I sit here, twiddling, trying to think of the meals that have taken the longest to prepare. As if that is some measurement to use for the final experience. “What’s that, grandma? 8 hours you say? Well the chicken is a little dry.”
Manners have improved, skins thicker, voices sweeter. Grandma still don’t give a shit. Eat it and share the love, or you can just sit out. What is it she says?
“Para los pobres – frijoles.”
No beans about it, times are a little different now for her grandchildren. Rather than giving her the title of great-grandma, I’m busy making little pieces of shit chocolate rather than just, well, you know. My cousin has that covered anyhow. Where were we…
A wry smile at the ready. What will the guests think and how will it affect my self esteem? Or perhaps it will boost my ego. A smile so big as I’m left to do the dishes alone. “It’s alright, as long as you enjoyed it. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks.” But, in the end, I enjoy the process enough that it is its own reward.
What the hell am I talking about? This is chocolate for friends. They’ll lie to me and say they like it no matter what. Every one lies, especially at Christmas. Ho ho ho. Pity the caroler without accompaniment, but never you worry, this chocolate does come with a partner.
Speaking about lies, here’s one for ya: for a few months, back in college, I had a co-worker call me Paul. It was the morning shift so I was too tired to correct him the first time he called me by that name. And then I just didn’t bother to ever correct him. “What did it really matter?”, I asked myself, I’ve been called worse things in my life.
Like, Robert, for example.
Our paths only ever crossed at the work place, and one of us was bound to graduate at some point. I figured I could hold out long enough. Maybe find another job. I don’t recall if he was more upset or embarrassed once he realized what he had been doing. It didn’t help that it was our other co-workers that corrected him and continued to mock him. Was it so wrong? Would you consider it a white lie? Or some twisted passive-aggressive joke? I have been known to unconsciously joke around.
Would he enjoy my chocolates? Hell, what was his name….
Creams. Creme? Cream. Or is it just failed frostings? I don’t know. Butter. Sugar. Flavors. More sugar. A good arm and the grit to mix by hand. (But how I pray for a mixer some day (and that someone gifts me it because then that would be the true meaning of friendship/love/paying back a really big favor)). At this point, the bottle is near empty so I can’t keep track of what I have done or yet to do. Ah, the camera will remember for me. But have you tried tempering chocolate? There is no time to do anything else! And once it is tempered, you have but fleeting moments to make your molds before you are mocked by time itself. Whoops, you took too long. Work your chocolate once again. You stand silently over your bowl, stirring, wanting for a few marshmallows and graham crackers. And now? Well, now I have frosting and chocolate on my camera, hands… the floor…
And it’s on the walls!
Bah, it’s wallpaper (except that the next morning I will have realized that – it is not paper). This one time, as a child, I ate one of those solid chocolate Easter bunnies. But this was a cookies and cream (creme?) fella. Gnawed on that for at least a week. I doubt I could have ever had a regular chocolate bunny of that sort. My young self was too cool for simple milk chocolate of questionable quality. But add in a simple extra? Candy shell? Mysterious peanut butter? Nougat? Yes, yes, oh yes. Give me those texture combinations. But present me, presently? Well, no, I’m sensible. Solid bunnies are not my thing anymore. Also my taste for white chocolate has dwindled. Strange.
Now I prefer dark chocolate. Less sweet, more bitter. Life has schooled me well. Ah, adulthood, keep it coming. Oh, but let’s add some heat. Cause sometimes we need to wink back at life with a bleeding smile.
The floral fruitiness of the habanero makes it quite the guest in a sweet treat. And the surprise it brings with it, hah, eater beware. It will be the favorite, I suspect. Take a bite, experiencing the satisfying snap of the chocolate shell, giving way to the freshly sweet cream (creme?) within. A moment to savor, “not bad, kinda good”, and before the next bite finishes off the little guy – “oh what’s that?” It’s faint at first, but then familiar. And then it lingers, making you question whether you should have another. But you will. (They always do.) Just a little heat for my sweets.
Well, they’re not pretty, but it is my first time making them. I sure hope my friends like these.