by Avery on March 1, 2011

Musical pairing – Days Like This by Over The Rhine

I wouldn’t call myself the most spontaneous of people. I tend to plan more than I act on impulse, I (generally…) finish my schoolwork on time, and often I find the idea of “playing it by ear” more stressful than relaxing. So I’m not precisely sure how I found myself sitting in a chair at my friend’s house a few weekends ago while she applied purple dye to a strip of my hair.

Perhaps it was a response to the stresses of schoolwork, perhaps it was an expression of youthful rebellion, but in the end I like to think that the idea of purple hair dye arose more from a desire to inject a little color into my life. Between the omnipresent gray skies and the numbing sound of the falling rain (not to mention a nasty bout of the flu) I’d been starting to understand all too well where the phrase “under the weather” came from. So why not dye a bit of my hair a nice shade of lavender?

But hair-dyeing can be an exhausting business without a little sustenance, not to mention the fact that I think college kids live in a state of constant hunger anyway. Furthermore, my friend has a kitchen and—let’s be frank—the sight of pots, pans, and a stove is way more exciting to me, after months of dorm-life, than purple hair.

So as the dye set, we made pudding. A simple dish, but also a surprisingly luxurious one. Something about the lush swoosh of milk and butter as they’re stirred in the saucepan, not to mention the alchemy of the mixture’s slow thickening, conspires to make the seven-ingredient dish feel like one fit for royalty.

And then there was the lavender. The color already seemed to be the theme of the day, so when my friend presented a bottle of lavender extract it just seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. We added a few drops each of lavender, rose, and vanilla extract to the silky mixture, divided it into teacups, and let it chill in the refrigerator while we washed out the hair dye. Half an hour later and a purple stripe the more colorful, we settled down to a cool cupful of pudding each. Between the smooth consistency and the delicate flavor of the extracts, it felt like the most elegant snack we’d ever had, and the perfect addition to the slate of spontaneous, lavender-tinted activities that made it a true college weekend to remember.

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