So today, like every other day since I started working, around 11am, I started to feel slightly dizzy and light-headed. And hungry.
I’m hungry most days without much motivation to actually eat something. Today wouldn’t be much different. But I had some free time and thought that I should at least go to the staff café and pick up a snack to keep me going. My energy levels were also dropping. I thought I would get some chips or packaged nuts or an energy bar or something.
I walked into the poorly lit café. The trays that served hot food were empty. Breakfast time had ended and the cooks were working on making the lunch menu. I walked over to the shelf with bags upon bags of chips. “Kumara crisps” the bright red writing on the packets said. A boast that this is super healthy, why wouldn’t you pick me? Low salted, baked and virtually bland, oddly shaped chips that can scratch the inside of your mouth or crumble down the front of your shirt as soon as you bite into one. I picked up a bag without enthusiasm.
Just then, someone walked past me with a small paper bag in their hand. They had come from the other side of the pillar I was standing in front of, where the cabinet was. The cabinet usually has sugary treats. Caramel slices, passionfruit cheesecake, raspberry brownies, etc. I’m not a big sweet tooth. So there’s no point in my going over to the cabinet.
But the person that walked past me said “I’ve just got a Danish” to the lady at the cash register.
I curiously went over to the other side and saw a large platter with a cake cover placed over it on top of the cabinet that had the same treats they always had. The platter however, had four, flat, eye-shaped, bright golden pastries piled one on top of the other. “Danish” the pink writing on the outside of the cover read. That’s a terrible description, I thought. I lifted the lid and eyed the pastries. I could immediately smell butter, sugar, and something like golden syrup intertwine and assault my senses.
Hmm. The pastries were eye-shaped with a border of pastry crust but a centre of custard and three raspberries in a row baked in with the pastry. And the whole thing was covered in a layer of dried golden syrup. This looks promising, I told myself.
I picked one up and placed it in a white paper bag and headed for the cash register.
When I was back in my office, I pulled the pastry out of the bag and saw the top few layers of pastry crumble into my hands. Ooooh. that’s the sign of good pastry.
The smell was strong as I brought the pastry to my mouth and took a bite, making sure I had a mouthful of the pastry, the custard and the raspberry all at once.
In a word: Heavenly
The pastry crumbled away in my mouth as the soft, sweet custard and golden syrup delighted my taste buds, and the tart and perfectly cooked raspberries cut through the sweetness, and sent a burst of flavour straight to the pleasure centres of my brain.
Every bite, the buttery, crumbly, slightly sweet pastry alone, or the soft, creamy, perfectly balanced custard alone, or the small but immensely flavour concentrated raspberry bringing it all together, made me smile. I took small bites, savouring it and making sure I was aware of every mouthful.
It was the first time in days that I actually enjoyed eating something. My mouth was very happy. And I had the right amount of sugar and happiness in my brain to continue on with my day