Saturday, June 1

Lipstick on Pigs {Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches}

"Why don't you weigh 300 pounds?

He meant it as a compliment, but it wasn't terribly graceful for a number of reasons - one of which being the fact that he'd said it after setting his hand solidly over my knee. He knew I baked because he's a friend of a friend, and I know he meant no harm, but the poor little guy had clearly had a too much to drink and it was causing him to word vomit all over my lap.

The unfortunate thing was that the topic he chose to explore was my body, and I was having a hard time putting up with it.

To begin, I have never been in shape in my life. I got called "fat" and "ugly" more times than I could count in school, and I was treated as you'd expect. When I was unlucky enough to end up in gym class without any of my friends, I was always - and I'm not exaggerating - "picked" last. I'd buddy up with the other outcasts and we'd be "ugly" and "fat" together, wishing with all of our misled pubescent hearts that we were skinny and pretty like everyone else.

The signs aren't so hard to pick up on. Slowly you realize that maybe it's best if you don't speak, so no one can make fun of what you say. You learn to sit in the back of the class - away from the doors - so you're not an easy target when your peers come in. You stop answering your teachers' questions, you eat lunch in the yearbook room, and through all of it, you internalize, maybe subconsciously and maybe not, that you're worthless; except maybe for providing entertainment for everyone who is just better than you.

I had my close friends and people who cared about me, but I got told once, by one of them, that I would be a lot prettier if I could just lose some weight.

It damn near killed me.

I thought my friends were different. I thought that was why we were friends - because they didn't care and thought I was still an ok person, even if I was - GASP - fat. To be looked down upon with such a critical eye by someone that I thought I was close to was so painful and disturbing that I wasn't really sure how to react.

So I let it get to me.

If one friend felt this way, might the others, too? They, the few people that I trusted, were all I had in the halls of my school, but I was suddenly afraid of everyone. For years, I felt that each person I encountered hated me, and I aimed to live an invisible life. If the people that actually liked and knew me couldn't see past my exterior, how could a stranger be expected to? What was wrong with me?

Fast forward a bit, and the years saw to redistributed the weight. I made it out of high school alive, and I lost all commonality and touch with the assholes who took it upon themselves to put me down on a daily basis. I got out in the real world and realized that most people are well-adjusted enough to keep to themselves, largely for the fact that they have more important things to do than concern themselves with the size of my pants - or my nose.

But still, the world taught me to present myself in a different light. I worked hard to clear up my acne. I started dressing better. I learned how to do my hair. I started wearing makeup. I lost some weight simply due to the fact that I had to start walking to class instead of driving. Shockingly, even though I'm the same fat ugly person I always was on the inside, people started to treat me better.

And it sucks.

It sucks because having been deemed "horridly ugly" in the past dictated so much of who I was, went on to be, and am - just because people care too much about something as moronic as what other people look like. 

It sucks because I have been judged and treated like garbage, and I still see and hear people doing the same thing to others today.

It sucks because I got burned so bad in regards to my appearance in the past that I have a hard time reacting positively when someone makes a "complimentary" comment about the way I look, because it shouldn't matter.

Maybe I would feel different if I worked out or if I made a huge effort to look any certain kind of way. If I had worked hard to get a six pack or something, then yeah, maybe I'd want people to recognize my diligence. But I don't. And I haven't. And I won't.

Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, it really isn't your business what someone else looks like. My weight has never had anything to do with my value, and it never will. It frustrates me now to look back and realize that the whole time I was miserable and broken up about being "too fat" or "too ugly," it was really just because I was too afraid to recognize the fact that I was, to be blunt, a pretty fucking awesome person, and it was all the assholes that had problems and needed to change.

I won't have children for a long time, and this is nothing against my parents at all, but having gone through this realization makes me so eager for the chance to someday teach my own kids that they - and everyone else - are more than their bodies.

A good sense of self esteem is hard to develop. I know. I still struggle with it, to be completely honest. But it's important because it helps you to let things slide when people are being simpleminded and shallow. If a person doesn't have the mental capacity to see past your exterior and into your mind, imagine how difficult other simple things must be for them, hm?

