You're interested now, aren't you? Well, let me just say now that I'm not much of a chocolate person. (insert gasp here) I'm more of a salty person. In fact, just to get started on this blog, I opened up a new bag of Veggie Straws, because there wasn't a piece of chocolate in the house to nosh on. I know, I looked. But I'm happy with the Veggie Straws.
Not that I don't enjoy a Snickers bar every once in a while. But I don't have very sophisticated taste when it comes to chocolate. And I don't like dark chocolate. There I said it..(insert another gasp here) But this particular story is less about chocolate itself, and more about a chocolate event: The 25th Annual Death-by-Chocolate Party. It's given by some delightful folks whose friendship goes back far more than 25 years. The party has floated around the calendar at times. It's usually in the summer, but given unexpected surgeries, aging parents, family illnesses, etc. the 2012 party was last week. As you can imagine, it doesn't matter when this party is. And we missed a few when we moved away; the lure of the Annual DBC party was no small part of the decision to move back!
As in life, there are rules to the DBC Party. No Hersheys, which is too bad, because I really like Kisses. In fact, no store-bought (i.e. lesser quality) chocolate at all. We are expected to create a chocolate wonder, and every year, this strikes terror in me. I am a decent cook, but not so good a baker. Baking requires exactness; that's not me. But DBC is serious business, so I try.
One year, I not only created something very chocolaty, but I also created a new category. You see, there are prizes given out at the Death By Chocolate party, and I believe this was in 2003, when the Iraq War had just started. I baked what I thought was a simple chocolate cake, but as usual, it didn't come out right. There was a big, black gooey hole in the middle of the cake. There wasn't time to bake anything else, so I arrived at the house, stuck a toothpick sign in the middle (always provided so we can name and claim our creations) that said "Bush's Black Hole War Cake." I created the political chocolate category, and took first prize.
As with most friendships that endure, ours has settled into a beautiful and treasured easiness with each other. We've all known each other since high school. Some years I didn't bake anything. And because we were such good friends, that was ok too. Somewhere along the line, as we (insert gasp) got older, the hosts realized we couldn't get along on only chocolate, so other "palate cleansers" (hah!) like fresh fruit and veggies were added. And Mom Addie is always excused for not bringing anything chocolate, as long as she brings her almond cookies, which she does even now, well into her 8th or 9th decade, I forget.
That's the other thing about the Death by Chocolate party—it's multi-generational. Our parents come, though one was missing this year—he just doesn't get out anymore—our children come, there's a talent show (they stole that idea from us years ago…just sayin'), and last week there was a little granddaughter twirling to the music. The power of chocolate.
So, to Stephen and Lori, our hosts, I say, it's really not the chocolate. Ok, it's a little bit the chocolate. It's also anticipating the invitation; because you two get zanier every year and though they come via email these days, they are truly works of genius. Every year, I'm amazed by the creativity of your other friends…this year it was kitty-litter chocolate (don't ask), and the actual Death by Chocolate cake, complete with a little choco-grave on top. But like I said, it's more than the chocolate. It's gathering together for 25 years, finding sweetness in such a friendship. And this year? My marble pistachio chocolate cake came out perfect!