The Impeccable Souffle

by Sanddhya, 14
St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Austin, Texas

 

In memory of Kethan Kumar (2001-2013),
my friend who loved French food but never saw Paris

The soufflé embraces the edges of the ramekin,
catching the ceramic sides like a spider web

spun as each ingredient blends in heated harmony,
fluffy flour mixed with melted butter,

wisely whisked yolks meeting whole milk,
before the eager egg whites impeccably peaked

finally fold themselves into a mixture
that sends the milky surface soaring,

up, up puffing into a savory balloon,
dodging dangers that lesser cooks may fear,

but not chefs like James Beard or Julia Child 
who know the only thing that makes

a soufflé fall is if it knows you’re afraid
and gaze through the translucent glass door,

worried while the oven radiates its warmth
like sun burning the sandy skin off the beach

instead of admiring egg whites invisibly 
doing their job like the Cheshire Cat,

smiling as the edible Eiffel Tower
rises, rises to each sweet new height

on its heavenly journey upward,
until the tick-tock-tick-tock of the timer

has counted the minutes down, not a second late
before the oven mitt must run to rescue

the masterpiece before a tragic fate
befalls this light and airy romance,

so gay like two butterflies doing the waltz
in the summer breeze,

so fleeting like two friends doing the ballet,
one balancing between life and death.

the other, drowned in tears,
pleading with the Master of Creation

To disprove the culinary command:
You can’t make a soufflé rise twice.

 

Written in Response to "Fast Break" by Edward Hirsch