So if you're the kind of person that thinks it's appropriate to to talk to someone about their weight or shape or anything else related the first time you meet them, then you just might be better off stuffing your face with a hamburger, some Natty, or maybe even a sip of coffee - whatever the current social situation deems appropriate. Because, think about it, if that's what you're focusing on, do you really care about the person at all?

Of course you don't.

Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches
This method of making ice cream is a little different than you may be used to, but, after a few batches, I'm beginning to think I prefer it to custard bases containing eggs. It's quick, easy, and tasty! I'll be making a lot of it this summer and I'm sure you'll see the base again soon.

Printable Recipe

Chocolate, Pistachio, and Cocoa Nib Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

8 oz milk chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp butter
2/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 eggs, room temp
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c cocoa nibs
1/4 c pistachios, chopped

Line two baking sheets and set the oven to 350F.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a small bowl. Microwave on 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, being sure to scrape down the side of the bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients, then fold in the cocoa nibs and pistachios.

Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the lined sheets about 2-3 inches apart. Bake 12-15 minutes until the cookies are shiny and crackly, but soft in the center. Cool on sheets for ten minutes.

Makes two dozen.

Pistachio Ice Cream very slightly adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

1/2 c shelled pistachios
1 1/2 oz (3 Tbsp) cream cheese, softened
2 c whole milk
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 c heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup

Put the pistachios in your food processor and grind to a very smooth paste. Pulse in the cream cheese just to combine, and scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Set aside.

Make an ice bath in a large bowl.

Pour the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup into a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil. Stirring frequently, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in the cornstarch slurry. Whisk to combine, and place over heat again. Bring back to a boil and stir constantly until thickened, about one minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the pistachio and cream cheese mixture, whisking constantly to combine. Place the bowl in the ice bath, being careful not to let any water spill in. Stir occasionally to redistribute, and place in the fridge to cool completely (I prefer overnight).

When the mixture is sufficiently chilled, pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your manufacturer's directions.


  1. This post just about broke my heart. I feel you, and everything you said resonated so much with me that it was almost too hard to read. We ARE more than our own bodies and it angers me the amount of focus we place on our outwards appearance. It angers me that we care so much about what others think and constantly compare ourselves to friends, colleagues, movie stars etc.

    This post is incredibly brave and kudos to you for saying it all. I've read your blog on and off, your recipes are wonderful and your writing is superb. Clearly you're a very talented person and I have the utmost respect for you for putting this out there. We ARE more than our bodies. We just need to remember that more often.

    Take care - great recipe btw!

    1. You're so kind - thank you! It's something I've wanted to post about for a really long time. I appreciate your feedback, and I'm glad that it resonated with you.

  2. I grew up fat (and I still am - despite my dieting attempts) and so I know whereof you speak. I only escaped the worst of your symptoms by a huge unassailable conviction that everyone I was in school with was a moron.

    I'm so sorry I didn't know you then - I have a feeling we would have been good support for each other. But it seems like you have made it through the gauntlet and having met you through your exquisite baking and communicating skills, I can't but have a very high opinion of you without every having actually seen you!

    If it helps any, there's at least one guy out there who's very jealous of your skills. @:)

    1. Marc, I wish I had come to the conclusion that everyone was a moron sooner! I'm glad you figured it out.

      Thanks, as always, for reading! You're too kind!

  3. We all have our insecurities. I wasn't overweight in high school, but I had many of the same feelings and thoughts you so eloquently express. The "popular" kids were vapid and shallow, and, I assume, have remained the same. My life is full and reflective with social conscience and care for others, which I think is due in large part to the "position" I held in high school. So, I embrace it.

    1. I'm the same way. I really appreciate that history has given me a different perspective on life and the people I meet. In some ways, it was really worth it.

  4. I completely related to this post. Growing up and seeing gorgeous, super-thin girls is really, really hard on girls emotionally, not to mention a breeding groung for eating disorders. Thanks for the fantastic post!

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I feel like I can relate to you story in so many ways. I was an emotional eater as a teenager in high school and even though I was made fun of to my face by other kids at school, my dad would call me fat on more than a few occasions and ask me how much I weigh. I lost a lot of weight while spending a year abroad by myself and I got so skinny I was almost on the verge of becoming anorexic. I was unhealthy and the saddest thing was that I started getting compliments and look from the opposite sex. People who never noticed me before seemed to like me because I was basically starving myself.
    Im back to normal eating and I gained some weight back but I think I will always have a weird relationship with food and the voice in my head teling me I should lose weight or skip a meal will probably never go away completely.

