“It’s in the fridge at the back of AJ in a Ceramics lab. Don’t worry,” I added, responding to his raised eyebrows, “It’s a food fridge.”
We were gathered around a table in study room 317 in Bracken Library, our traditional group project meeting place, preparing our second and final presentation for Honors 199.
It was to be a 25-minute, audience-interactive discussion of the effects of the Vietnam War on Vietnamese civilians. To get more of our audience’s senses involved, I’d woken up early that morning to prepare 21 mini-cups of Vietnamese flan (which is like your regular custard-like dessert, but with lime juice).
When I’d dropped off my lunchbox full of flan in a friend’s dad’s refrigerator that morning, the stuff hadn't been in too pretty of a state. Yellowish liquid rolled from side to side within each cup, and the cocoa sprinkled on top had become mixed in.
“You know, if you get to the flan and decide it’s just not okay,” another group member chimed in, “We don’t have to give it to them at all. They’ll never know there was any food prepared.”
It was true. But I wanted my flan to work out. I hadn't gone shopping at 11 p.m. and woken up at 6 a.m. to see all the effort not come to fruition.
Absentmindedly, I reviewed my notes, wondering how that flan might be doing, far far away in the Ceramics lab fridge.
The Moment of Truth
Half an hour later, I was standing with my three group members in a classroom of the Robert Bell building with a Google Slides presentation up behind us, a pyramid of flan on the table in front of us, and a large number of expectant faces looking at us.
Presenting my information wasn't hard; no butterflies even entered my stomach. But when the end came and we passed out the cups of flan – along with plastic spoons we’d taken from the Atrium – I was biting my nails.
Would they like it? Would they even try it? What would happen if the first person who tasted it ran out of the classroom spewing rancid flan everywhere?
Fortunately, I shouldn't have worried so much.
“You've hit the nail on the head with this flan,” I heard my professor saying. “This is just how it tastes in Vietnam!”
I breathed a sigh of relief. When I finally worked up the courage to try my own creation, my heart was put to ease. It wasn't perfect, but it was edible.
The following words, uttered by one of my very own group members, were like tinkling music to my ears: “Can I have another flan?”