How much do your really know about flan? Do you know that flan has a long and glorious history? Do you know that the history of Western Civilization is, in fact, the history of flan? It's true. Flan dates back to the Roman Empire, where it had more of a savory feel. Often, it was flavored with eels. I know what you're thinking: eel flan? How did that ever die out? Well, as in so many things, you can thank the Spanish. That's right, the people who first added sugar to chocolate also realized that a little tinkering with the recipe could change a watery eel pudding into a deliciously creamy and sweet custard. And, in exchange for the South American cacao beans that would change European history forever, Latin Americans got flan, which would change their history forever. Thus it is that, now, flan is usually considered a Latin American confection.
So far, so good. So what's the problem? First of all, there is the issue of bad flan itself. In these difficult, trying times, when one in ten Americans is out of work and more and more people would like to drown their sorrows in sugar and fat, bad flan makes all flan look bad. Bad flan is watery and spongy, and it tastes a little like a sponge, too. Good flan is thick and rich and it makes you think of rainbows and happy trees. But good flan is hard to make, and thus most people never experience it. Nonetheless, in a world where people willingly eat pies out of boxes, flan could easily survive mediocrity.
What flan may not survive, is its name. The word flan itself is the biggest problem facing the future of this delicate and sophisticated dessert. Who wants to eat something that sounds so strikingly like phlegm? Flan. Phlegm. Flan. Phlegm. Flan. Phlegm. It just doesn't play in Peoria. My sources tell me that in England, where everything sounds better, flan rhymes with plan. Flan. Plan. Flan. Plan. Flan. Plan. It's really not much better, is it? It sounds like a box on your income tax forms. (Check box flan A if your house is now worth less than you paid for it.)
I say flan needs a whole rebranding, remarketing, repositioning strategy. And, of course, it needs a new name. How about: creme flanee? butterflan pudding? Flantini? Or my favorite, Obamaflan?
In addition to rebranding flan, I also advocate a guerrilla marketing campaign in which we entirely revamp the word flan itself by getting "cool" people to insert flan into words with more positive associations. For example, how great would it be if Altadena Hiker blogged about her "flantastic" banana tree. And what if Susan Carrier and Restless Chef posted a "flanalicious" recipe? How great would that be? Or, I should say, how flandango would that be? Change the connotations of words and you change history itself. Trust me people. I have a Phd in history. I know what I'm talking about.
It is within our hands to make a difference in this world. We can save flantabulous Obamaflan.
Yes we can.