Sara Foster's Casual Cooking's version:
A friend of mine recently explained to me the simple manner in which she organizes the desktop on her computer. She has a scant three main file folders, curiously titled: Food, Body, and Play. I didn’t inquire about what she puts in the latter two, but the first one, Food, isn’t for what I would have guessed (recipes, food writing, images, PDFs of take-out menus, etc.). The folder is an umbrella for everything that fuels her—creatively, spiritually, and all of the other intangible ways us humans can be fed. Isn’t this the best idea you have ever heard of? After she told me this, I checked out my desktop and counted. I have 19 file folders—randomly titled from the discouraging “unfinished” to the slightly more hopeful “friends”—and 16 loose documents, apparently un-categorizable, scattered in no particular pattern.
Don’t you now want to completely reinvent your desktop and find your own three words? If so, what would they be? I’m still working on mine, though “Unfinished” is looking more and more like a final three possibility. I bring this up because I want to share with you what’s been feeding me this week—both literally and literarily.
1. NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett. Specifically, the episode, “Words that Shimmer.” And even more specifically, this poem, which I dare you to read aloud to yourself right now.
by Gwendolyn Brooks
We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”
But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms
Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?
We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.
2. This chocolate pudding.
You know how sometimes food tastes better because you made it yourself? Well, I think this pudding tasted better because I didn’t make it. From start to finish, Matt made this one. All I had to do was eat it, gratefully and noisily—for some reason, I couldn’t eat a bite without making some weird, part-purring, part-snoring mmmm sound. Matt kept making fun of me. I laughed and then quickly resumed eat-growling. The pudding transcended spousal bickering—mmmm! It was so good.
Speaking of spousal bickering, check out what Matt bought recently via an antique online auction. Her name is Harriet. She hails from 1864. And if you have recently dined with us, she has definitely watched your every move.
Here's to being well fed!
Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding via Sara Foster's Casual Cooking
6 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate (such as Scharffen Berger or Valrhona), finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of kosher or sea salt
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 325. Place six 4-ounce ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
Melt the chocolate with 1/2 cup of the cream in the top of a double boiler over medium-low heat or in a metal bowl placed over (but not touching) simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Bring the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer until the cream is scalded (a light skin will have formed on top). Stir in the sugar and salt, remove from the heat and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Add the hot cream to the chocolate mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, return the mixture to the double boiler, and cook it over low heat (the water should be simmering), stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour the pudding into the ramekins, dividing it evenly. Cover each ramekin with foil and bake the puddings for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges are slightly firm but the centers are still soft and jiggle when you shake the pan. Uncover the puddings and place them on a rack to cool for at least 1 hour. If serving warm, dollop the whipped cream on top of the pudding; otherwise, let the puddings cool completely, then cover and refrigerate them until ready to serve. Top with the whipped ream just before serving.