“…somehow I was drawn to you.” He explains to her. “Once when I was a child, I almost drowned. It’s just like that feeling. Darkness everywhere, and nothing for me to hold onto, no matter how hard I try. There’s just you.”
“What help am I?”
“You – just to look at you makes me feel better. It warms this – this mummy’s heart of mine. And you’re so kind to me. No; that’s not it. You’re so young, so healthy. No; that’s not it either… You’re so full of life. And me… I’m jealous of that. If I could be like you for just one day before I died. I won’t be able to die unless I can do that. I want to do something.”
And do you know what she does that makes her so happy and glad to be alive? She works in a factory! Making toy rabbits. But she loves the toy rabbits, and she says that while she makes them she feels as though she’s playing with every baby in Japan. She tells him he should make something. And that’s when it all becomes clear to him, and he goes back to his job and pursues it with a passion, and uses his office to make something good. Because, like everybody else in the world, he’s been extraordinary all along. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”Holy smoke! I’ve gone on so much longer and more tediously than I intended! I apologize. I would like to tell you about these ice creams though. I was seized with a desire to make ice cream, as one usually is the coldest week of the year! I wanted to try something a little different. The first ice cream is sugar free. It’s made with honey!! I’ve made honey ice cream in the past, but it had sugar, too, and this one doesn’t. It does have cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cayenne. I thought it was so good! It had such a lovely hot and spicy zing to go with it’s cool creamy sweetness. The second ice cream had no eggs. Instead of a custard, I thickened the milk by cooking it down, the way one would make dulce de leche or ribadi. I also cooked it with ground almonds and coconut, and then I added a bit of cardamom. I thought it was lovely as well. It had a nice texture, with the coconut. I might try the same method again without the coconut and almonds, though, just to see how it turns out!!
Here’s Takashi Shimura (as Kanji Wantanabe) singing Gondola No Uta in his haunting voice.
SPICY HONEY ICE CREAM
1/2 cup honey
1 cup milk
2 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
large pinch each nutmeg, allspice and cayenne
2 t cornstarch
1 t salt
1 cup heavy cream
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the honey to a boil. Take from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk, spices and vanilla.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk the eggs, cornstarch and salt until frothy.
Whisking all the while, pour the honey into the eggs in a thin stream. Then pour the milk into the eggs in a thin stream (still whisking!!) Return the mixture to the medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Warm, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. I did ten minutes, I think.
Pour into a bowl, stirring constantly. Then pour into another cool bowl (this two-bowl method is my sneaky trick for cooling it a bit faster). Cover and chill in the fridge 5 hours to overnight.
Stir in one cup of heavy cream, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
ALMOND COCONUT ICE CREAM
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t cardamom
1 cup heavy cream
Combine all of the ingredients except the heavy cream in a blender or food processor and process till quite smooth.
Transfer to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about an hour, till it’s reduced by about 1 cup. It should be about the consistency of heavy cream, but a little chunky.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then blend again until quite smooth.
Cover and chill for 5 hours to overnight.
Stir in the heavy cream, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.