But this sun–the one over Providence–was doing the metaphorical sun one better, because the founders of the university, in their Baptist pessimism, had chosen to depict the light of knowledge enshrouded by clouds, indicating that ignorance had not yet been dispelled from the human realm, whereas the actual sun was just now fighting its way through cloud cover, sending down splintered beams of light and giving hope….
-Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot)

This past weekend was what we might call my “return to the living.” In some ways, I wasn’t sure my bronchial tubes and I were up to it–the cough that still plagues me when the night falls makes me sympathetic to werewolves and vampires alike–but it was time to see the sun, to engage in human conversation and, most importantly, to celebrate a friend’s birthday with a lovely meal. In the last two weeks I’ve had more than my share of orange juice and Italian wedding soup (recipe courtesy of TheKitchn, which I liked; it doesn’t hold a candle to my mom’s, though. It’s all about the construction of the perfect meatball and meatballs require onions for moisture). It was time for something heartier.

And if this plate of rosemary-scented meat–from a rack of ribs–doesn’t convince you that the evening was delicious from beginning to end, nothing will. The host and hostess had prepared the whole meal and each dish–mashed potatoes, asparagus, roasted broccoli and dessert– was wonderful. I even got to sample some Tarkhun (Georgian tarragon soda; the first picture of this post), which is a fascinating electric green color. Drinking it felt like sampling a “healing” tonic from a faraway land. It also tastes great with a liberal splash of vodka.

There was also, as there always should be on a chocolate lover’s birthday, a pretty chocolate cake, made from one Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. Dorie is a baking goddess and flourless chocolate cake is a fine way of demonstrating that fact.Vanilla bean ice cream and fresh strawberries only enhance what is already a perfectly good thing.

Returning home that night, I felt both very (but pleasantly) full and glad that I had gone out. Sometimes the healing process needs a little nudge…Progress continued on Sunday, too. The Greek asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I had said these carrot cake pancakes, but, since our carrots were not in the best of shape, we had to come up with a Plan B. Joy the Baker’s inspiring pancake recipes are endless–two summers ago, I almost lived on the Single Lady Pancake–so we finally managed to settle on another creation of hers:  Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes with a blackberry syrup.  Needless to say, between the chocolate cake and the pancakes, I started to feel like my old self.  I even started working on my dissertation again! More on that next time when I’ll also share my celebratory back-to-health meal with you all….Let’s just say, for now, that I was inspired by “A Good Appetite.

6 thoughts on “A Time of Healing

  1. At the office this week, I heard about that cake more than once. To see your beautiful photo of it topped with vanilla bean ice cream makes it all the more real — I can almost taste it! This is a lovely post, and most important, I am so glad to hear you are on the mend!

  2. Thank you, Moriah! It was a really splendid evening with lots of good food (but, obviously, the cake was the pièce de résistance!). One day we'll have to have an ISSA baking party…Can you imagine all the delicious things twe would amass in one room? 🙂

  3. Ohhh, that cake looks amazing! I have no doubt that it was perfection;) And I am glad the pancakes turned out well too! I used to make waffles every weekend back in the day, but I haven't done it in ages now (the scones and baked oatmeal have taken over!) Thanks for reminding me that there's nothing better than a celebratory lazy weekend lavish breakfast! Hope you are feeling much much better!

  4. Thank you, Gracey! I actually didn't bake this one, though. A good friend made this for her boyfriend's birthday. It was delicious, especially with just a tiny dollop of ice cream! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thank you, although it was baked not by me, but by one Ms. C.K. It was lovely, thanks both to the baker herself and Dorie. 🙂

    And, yes, the pancakes are highly recommended, especially if you have fresh blackberries on hand. We eat a lot of baked oatmeal around here, too, but I suppose it *is* healthier than pancakes. You have reminded me that I have yet to pull my waffle maker out of the cupboard….and I thank you for that!

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