This Recording’s number one girl crush Molly Young returns...
If you didn’t meet Ms. Young when she first told us about her experiences with mail-order make-up, she might be described as Joan Didion reincarnated in Natalie Portman’s body, or perhaps more like Vanessa Hudgens for boys who like to read serious books and wear sweaters.
She and her equally smart, pretty, and cool best friend Alice Gregory attend different schools on the east coast, but correspond frequently on a level comparable to The Syndicate and often document their adventures, which hybridize The Secret History with Ghost World.
In Search of Lost Prune Whip
by Molly Young
Along with milk punch, steak Diane and blancmange, prune whip has practically vanished into a culinary wormhole. I read about whips in my mom’s old edition of The Joy of Cooking, which featured a whole section devoted to them.
A whip is basically a dish of egg whites, sugar, gelatin, and a fruit or flavoring agent (apricot, caramel, pineapple), which is baked and chilled. Sometimes it is served with a Boiled Custard Sauce.
In John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, there’s a character named Doc who becomes obsessed with the idea of a beer milkshake. He broods on it and broods on it, until he finally coaxes a waitress to make him one.
I forget if he ends up liking it or not, but the point is that I felt the same way about prune whip when I was sixteen years old. When I assembled prune whip in my mental mixing bowl, it tasted of puffed merengue, oily prunes, and the slight grit of white sugar.
I talked about it persistently, had dreams about it, and begged my mom to make me some. She thought I was batty and didn’t want to waste eggs. Finally, one winter afternoon a year later, I came home to a surprise in my bedroom. A small white ramekin rested on my duvet. “PRUNE WHIP” a note read, “–FROM ALICE” (Alice is my best friend). Inside the ramekin was a serving of fluffy white prune-speckled whip.
My eyes moistened with joy. I sat on the bedspread, cradling the dish like a kitten. The smell of prune whip filled the space of my tiny room. I took up the spoon that Alice had provided and carved out an airy bite– it tasted bad, of course, but I finished the pot with gusto. From then on, it was an endless string of beer milkshakes.
First I needed to try lychees on ice; then ouzo, then candied violets, then taro. Right now, I am looking for an authentic Jamaican black cake. Hunting down novelty foods is the best way I’ve found to fulfill the human instinct for acquisition. It is a cheap and time-consuming hobby, and it does not create clutter.
Molly Young is a writer, student, and culinary aesthete from the Bay Area.
Magic Molly’s magic movies
Goosebumps and Gastromorphs
The Good Life: from Socrates and Kanye West
Flat Animals vs. Long Animals
Magic Bus – The Who (Live At Leeds): mp3
Girlfriend – Eric’s Trip: mp3
Fleetwood Crack – White Williams: mp3
The Clapping Song – Shirley Ellis: mp3
Street Life – Roxy Music: mp3
PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING
Get up close and intimate with Will Hubbard
Will on Robert Creeley and Charles Olson
His favorite films
Modernism in art and poetry