This is why I refused to die

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.

~ Peter Gethers, My Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life 


Photo: Mary Mary Culinary with Croquembouche (Caramel glazed pate a choux filled with passion fruit curd and vanilla pastry cream)

When Is It OK to Eat Chocolate? (About all the bloody time)

truffle-chocolate

Excerpts from Ellen Byron and Tanya Rivero discussing “When Is It OK to Eat Chocolate?” (along with DK’s reality check):

  • Really, it is OK to eat chocolate if it’s the fancy stuff. That’s what we’re telling ourselves. (DK: Not sure I’m telling myself exactly this…I am repeating, “it’s ok, DK, it’s ok, go ahead. It’s ok to eat 4 pieces in one sitting.)
  • Nearly half of chocolate eaters say they look for premium ingredients…they say that’s their health-permissibility factor. (DK: More health research that will be overturned in 10 years. Margarine over butter anyone?)
  • There’s no point in going to a gym and then downing a huge bar of cheap milk chocolate. There’s every point in going to a gym and then downing a small portion of a nice, deep chocolate. (DK: Come on. There’s every point in downing a huge bar of any kind of chocolate and then ‘thinking’ about going to the gym.)
  • Offering portion control also helps chocolate eaters feel good… (DK: Who feels good with portion control? Who? Introduce me to that human.)
  • Lindt’s Excellence bars, which are wrapped in foil and white cardboard, are designed for a “ritualistic” experience. “Consumers take care to rip the foil gently, then break a square off, then roll the foil back up…It’s meant to withstand that type of consumption where you might eat one square or two squares a day. (DK: Ritualistic? Yes, like Human Sacrifice. One or two squares a day? Laughable.)
  • New $7 chocolate bars from Godiva have indented squares that fit a thumb so eaters can snap off one bite at a time. ‘People love to have a bar of chocolate tucked away in their brief case, backpack or purse. (DK: Who can keep chocolate tucked away for more than three minutes anywhere, and especially in a brief case or purse? Who? As to indented squares to enable portion control? Ha! That’s just for better gripping a $7 Godiva morsel so it doesn’t hit the ground while you are shoveling…)
  • The relatively small amount of sugar in a piece of premium chocolate from Godiva doesn’t worry consumers the way other sweets might. “Having a small bit of chocolate isn’t the thing that’s going to kill you.” (DK: Totally right. Expensive Godiva Chocolate is totally exempt from the ills of sugar addiction – absolutely!)
  • Ms. Choma avoids buying large bars for her daily chocolate treat, fearing she’ll eat too much in one sitting. Instead (she) keeps individually wrapped chocolate truffles in her pantry. “It’s just the right size, so you don’t feel guilty,” she says. She’s mindful of antioxidants and other health benefits of chocolate, but mostly focuses on how much she likes the taste. “That’s my brain benefit,” she says. (DK: There’s a lot to digest here. But let’s just jump on the close.  Antioxidants? Goobledygook.  Brain benefit? Ho! Really?!?)
  • “We see people looking for little rewards all the time.” (DK: And we deserve it!)

Photo: Joann Hofer from XchocolArt in Carmel, Indiana with Blueberry Truffle Christmas Gift Organic Chocolate made with Blueberries, cream and luscious chocolate. (Source: Etsy.com)

What was the last time someone’s touch made you quiver with delight?

chocolate

  • Amstell: What was the last time someone’s touch made you quiver with delight?
  • Björk: I ate a piece of chocolate on the way here… Does that count….? That was a good chocolate.
  • Amstell: …Okay….I’d rather it be someone who touched you…. and that made you quiver.
  • Björk: …It can’t be chocolate? It has to be a person?
  • Amstell: *sighs* …Ideally.
  • Björk: I’m just trying to learn the rules of the game.

