Meringue: a 2/4 beat recipe

By Andrea Vanlandschoot

Step forward two egg whites
out of their shells into the light of
a bowl big enough to give free
rein to the whisking skills come down
the family tree. Your mum was ace
she whipped up an egg white storm
never missing a beat
Alas her skills skipped a generation
and you set the electric mixer switch on low
until the bloom of foam
appears in that bowl
cue to increase the speed and stir up
the rhythm until you reach the stiff
white peaks you had in mind
allow yourself a peek at that awesome
view, then move on to cast the sugar
spoon by spoon, combine and whisk
and behold that heavenly mix
awaiting the cool oven depths
at 150 C, gas mark 2
a brief spell is all they need
to partly bake and hibernate as
it is their fate
to emerge unveiled chilled in
crunchy crisp regalia of magnificent
celestial full-on sugar fairy tale
Oh sweet dessert, you share your name with
couples stepping out to the upbeat sound of
a French minuet on speed
Merveilleux darling, so fast the rhythms
so precise the drag of dancers’ feet
descended down the African tree
whence they came chained and bound
to work Dominican sugar cane to the beat
of a drum so painfully slow and arcane
in their minds they already heard the fast
percussive delight of Meringue measured
in steps not weight, a celebration
of hard won freedom to the
pure ringing sweet perfection
of accordion, tambura and guira,
life’s sugar rush menu
emblazoned in a 2/4 measure
confection of dazzling complexion
shine on into the light