  6. I love your blog. And I've been reading it since I found you. You're so brave! You're one of the ones that is going to make it!

    I have always been an outsider. I never could make any long-term friends because my dad was in the Navy and sometimes we moved every half-year, sometimes every couple of years. I was too tall for a girl, over 6 feet. Spotty and not at all fashionable. My mother was no help. She always told me I walked like a farmer, clotting along.

    You keep on fighting! Don't give in! I am rooting for you, we are all rooting for you!

  7. Oh, this was hard for me to read. I was bullied by a group of guys in the year above me for a few months at high school - for some reason, they targeted me and would call me ugly. Oddly, they didn't do it to my face, they would just yell it out to each other when they saw me. It took me a little while to realise it was directed at me, and a little while longer to work up the courage to tell someone.

    When I did tell someone - my best friend at the time - she didn't believe me. That was the worst part about it all.

    Anyway, that was all a long time ago, and although it still haunts me to a degree - I also have trouble accepting compliments, Kaitlin - I like to believe I'm pretty much over it.

    I'm so sorry this happened to you Kaitlin, it is never okay to treat anyone like this. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us that it does get better. I'm so glad you have come through this experience so strong and so ready to do your part to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. Sending you love from Down Under xo

  8. This was a great post. Thank you.

  9. I'm on the same page as you and the other commenters- but I'm still in high school. I was overweight through most of my childhood and bullied into depression and an eating disorder that I've been fighting since 5th grade (I'm in 11th). I wish everyone in the world could read this post and realize what words can do to people.

  10. I so relate to this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing it. I was the weird girl, ugly and overweight, so I spent lunchtimes reading in the library, avoiding people. It's hard, and it's lonely, and no matter how much everyone else is a moron, I still wanted to belong to people. To have friends. I started running and losing weight past high school and I would get people at work, regular customers, who would ask me if I'd lost weight. It was the most frustrating thing because, yes, I was, but it was about getting healthier and fitter and more comfortable in my own skin. It's not for anyone else and it certainly isn't any of their business.
    Sorry for the rant but I totally understand this post and I'm so glad you wrote it. The ice cream sandwiches look divine, too.

  11. Raw, real and so so true. Thanks for posting x

  12. What a great post - I can definitely relate to everything you said - Unfortunately when you grow up like that, those voices stay with you, the ones that call you fat, ugly and worthless. I suffered from depression for many years and although I have made it well past that time in my life I struggle daily with those voices - it's a concentrated effort to not pass my insecurities onto my daughter who is growing up so fast and becoming more aware of the world around her. I hope that my experience will help me be that much more understanding if she faces the same insensitive and hurtful comments

  13. I was just looking for some pistachio ice cream (noms) and I found a blog and a post that resonates so deeply with me. I agree. I agree so whole heartedly and it breaks my heart that this happens SO often. And for those of us who HAVE had that experience of being tormented and made to feel less than (unknowingly with our consent) only to "change" and suddenly be valued for our is really jarring.

    I am however really curious what you did to clear up your acne?

  14. This was truly heartbreaking. I've been through that kind of treatment for almost 10 years, it was like reading about myself. Most of all I got furious, you really are a fantastic person. I bet you were in school as well. It got to me, I changed for others and I regret that. I was happy when I looked like I used to, but damn it I changed. I'd rather be fat and genuinely happy than somewhat smaller and severely depressed. If I could give posts an award, this post wins.
    You're fantastic, loved it!

  15. I found this site because I searched for a specific reciepe I think thats about 2-3 years ago. Ive been visiting many times and every time getting happy that one of my "fellow bakers in the world" has made something new and fantastic and inspiring. For me, I visit your site to get inspired and its your dedication to the products (sugar, cacao, baking soda and so on) that amazes me.

  16. Hi Kaitlin, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  17. I don't visit this site often, mostly bookmarked for later reading on good eats. But I just read this post and wanted to say a big THANK YOU. I have experienced much the same thing and it was so beautifully written and really got to me. It is sad to see so many of us go through the same things; and yet by knowing there are others like us out there, it may just help break the gloom.

