Friday, December 18, 2009

Jeannie's accidental chocolates

My Aunt Jean just died. I don't know that chocolates are the best tribute, but she loved chocolate and recipes are what I do.

When I was a young child Jean was a mythological figure. She lived in Paris with her husband and sons, she spoke french and the only photos of her I had seen showed a very fashionable woman. Geographically none of my family were close and we did not see each other often. I will never forget those rare occasions we saw one another.

I have a memory of her and in it I see very detail. I can tell you what she was wearing, how unsuitable her shoes were for the long walk we took, how her hair looked; and how enchanted I was coming face to face with my Aunt Jean.

She knew how enthralled I was and suggested we go for a walk. I poured out my young heart to her. My mother was married to a very abusive man whom I hated and Jeannie learned all of the unhappiness of my young life.

What I learned from Jeannie...I learned that none of this had anything to do with me. I was reminded how much my Mother loved me and was doing the best she could under the circumstances. I learned a bit of the adult world and how hard it was and how choices had to be made. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up...At the time it was a combination Astronaut and Veterinarian. She told me that I could be all that and more, that childhood was short, but life was long; and only a fraction of it would be spent being a child. She told me to stop hating, that if I could not love someone it was best to let them go, because they never got hurt by my hatred, but it would make me feel bad. As a result of out day together; I learned to respect my mother, honor that it was her life and as wrong as I thought she was, she always did the best she possibly could by her children. As a kid you are defined by family and those relationships, but I began to see who I was separate; and imagine myself grown up and happy in the larger world.

When we returned my mother noticed I was happier and for years we referred to Jean and our walk. Most of our relationship after that was via long handwritten letters and phone calls. In my entire life I only saw her two more times.

Jean loved chocolate, we had that in common and I melted a big pan of dark in anticipation of making some form of candy. When you are distracted and sad, melt chocolate, it's very comforting.

I rooted around in the refrigerator looking for something to inspire me and I found some prunes that I had put to soak in Cassis about a week ago. I could not remember for what I had originally intended them so I pulled their plump bodies out of the Cassis dried them on a rack and stuffed them with roasted almonds. One by one I dipped those succulent plums into the chocolate.

They were incredible and the best I can do.

Jeannie's Accidental Chocolates

24 Prunes soaked in 2 cups of Cassis (French Cassis of course)
24 Roasted Almonds
1/2 pound of Dark Chocolate melted

Soak prunes in Cassis for a week or so, remove and dry on a baking rack in the refrigerator. Stuff each prune with an almond (or a cashew for that matter) and one by one dip in the chocolate. Refrigerate on a parchment lined baking sheet until fully chilled. Eat or store to serve later.

While eating call up someone you love and tell them so. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your dear aunt.