I wouldn’t say I’m a food snob….necessarily…..but I do love a good meal. And when I find something I like, I tend to make it often. Luckily, the professor and his boy-children are equally enthused about my current favorite: marinated flank steak, grilled peppers, pureed seasoned black beans, basmati rice mixed with chopped cilantro, homemade guacamole, and salsa verde. (With, or without tortillas, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and cheese.)
It does take some time to prepare, however. So when you walk through the door at 1pm on a Sunday, with starving, cranky children in tow, it’s probably not a good time to make a lunch that will take an hour. At least. It’s also not a good time to use your chicken-fat-covered broiler. Which will burst into flames when heat and grease collide. And fill your kitchen with smoke. All while you dole out heart-shaped sugar-laden candies to your starving spawn. Because that will keep them from pestering you.
‘I need you to buy me a box of chocolates,’ I told the professor earlier in the day. ‘It’s not Valentine’s Day,’ he refused. ‘I know, but I need it for my daily love,’ I told him, yet he was adamant in his refusal.
But is there anything more delightful than a lidded cardboard box containing decent, filled chocolates? Valentine’s Day may be tacky or over-commercialized or whatever the cynics call it, but it’s the holiday of flowers and chocolates. What more could a person want?! Who cares if the sentiment is forced/dictated by the calendar? Anniversaries are, too.
The professor and I visited Paris in May 2000. I’d done plenty of chocolate and pastry research before our arrival, and had learned on some of the foodie websites, that a visit to La Maison du Chocolat might be life-altering. Or at least budget altering. So we went and the chocolates were delicious, even if the snooty saleswoman corrected my high school French. I left with a beautiful brown box of ganache-filled chocolates, and dedicated the next six years of my life to collecting as any lovely brown boxes as possible. Whenever I heard of anyone going to Paris (or London or New York) I handed them a list containing the names of my favorites (Figaro, Liselotte, Caracas, Boheme, Romeo, Othello, Bresilien, Rigoletto) and a chunk of change.
I think I’ve had at least five ‘mules’ over the years; people kind enough to stop at a shop during their travels and squeeze un coffret in their overstuffed suitcases upon return. So I can consume it in an embarrassingly short time.
But, that was so…..2006. Now that I have three boy-children to feed, I’m eating Russell Stover: the tiny, 2 oz box. Once a year.
thanks to Erica for letting me photograph her chocolates, for free