“Our family is the most powerful in the world.”
It’s a lazy morning over Christmas break and Malcolm and I are sitting together on the couch under a blanket and under Clio. We’re both just waking up, just pondering a day ahead with no plans and no obligations. All around us is sprawled a cheerful post-Christmas chaos of toys and socks and books. Malcolm has just cracked a joke that made David laugh aloud, which is a thing Malcolm loves to do. And then he declares us the most powerful family in the world.
“How so?” You might well ask. “Wherein lies this supreme power?” Is it because we possess vast wealth, an intimidating arsenal, or confounding Machiavellian genius? No, no it’s not, although obviously we have all these things. According to Malcolm, the source of our power is that we have so much fun together. With the addendum that when we have nothing to do we sit around with a dog on top of us. Well, there it is! The secret to ultimate power revealed by a 13-year-old.
Predictably, I love this! I love that my son sees the ability to have fun as a source of power, that he sees that our cohesiveness makes us strong. I wish this understanding could be applied to all things, to all groups of people. I wish that threats and violence, rather than shows of strength, were recognized as the offshoots of weakness that they are. I wish this understanding applied even to countries. Can you imagine if we displayed our power not by amassing weapons but by showing how much we make each other laugh, how well we get along? Can you imagine the Fox News pundits sitting on their set with a dog sprawled on top of them, criticizing the president not because he showed weakness by not bombing people, but because he wasn’t making enough people laugh at international summits? Cohesiveness and joy, that’s what it’s all about.
We wanted to make some new holiday traditions just the four of us. Malcolm’s idea was to make a gingerbread house. So we did. Hoo boy. We made a derelict, condemned house out of gingerbread. We were going to put licorice vultures on top but the roof caved in. So we were left with a lot of (very tasty) gingerbread. David had the brilliant idea to crumble it up and mix it into nutmeg ice cream as it froze. Delicious! Very simple, but with strong, wonderful flavors. So this is a good use of leftover gingerbread house, or you can make a few extra gingerbread cookies next time, or you could just buy some gingerbread men.
Here’s Soul Power by the Heptones
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 t nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar
1 T flour
1/2 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
about one cup crumbled gingerbread cookies
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat warm the milk with the nutmeg until it just has small bubbles around the edges.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, flour and vanilla and whisk until well-combined. Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture in a thin stream, whisking all the while. Then return everything to the pan and cook at very low heat, stirring all the while for five or so minutes. It should thicken enough to lightly coat the spoon. Return to a chilled bowl, cover, and chill in the fridge for about five hours or overnight. I generally pour mine into a bowl in a sinkful of cold water, stirring to release some heat, before I put it in the chilled bowl.
Add the heavy cream, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Crumble the gingerbread so that you have some tiny crumbs and some larger pieces. As the ice cream begins to freeze up, drop in the ginger bread, a little at a time, until you have a nice cookie-to-cream ratio.