Miami worth it. If only I could have some right now.
This was a frothy, badly-written post and I’m aware of it. However, in thinking about a trip that was pretty rife with grief and awkwardness, that flan is one of the things that sticks out in a positive way. Now I’m on the search for a decent one in Seattle (one day I’ll learn to make it myself, undertaking that it may be).