April 11, 2004 2:43 AM | By Adam Roberts | 5 Comments

Quiet, Disciplined Study and the Night of 1000 Sorbets

If there is one question I get asked more than any other it would have to be: "Why are you naked in our nursing home?"

But if there is another question I get asked more than any other, it is surely: "How do you manage your website and attend law school all at the same time?"

Tonight I provide a rare glimpse into the world of a third year law student-cum-international gourmet sensation.

The fact is, that balancing my many interests takes discipline. Cold, hard discipline. I began tonight at the kitchen table, away from the internet, focused on my 30-page paper due in a week.


Lauren is out of town, and the apartment is mine. Cloistered in my academic hovel, I penetrated the issues of my paper like spermazoa invading an egg: my ideas bursting forth, creating life where there was no life before. (Although, some argue that life does not begin at conception. But I digress).

Suddenly, I heard voices.

"BLOOD! BLOOD! SPILL THE BLOOD!" a chorus of children sang out.

"No!" I shrieked. "Not again!"

But it was too late. I had no choice.

I ran to Whole Foods and picked up a bag of blood oranges. What else could I do?

I came back and poured sugar and water into a pot.


I sliced a blood orange in half:


I squeezed out a cup of juice:


I photographed the carcasses:


And then I poured the blood juice into the sugar water, adding a twist of lemon. I let it cool and then poured it into my gyrating ice cream maker:


"BLOOD BLOOD SPILL THE BLOOD!" sang the children, and then I realized: the couple below me was watching The Lord of The Flies.* I stomped my foot and the voices ceased.

*(This is the second in a series of what will become an annoying array of Lord of the Flies jokes.)

I peered down into the swishy mess:


What pretty colors!

I looked over my shoulder and saw my books. "One second!" I said, as I watched the liquidy syrup turn into sorbet.

Before I knew it, it was done:


Look at that funky color! It's like phosphoresent pink. And the taste! Mmm. This was right up my alley. Tart, sweet, citrusy. Loved it. I put the rest away for safekeeping:


And then I returned to my studies.

Academic achievement is based on hard work and focus. As Jefferson said, I believe: "Genius is 1% inspiration, 90% persperation, and 9% sorbet."


"You heard me," said Jefferson. "9% sorbet."

"I just made sorbet," I replied.

"You did, it's true," he said thoughtfully, scratching his chin. "But did you make Lemon Thyme sorbet?"

I saw his point. I immediately ran down to Whole Foods and purchased a bag of lemons and some Thyme.

"There ya go my boy!" said Jefferson. "Now hop to it!"

I grated some lemon peel:


I squeezed some lemon juice:


I bundled up some Thyme:


And I steeped it all in boiling sugar water:


I strained what I steeped:


And after cleaning the blood off the ice cream maker, I poured it in:


"Excellent!" said Jefferson, but another pawn was in play.

"What the HELL are you doing?" said my mother from her place in my conscience.


"Two sorbets in one night?! Are you out of your mind?!"

"Well," I mumbled, "it seemed like a good idea."

"I'll show you a good idea!" She waved her wand and ZAP, the machine turned hot.


But it was too late. The sorbet wouldn't freeze:


The machine spun round and round to no avail.

I sadly poured the liquid out into a bowl and covered with saran wrap:


I put it in the fridge and cleaned and refroze the ice cream maker bowl. We would have another go tomorrow.

I turned back to the table where my books lay. I sat myself down and churned out a page. One out of thirty: it's a start.

And now you know how it is that I do what I do. It's not an easy life, I'll tell ya.



Vicki at Just In From CowTown recommended that I check out your blood oranges. Lovely job on the sorbet! (And yes, the lemon/thyme one will come together. I have a Krups ice cream maker, and while it works like a dream, it only does so for one batch. I have never been able to churn successive batches; the container just doesn't stay cold enough. Better to wait another day -- or buy another machine. Yes, I kid.)

I also loved your vanilla ice cream post. Isn't it a kick the first time you put your own ice cream together and you realize not only how wonderful fresh ice cream is, but also that you can make any flavor you want? I felt like I had lost my virginity again, only without the humiliation and embarrassment, and with a fresh quart of ice cream. :)

So what's the next flavor on your frozen dessert list? I'm flirting with ginger ice cream, maybe, or prune and Armagnac -- sounds harsh, I know, but it's really, really gorgeous. Prunes and Armagnac are made for each other, and cream and eggs only make a good thing better.

Love your site, btw. Keep it coming.

You could buy a second mixing chamber and keep that in the freezer for emergencies. Or you could do what I did: get the DOUBLE BARRELED model. It's not often than kitchen nomenclature overlaps with that of shotguns!

Adam - Here's another question for you... How do you maintain your girlish figure with all of this delcious food?

Two sorbets in a night?

OCD much?

I had a very gratifying experience the last time I bought blood oranges. My boyfriend didn't comment when I bought the oranges, so I just assumed he was familiar with the concept of a blood orange. But when I made a tofu glaze using the juice and then stepped out of the kitchen with juice on my hands, he started freaking out. "What the hell is that all over your hands?" he cried. "Orange juice," I replied, but he had already seen the squeezed-out orange halves on the counter and was freaking out. "What the hell are those?" "Blood oranges!" I answered. "But they're...red!"

Turns out he'd never seen a blood orange before. I think maybe he thought they were just red on the outside or something. It was pretty darn entertaining, too bad I'll never get that kind of rise out of him again unless I invest in some really astounding produce.

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