Thursday, July 1, 2010

A nuttiness all our own: Chocolate Surprise

The suprise is kind of about the nuts. No, actually it is all about the nuts. The collectivity of family gatherings spawns laughter and nuttiness unique to the gene pools and years of traditions which we claim as ours. This past week was my daughter's wedding, a lovely celebration of love and commitment. We were so lucky to have so much family around which made it all the more memorable. We ate, laughed, danced, took walks, and shared memories. We also made a few new memories.

In anticipation of my family's arrival I pored over the pages of grandma's cookbook for a recipe that would be light, sweet, and welcoming. I found "Chocolate Surprise." Always game for a surprise, I thought I'd try it. I like it, no surprise as almost anything chocolate is a friend of mine. It contains nuts and graham cracker crumbs. It is easy to make and it gets quite thick rather quickly. It is somewhere between pudding and mousse. I ventured to guess that my brother, Karl, himself rather nuts in the very best way possible, would like it. And he did.

Families are wonderful and it is the nutty times we treasure. Anne Lamott, commenting on family times, said that "things go wrong every time we visit. But more things go right.' I love that. So, over the course of events I pledged to enjoy the unique nuttiness of each family member and to let my own special brand of nuttiness show. I vowed to realize that it can be good and fun to be together if not perfect or spotless or completely organized. Each person is a gift and each so surprisingly special. The amalgam of Herr/ Awe/ Vogts/ McElhiney/ Metcalf is ours now and we treasure them every one. I am deeply greatful to be part of a clan that celebrates, laughs, and remembers that we are all of us, connected, to each other and to the world.

Chocolate Surprise
1 cup sugar
3 T cocoa
3 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
3 T butter
6 graham crackers
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt.
Add mixture to beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.
Add to scalded milk and cook until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla, graham cracker crumbs, and chopped nuts.
Chill until firm.
Serve with whipped cream.

This recipe was adapted from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950)

With gratefulness for the love of family,

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