Today is The Beloved’s birthday. So first, The Birthday Poem:
Today is a birthday;
I wonder for whom?
I think it’s for someone right here in this room!
So look aaaalllll around you for somebody who
Is laughing and smiling–my goodness, it’s You!
A college friend, Becky from Maine, taught me that. She also said “wicked” a lot. Now, I call my friends and “give them the poem” (not to be confused with giving them the finger) on their birthdays. Many of them say that it’s not their birthday until they get the poem. Maybe they’re just being nice, but I like to think it’s true.
Happy Birthday, Beloved Husband–best friend, best man in the world.
Did I tell you guys that, right around the time I decided to go to culinary school, The Beloved decided that he no longer had a sweet tooth? The Beloved sometimes has a perverse streak. All of my school projects went to his office, and I have never heard so much whining as I did when I graduated and their pastry source dried up. Waa.
There is one Pastry Treat that The Beloved still craves, and that’s chocolate. So, in celebration of The Beloved’s Birthday, I present my Paean to Chocolate, with apologies to Beethoven.
Sung more or less to the tune of Ode to Joy.
Chocolate, chocolate, I adore thee
Theobroma; food of gods.
Cocoa butter, chocolate liquor
Coaxed from a fermented pod.
Forrest Mars made M&Ms candies that
Melt in your mouth not in your hands.
Chocolate in temper needs no coating
Shiny on its own it stands.
Chocolate, chocolate we adore thee
Milk and dark and semi-sweet.
Conching til smooth and adding sugar
Bitter to mellow, it’s quite the feat.
Melting slowly, pleasing the palate,
Now may I have some, pretty please?
Cake or ganache or mousse or candies
It makes me weak in the knees.
Perhaps not my best effort, but at least I am sincere. If you’d care to add a verse to the paean, I’d love to hear it.
Over the years, The Beloved has gotten a Special Cake on his birthday. Almost every year, he has chosen something from Marcel Desaulniers. Why? Because Marcel is a Chocolate Wizard. Plus, he is a little bit naughty. In the forward to one of his books, he likens Hershey’s Kisses to a woman’s nipples. Go, Marcel. As I have progressed along the road to automaticity, I have relied less and less on standard, multi-part recipes. As I said yesterday, special desserts are edible Legos. I now ask him, “What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?” and he will answer something along the lines of, “something with chocolate and hazelnut. Some chewy and some crunchy.” Then, I put together a layer cake with hazelnut butter with a hazelnut dacquoise layer buried inside all iced with a Nutella buttercream.
I think I may have some pictures of some of the cakes I have made for him over the years. Let me go check. Yup–I found a couple.
Tonight, I am taking him to Bonefish Grill. He is a big Seafood Person, and I am Not, so he rarely gets to enjoy goodness from the sea. He is very excited, and I hear they have steak there, so I’m pretty excited, too. Oh, and the cake for this year? I think it’s going to be a pie with no chocolate in it whatsoever. Go figure–The Beloved can be quixotic. I guess I will make it on the weekend, to celebrate what Chris tells me is “Pi Day,” March 14. 3.14. Math humor.