  18. For me, it was race, and it wasn't until I was in my 30s that I could admit that fact to myself. I think it's not easy for many Asian-Americans to see that just because you don't have it anywhere as bad as African-Americans, it doesn't mean the slights don't happen—and that they don't have a (sometimes profound) effect.

    Unless an Asian girl has the Asian Barbie look—tall, leggy, long hair, not very "ethnic" features—she's usually considered ugly. Maybe that sounds like an overstatement, but it was true for me, often the only Asian or one of a handful in a class.

    When you're a girl, your looks are constantly, casually discussed. My brains and smart mouth meant I was never invisible as a person, but as a girl, I was. Being pretty IS one of the disciplines in the endurance sport that is school life. You can no more ignore it than you can not swim in a triathlon and still expect to come out with a medal.

    I made a concerted decision sometime in early high school not to care what people said about my appearance. By then, I was getting a lot of weird, mixed signals in that I was still "ugly" to peers, but grown men were hitting on me in significant numbers. It was flattering, confusing, gross, depressing—it was too much. So I made an agreement with myself: I wouldn't feel bad about the "ugly," and I wouldn't feel good about the "hot." I'd be what I was trying to be in martial arts: still as a tree, needing neither to push nor pull.

    I just turned 39, and I've been comfortable with my appearance for a long time. I still don't own makeup beyond eyeliners and nail polish, and my sense of style is much better than women who've leaned on being pretty. I've weathered super-visible bouts of bad health (rash face!) with much better grace. I shaved my head once because I felt like it.

    I do make one exception to the agreement, though. Anyone I'm sleeping with has to find me attractive. Aside from that, I say thank you to compliments and forget them as soon as I can; I skewer or shrug at the insults and forget them as soon as I can.

    And I praise my three nieces the way my mother praised me: for using and bettering their gifts.

  19. I have to say that as I read through the post I was sure I had somehow linked over to someone else's blog because I just couldn't imagine this coming from you. Granted, I have only known you/ worked with you for a short amount of time, but I have come to know you as a professional, honest, caring, classy, super smart individual who clearly has an amazing amount of skill, knowledge and compassion to bestow upon others (and this blog post is a prime example of that). I'm sure this was a difficult post to write, but I have even more respect for you now. And regardless of whether or not you grew up on the heavier side, we're called names, etc. , I think everyone has insecurities and therefore everyone can learn something from this post. Thank you Kaitlin!
    And I might try to make the pistachio ice cream this weekend!:)

  20. Don't let past hurts and perceptions define you. You are a talented baker and writer and, I miss your posts and recipes. Get back on that horse!

  21. yuo, I understand. I look back and in the pictures I see a cute girl with bloe green eyes and a pixie smile who while not skinny was nicly shaped.Family made me feel fat and think me fat ugly and them I acted it and eventuallyy was morbidly obese. I am the sum of my failed diets, but am going in to fix me so I can enjoy my life the way I should have and my health too,thanx

  22. You wrote this on my wedding day :)
    I've now been married for 3 months and still no sign or your beautiful life. Where are you!? I miss your hilarious, heart felt blogs and your delicious recipes.

  23. Absolutely loved the message in this post and 100% agree with it. A relief to read as someone on the same wavelength.

  24. Wow, what you said really impressed me! I'm 17 years old and I go to high school, where I have good friends and I'm the "nice baker" that always brings sweet things. This year I lost over 45 pounds following a diet because I was having problems with my health, and for a while I was very happy with myself, but then, and I don't know why, a boy from my class started making fun of my arms, which have always been a little bit larger, and all his jokes really made me feel bad. My sister in law (and most of the friends I told how bad I felt with myself) told me that he was stupid and I was pretty and funny and nice and I shouldn't be worried about what a school hero-life zero like him said to me. But I'm really struggling with it right now, I always feel self conscious, and every time a boy seems interesested in me I reject him, afraid that he might just be making fun of me and my "wrestler arms", like I'm told at school. I hope that one day I will just stop worring about my body and be the awesome girl that everyone tells me I am, even if I don't really understand why.
    By the way, awesome ice cream recipe, gotta make it on summer!


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