I’m grateful to have grown up in a home that celebrated a loving-hands-at-home aesthetic. If the expression is taken not as an absolution of mediocrity or a justification for lackluster effort, but as an appreciation of the imperfections that make something unique, it becomes very freeing. I find that I’m raising my own boys this way. We color outside the lines. Sometimes, we don’t even make lines first! We find more beauty in lack of symmetry, in less-than-clean lines. An irregularity in fabric or wood is not a flaw but an opportunity to make something distinctly lovely. By hand, with affection for the work and the object that it produces, like true amateurs. I believe this is what they now call “artisanal.”
What’s this? A chocolate cake recipe in January! Nobody wants to see that! We all want light and healthy, dammit. Well, I’m a rebel, so here it is: four layers of dense, dark chocolatey, cinnamony cake with 3 layers of light mocha-cinnamon mousse, with the whole being topped by melted bittersweet chocolate. Actually, I made this cake for my mom’s birthday back in November, but what with one thing and another, I haven’t gotten around to telling you about it yet. My mom likes not-too-sweet things, she likes dark chocolate, and she used to eat these candies called “coffee nips,” which came in a yellow and brown box. I combined these ideas to make this cake, which is dark and rich, but not too sweet. She said it was the best birthday cake she’d ever had!! Of course, it might have been a cake that only a mother could love.
Here’s Peter Tosh with Equal Rights, because my mother likes it a lot. And so do I.