Toward the end of the evening, Dominick ceremoniously brought out his glorious special dessert, which he makes every year for the party, a mound of croquembouche: pastry cream–stuffed profiteroles piled high into a cone-like mound and linked with crunchy strands of caramel. My mother was the only other person I knew who ever made them (every Halloween, while most kids got Snickers and jelly beans from the neighbors, my mom made croquembouche, and that’s what she passed out to the small ghosts and princesses and aliens who knocked on her apartment door). As Dominick approached with the tray, my mom took one of the doughy balls very carefully with her left hand—her right hand and most of her right side were basically still useless at this point—and bit into it. I remember the look on her face as the taste resonated, and I watched her lick a dab of the custard that had settled on her upper lip. Our eyes met and, although she didn’t utter a word, I knew what she was saying to me: This is why I refused to die.
Home at last, I haul in the grocery bags, swallow a couple of extra-strength Tylenol, put the entire Van Morrison play list on the stereo, and spend the afternoon roasting vegetables and making pasta sauce, salad, and a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Outside, the rain comes down in sheets. I am singing “Days Like This,” belting out the song. The kitchen fills with good smells.
~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
Notes: Related posts: Katrina Kenison
There are few perfect things in this world, and one of them is your common everyday pound of butter, cool in its box, printed in blues and greens with pleasant images – a farm, a farmer, a cow at a fence – and divided into quarters wrapped in immaculate paper as neatly tucked and folded as a soldier’s bunk, each section as easy to slide in and out as if riding on soundless rollers, like drawers in a filing cabinet, two two-drawer cabinets placed side by side, the files packed in manila, clean and fresh, with evenly spaced dividers arranged by a tablespoon. To press it to your cheek and then, with a fingernail, to carefully lift the triangular folds at each end, one end at a time, and then, without tearing the paper, to open the final flap and find there butter, yellow, pure, and flawless, too good to be true.
Photo: Rose Water & Orange Blossoms
Did you know that the United States has more than 175 days to celebrate the awareness of food or drink? And, per Wiki’s List of Food Days, 14 of them, including today, are dedicated to the awareness of CHOCOLATE? Here’s the line-up for Chocolate Days:
- Jan 03: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
- Jan 27: National Chocolate Cake Day
- Jun 16: National (Chocolate) Fudge Day
- Jun 26: National Chocolate Pudding Day
- Jul 03: National Chocolate Wafer Day
- Jul 08: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
- Jul 25: National Hot (Chocolate) Fudge Sundae Day
- Jul 28: National Milk Chocolate Day
- Oct 28: National Chocolate Day
- Nov 07: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
- Nov 29: National Chocolates Day
- Nov 30: National (Chocolate) Mousse Day
- Dec 04: National (Chocolate Chip) Cookie Day
- Dec 08: Naitonal (Chocolate) Brownie Day
So, go ahead and celebrate today. Change it up this morning. Think Chocolate. Instead of your cup-a-joe, grab 1 or 3 or 5 pieces of my favorite chocolate combos: Coffee & Roasted Almonds Chocolate Bark (above) made by Foodhearts.com.
Thank you Lorne
If you love making bread; love the smell of bread baking in the oven and filling every nook and cranny in your house and lungs; and then love eating freshly baked bread, do yourself a favor a read this article by Sam Lief…a few excerpts:
- Treat yourself. Put your nose in and smell the sour, yeasty draught. Inspect the slow bubbles with approval.
- It’s the consistency of thick batter, this leaven. Flour, salt, water will follow. With one hand, you start to mix — palm passing through the cool flour, fingertips deep in sticky leaven, which squidges back through the gaps between your fingers as you close your hand around it. Soon a wet glob of dough adheres to your hand. With your clean hand you smear a dollop of sunflower oil on the kitchen surface and, deftly as you can, you knead the dough on this, keeping it moving so it doesn’t stick. Somehow, you bring it to a rough ball — scraping it off your hands as you go – then you oil the mixing bowl, place the dough there and cover it with clingfilm.
- If you’re like me, you’ll then watch it through the oven window — anxious, like the parent of that young baby watching, through glass, as it undergoes an operation. Oven-spring is what you’re looking for: the yeast doing its thing, lifting and slightly scalloping the edges of the loaf at the bottom, puffing the top, easing open that slash you made — the yeast offering up a last great burst of energy in the rising warmth, never more alive than just before the heat kills it.
- No other form of cookery, to me, is as profoundly satisfying as the baking of sourdough bread. I know that I’m not alone. There are a lot of bread-heads about, and disproportionately, these bread-heads seem to be men. It’s men who get really excited about bread, its nuts and bolts, its existential appeal.
- …a prime attraction is that I really, really like to eat bread. As a last meal, I would probably be happy with bread and butter — assuming the bread was an absolutely shit-hot sourdough, just sliced; or something beery and malted and tangy with rye, slathered with proper French butter with salt crystals in it (unsalted butter is an ingredient for cooking, not a foodstuff for eating). Lots of women — thanks to the body-fascism of the ambient patriarchal discourse, obviously — regard bread with suspicion. ‘Empty carbs,’ says my wife (when she’s not scoffing it). ‘Staff of life,’ say I.
- Once it’s giving off that superb boozy smell and bubbling away evilly, it can live forever
Source: Aeon Magazine