To soufflé or not to soufflé,
That is the question
Whether 'tis simpler for the gut to suffer
The preservatives of microwaved Stouffers,
Or to take whisks against a saucepan of butter and flour
And, by gyrating, mix them. To warm, to heat
A little more – and by heat we say to blend
Equal parts butter and flour with cups of milk
That sauce is a base to – to a revelation
Devoutly to be folded. With whites. Of eggs.
To bake, perchance to broil. Ay, there's the dish.
For in that rise of molecules what taste may come,
We have shuffled to avoid fallen food,
We keep our calm. There's the respect
That makes simplicity of a delicious meal.
For to bear the whisks and folds of eggs,
Is to show the freezer section's wrong, the proud cook's victory.
The pangs of a lusty stomach, the appetites' delay,
The insolence of waiting, all made worth it.
That patient merit of that the worthy takes.
Would he himself a Hotpocket make
When such delights await? Who would bear the shame?
Tis no long grunt or sweat over a stove,
But ten minutes of barely registered exertion,
The separated eggs from yonder coop
The yolks in the sauce, the whites in the mixer
Which beats until soft peaks form and fluffy meringue we have
Then fold together with cheese or spinach or Gran Marnier?
Thus conscience makes kitchen warriors of us all,
And thus the orange glow of the oven
Is heated o'er while air bubbles expand,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their interiors turn feather-light,
And seize the name of Souffle.—Soft you now!
The fair sublimity must be served immediately
And all labors be at once appreciated and forgotten.
* Souffle photo taken by James Carrier for Sunset magazine, part of Time, Inc.