~ Simon Amstell interviews Björk. Full interview here: Popworld interviews Björk


Notes:

 

Breakfast!

orange-mandarin


Source: alinellaaa with Mandarin Orange

 

 

Come on. 30 seconds minimum.

cookie-drop-edible-funny


Source: NY Times Magazine. At What Point Does a Dropped Cooke Become Inedible?

 

me me me me me me

chocolate-chip-cookies

A couple of years ago my sister Judy and I were each given a box of truffles. The tiny print said two pieces contained 310 calories and there were six pieces in each box. We were seating in the bus heading downtown, quietly downing our calculations.  Judy was dividing by two and I was multiplying by three.  When she realized what I was doing, a look came over her face that was hard to describe. “I lost all hope for you,” she says now. The difference between us could not have been more clearly defined at that moment.  There are people who can eat one piece of chocolate, one piece of cake, drink one glass of wine.  There are even people who smoke one or two cigarettes a week. And then there are people for whom one of anything is not even an option.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


Photo: jaimejustelaphoto

 

Belly Up: Tiramisu pistache au café sucré


Thank you Eclecticity Light. Don’t miss other wonders at Eclecticity Light including The Best Thing For Being Sad.

It’s hot. It’s time.

creamsicle-ice-cream-art

chocolate-vanilla-ice-cream-art

“Pennsylvania native Oriana Kacicek, 29, spent her early years in a nurturing environment of great art, dance, music and literature. Inspired and encouraged by her mother, also a painter, she began painting and drawing at the age of one and continued the practice throughout her teenage years. Influenced by the light and color of the European Impressionist and Dutch painters, Oriana’s hyper-realist style is infused with wit and energy. “I’ve discovered that all art forms are fundamentally the same; they are about revealing truth and beauty, demand the utmost in time and attention, and must be grounded in good technique. I aspire to create paintings that are full of joy, color and light.” (Source: Oriana Kacicek)


Source: My Modern Met

 

Miracle? All of it. 

bee-hive-pollen-plants-nature

“The various colors of pollen in a honey bee nest or hive indicate different source plant species.”


Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Source: Alex Wild Photography via Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

No doubt. I’m an addict.

gingerbread,cookie

Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive by James DiNicolantonio & Sean Lucan:

  • Sugar is everywhere. It is celebration, it is festivity, it is love.
  • It’s also dangerous. In a recent study, we showed that sugar, perhaps more than salt, contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease. Evidence is growing, too, that eating too much sugar can lead to fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.
  • Yet people can’t resist. And the reason for that is pretty simple. Sugar is addictive. And we don’t mean addictive in that way that people talk about delicious foods. We mean addictive, literally, in the same way as drugs.
  • Up until just a few hundred years ago, concentrated sugars were essentially absent from the human diet — besides, perhaps, the fortuitous find of small quantities of wild honey.
  • Today added sugar is everywhere, used in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods purchased in the United States. The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day. If you consider that the added sugar in a single can of soda might be more than most people would have consumed in an entire year, just a few hundred years ago, you get a sense of how dramatically our environment has changed. The sweet craving that once offered a survival advantage now works against us.
  • Whereas natural sugar sources like whole fruits and vegetables are generally not very concentrated because the sweetness is buffered by water, fiber and other constituents, modern industrial sugar sources are unnaturally potent and quickly provide a big hit.
  • Substance use disorders…exist when at least two to three symptoms from a list of 11 are present…sugar produces at least three symptoms consistent with substance abuse and dependence: cravings, tolerance and withdrawal. Other druglike properties of sugar include (but are not limited to) cross-sensitization, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward, opioid effects and other neurochemical changes in the brain.
  • In animal studies, animals experience sugar like a drug and can become sugar-addicted. One study has shown that if given the choice, rats will choose sugar over cocaine in lab settings because the reward is greater; the “high” is more pleasurable.

Read full op-ed NY Times article here: Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive


Notes: The recipe for the caramel stuffed soft gingerbread cookies in the photograph can be found here: Fabtasticeats.com.

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