I knew the world had turned upside down when I woke up one morning to an email from an absolute stranger asking if he could send me a box of chocolates. It seems I had been published in the night, as I dreamed of sailing to Algiers with a three-headed acrobat who’d escaped from a circus in Sarasota. Or perhaps it was the previous day as I was scraping chocolate off the cupboard doors and realized I’d managed to coat the entire kitchen in dark glossy brown and had an unrelenting urge to lick the kitchen clean.
It all started, it seemed, when I wrote a little piece about finding Zen in a botched up batch of chocolates and sent it off to the staff at Foodista. Next thing I knew they invited me to write a few blog posts and before I could toss a three-headed acrobat out of my bed, a stranger was offering me chocolate. And though my mother always told me not to accept candy from strangers (and come to think of it, he was Greek and bearing a gift), I do like Greeks and I do like gifts and I like life strange. So I sent him my P.O. box and figured I’d better get the blog rolling, so to speak.
Now, understand, I’m a recovering academic. Writing anything less than three hundred pages is next to impossible, much less three hundred words. But I love to tell a good story, and I’ve got a few to share. Right now the story I’d like to share is how I’m learning to make chocolates in order to save my life. You see, like millions of other people in the material world, my life has taken a bit of a tumble lately and I’ve found myself tossed to the bottom of the wishing well right when my wishes were all set to come true. These things happen.
But why chocolate you might ask. Clearly, a blog about gumbo would do just as well and it’s something I know much more about, having once been christianed The Goddess of Roux when working under the supervision of a mentally disturbed chef, one Nit Wit Vic, another series of culinary adventures I promise to write about later. Until a few months ago, I’d prepped, cooked, baked and frozen about any food I could get my hands on, but it had never in my life occurred to me that I could actually make my own chocolates, until one day it did.
The first few attempts were delicious but ugly. Horrible little brown balls that looked like, well let’s just say mud, but tasted of roses and oranges. And my early efforts at molding produced broken and speckled confections that would have made little children cry. But I glowed with pride, and my barely-teenaged daughter stifled a laugh (or not) and we shoved them into our mouths like popcorn.
After three months of playing around in the kitchen and making a mess that not even Dexter could clean up, I managed to come up with these:
I packed the boxes with Fiery Fleur de Lis, Rose-Flavored Hearts, Saffron Fans, Cinnamon Hazelnut Milk Chocolates, Lavender and Chamomile Domes, Bittersweet Pomegranate Swirls and French Rolled Rooibus Chai Milk Chocolates. I shipped the boxes off to sundry friends and long-lost relatives and hoped that they’d eat them before they grew mold.
The chocolates were remarkably easy to make, and remarkably delicious to eat. But more importantly, making them was so calming, so fascinating and so fun that I knew I had to tell the world — you can make these, too. And so I’ve made it my mission to democratize chocolates, to bring chocolate-making to the masses and do for hand-crafted chocolates what Betty Crocker’s done for cake. Or something like that. Think Martha Stewart morphed with Lucille Ball and Hunter S. Thompson and you get the picture.
And so here’s my blog. I’m going to pop in a couple of times a week and hammer out a little — or a long — tale of my adventures learning to make chocolate (and possibly other wonderful things) as I rise from the depths of despair that came of losing my job and home and a few other things. I’ll throw in some recipes, some stories, some tantrums and some laughs. Mostly laughs.
You see, you can’t make something as wonderful as chocolates without making a mess, and we all make messes of our lives or loves now and then. So here is my fun little story about what I’m learning from chocolates. I call it, Losing My Temper (and Finding My Soul): An Inspirational Tale of Chocolates Gone Wrong. So find some chocolate, click on the link and have a laugh in these troubled times. And watch for me on Foodista!