• 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Slosh of vanilla
  • 1&1/4 cups rice milk
  • Nutmeg & cloves
  • 1/3 cup more sugar

    Step One

    Pour a miniature waterfall of sugar into your frying pan on high heat. Watch as it melts and turns clear. Call your boyfriend over excitedly so he can see. Let him shake the pan and watch over it till it turns golden brown all through, so he can gain confidence in his cooking skills through this funny magic.

    Step Two

    While he's caramelizing the sugar, pick up the phone in the next room and call your girlfriend. Reassure her that you love her and you'll be over later tonight. Tempt her with flan.

    Step Three

    Rush back to the kitchen and give your proud boyfriend a big kiss as he pours the caramel sauce into the muffin tins. (because who owns individual custard cups these days anyway?)

    Step Four

    Realize you were supposed to be mixing the other ingredients all this time. Pour one and a quarter cups of rice milk into a mixing bowl.

    Further realize that wait, you can't make this vegan, there are still three eggs in it. Well, use the rice milk anyway because it's better for you, and then use that frustrated vegetarian energy to beat your three eggs in a separate little bowl. Throw them into the milk, splash some vanilla in, and shake a bunch of ground nutmeg and cloves over the whole darn thing.

    Step Five

    Stir and stir, with a fork, till it's all mixed up. As with your relationships, try to stop mixing stuff up before it gets all crazy and super-frothy-bubbly. Then help your boy reheat the sugar, which is crystallizing faster than he can pour and looks kind of silly sitting all hard and stringy at the bottom of those little muffin cups.

    Step Six

    Think about how cute he is as he struggles with the sugar, and how lucky you are to have such a sweet, creative, loving boy. Be really glad that he doesn't give up on stuff like making flan or dating you just because it gets tricky.

    Step Seven

    Push him up against the fridge and kiss him till there are refrigerator magnets stuck to the back of his neck.

    Step Eight

    Pour flan juice into each sugared tin and shove them into the preheated, three hundred twenty-five degree oven. Take a quick break to run your fingers through your boyfriend's hair. Stroke them along his smooth furry neck and play with his nipples in the three minutes you now have before you have to drive him home again.

    Step Nine

    Load him and all his overnight stuff into the car and drive him home. Kiss him some more as he goes in. Try not to make it too obvious that you're going from his arms into the arms of your other relationship.

    Take the first time to yourself you've had in a week: sit on the apartment steps for a while, staring at the concrete. Notice how dirty it is. Notice how the cracks in the sidewalk look like they were drawn with big dark grey and brown crayons, with that crooked-brushstroke look that crayons get when you sweep them across a page. Think about how nice it is to look at nothing but fading sunlight and dull simple colors for once.

    Step Ten

    Go pick up your girlfriend now. Scritch her fuzzy head and kiss her hello. Take her back to your place and whip those flans out of the oven. Poke them with a knife in the middle: if it's clean, they're done. If it's messy, they need some more heat before they come together right.

    Step Eleven

    Slide a knife around the outside edge of each little flan. Turn the muffin tray upside-down over a bowl and let the flan fall out. The caramel sauce turns out to melt in the oven, fortunately, and will pour itself over the flan. If it hasn't cooked long enough after all, the flan might slowly melt into funny goo. But that's okay: your girlfriend likes things gooey.

    Step Twelve

    Curl up with your girlfriend on the sofa, and munch some flan. Remember to save some for your boyfriend, who you made the flan for in the first place, whose mother is from Cuba. Preen over any compliments your main squeeze gives you for the desserts, and be sure to return them gallantly. Make sure she knows how much you like her.

    Step Thirteen

    Wash the dishes. Always do your clean-up, whether you are cooking or going on a date. There's nothing worse than trying to scrape dried food off a week-old plate, or trying to straighten up a relationship that's shattered over jealousy and shared sweets.

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