Label Jars, Not People

By Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

What’s the difference between a tart and a torte?

For that matter, what’s the difference between torte-with-an-e and tort-without-an-e? Are they all edible?

Let’s see if we can straighten out the confusion.

A tart is an open pastry containing a filling. A torte is a multi-layered cake-like confection. They’re both edible (and extremely tasty—see recipe for Lemon Almond Tart below).

Tort is a legal term referring to a wrongful act or infringement of a right. You could try to eat the paper a tort was described on, but I wouldn’t recommend it!

But we’re not quite finished unpacking the meanings of these similar-sounding words.

A tart can also refer to a promiscuous woman: one who has had many sexual partners. A woman others would look down on. A woman polite society might consider to be “loose.”

But we should be careful before we slap anyone with a label such as this. We never know how God might use them.

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The Best Fire Protection

Baked Alaska dessert set alight. Image by Vxla on Flickr. CC BY-2.0

Baked Alaska is one of those desserts that seems like it will end in disaster.

This dessert involves covering a core of ice cream and cake with meringue and baking it at 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit. Really.

Who puts ice cream in a hot oven anyway?

Surely it will result in a melted mess, and you’ll be spending the next hour resentfully scrubbing out your oven.

But Baked Alaska will surprise and amaze you.

When you take this dessert out of the oven after a few minutes, you find that the meringue has cooked and slightly browned, but the ice cream underneath it is still cold and has retained its firm shape. The ice cream inside the “igloo” has remained untouched by the intense heat.

It seems miraculous, because you’d think that ice cream would melt when it came anywhere near temperatures that high. It’s not actually a miracle, however, but rather a clever application of physics. The dessert was invented in the 1800s by American physicist Benjamin Thompson, who was investigating the insulating properties of whipped egg whites.

If you want a genuine example of miraculous protection from a hot oven, you need to go the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.

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