I got well just in the nick of time, because I’d signed up to make a fancy dessert for a dessert auction we’re doing at church tomorrow. I decided to go with chocolate mousse. The mousse isn’t absolutely gorgeous, but I know how to do it, and it’s freakishly delicious. Between J’s gymnastics and M’s soccer game I didn’t have enough time to get started on the mousse itself, but I decided to try to make some chocolate curls for a little fancy-pants garnish. The chocolate curls are an element from the original recipe that we decided to blow off after making the mousse the first time: too much trouble, not enough payoff. But this is a special occasion.
My chocolate curls were mediocre. I decided to try again after the soccer game.
A few hours later I was in the zone, an audio book plugged in, ready to get ‘er done. And of course J wanted to help. There really wasn’t too much that she could do. I knew that she wanted to work on the chocolate curls, but they were hard, hard, hard. Basically you just use a veggie peeler on a chocolate bar, but it’s all in the temperature of the chocolate: too chilly and it breaks, too warm and it’s goo. I made a passable number of chocolate curls and set them aside. And then I did something incredibly stupid. I told J that I was done and if she wanted to try making some chocolate curls “just for fun,” she could give it a shot. The stars were aligned and my little Martha Stewart made several decent chocolate curls. I was shocked. She was delighted. And then I realized my mistake. “Can we put my curls on the mousse?” she asked. Duh, duh, duh, duh, DUH. I had not told her to wash her hands. She was just doing this for herself. I explained. She wheedled a bit–they were just a few chocolate curl garnishes, after all.
Always ready to offer her sage judgements, M swooped in. “Oh, my gosh!” she scolded. “Of course you have to wash your hands! There’s that stomach bug going around, remember? Mom’s washed her hands about seven times! Putting those on would be disgusting!”
Wow, M. That’s so. . . helpful. Now J feels even worse. Awesome.
I suggested that J volunteer to do her own dessert for the auction next year. “No, I’d probably just mess it up,” she sulked. Because that’s how she rolls.
The consolation prize was a little bowl of whipped cream to be decorated with chocolate curls. Both girls were crossing their fingers that we’d have too much mousse to fit into the “fine china” plastic bowl I’d bought, but sadly for them, the mousse fit perfectly.
We might have to buy the damn thing ourselves.