She had eyes like drops of a rainbow above the blood red horizon of her beautifully arched lips. What lent this observation even more significance was the inexplicable fact that she apparently liked me!
So there I was, a beautiful, intelligent woman showing emerging signs of interest in me. In me! A physics student at MIT, master of a lab full of esoteric equipment, none of which was particularly suited to impress a woman. What was I to do?
Then two unrelated events convened and provided the dearly needed inspiration. The first one was an ice cream truck and the second one was a friend of mine, who was in line with me at the truck while complaining that in his lab he had run out of liquid nitrogen and now had to wait until the next day for replenishment.
The solution had presented itself! It was clear as daylight: I was going to invite my aspiring flame over to my lab to the best ice cream she had ever tasted. I was going to make it all by myself, in front of her very eyes, using liquid nitrogen to chill it instead of a normal freezer!
Now, you must know that liquid nitrogen has a temperature of -320 °F or -210 °C, whichever you prefer. It freezes everything it comes into contact with in a real hurry while evaporating in a mystic display of billowing clouds.
I googled a recipe for strawberry ice cream and got this online:
- 300 grams of the freshest, most delicious, ripe strawberries pureed in a blender (don’t skimp on those!)
- juice of half a lemon
- 80 g fine sugar or powdered sugar
- 150 g sweet cream
- 100 ml milk
- vanilla flavor (or real vanilla, if you have it)
I prepared everything at home and took the liquid mix to work with me. Hiding it in the lab fridge among all the other stuff was a challenge, but I just stuck a label on my ice cream mix container, saying: “Low grade radioactive waste!” It got the job done and nobody touched it until I was the only one left in the lab.
I had cleared the lab desk from all the clutter and put two freshly washed beakers on it, along with two long spoons and a candle. Pulled out all the stops and even dimmed the light. As 6 o’clock was rolling around, I got a bit nervous. Was she going to stand me up? Was the ice cream going to make an impression? Was I going to be able to make an impression?
It wasn’t long after 6 that my date arrived. The sight of her made my knees go weak — short dress, high heels, vampire red lipstick, the works. But I knew what to do. I took the dish of ice cream mix out of the fridge and then poured some liquid nitrogen from a special thermos into the ice cream base with a flourish. Huge clouds of mist started billowing, it was hissing and sputtering, and I was stirring and stirring, all the while putting on a more confident smile than I actually felt I had reason to.
After a minute or two of all that stirring, billowing and hissing, the nitrogen had evaporated and the mists had cleared, leaving behind a pink dream of strawberry ice cream. Feeling like the alchemist who had succeeded at turning stuff into gold, I spooned some of it onto our beakers and joined her at the desk.
“What? You really expect me to eat that?” she asked with big, incredulous eyes.
So I went first and put a spoon full of the pink matter in my mouth. Guys, you won’t believe it until you’ve tasted it. This was the smoothest, strawberriest ice cream I had ever tasted. Nothing, like, really nothing, could touch the taste and texture of it. To say it was the best ice cream ever would be a gross understatement.
I guess my exuberance must have showed, and also the fact that I continued to live and breathe, because she followed suit and tried a tiny specimen.
And that was the moment our relationship started.
It ended, months later, for reasons not at all related to ice cream or liquid nitrogen.
A warning at the end: liquid nitrogen can seriously hurt you in many ways, if handled improperly. I do NOT advise you try this unless you have some knowledge and training in its handling.
Here is a video clip showing you some cool stuff you can do with liquid nitrogen: