Fairy tales need a magical occurrence. More and more, I wonder why these occurrences are not related to food. Last night, I had 5 friends over dinner. A few directors, designers, and other assorted theatricals. We spoke of casting Lakeshore Players Ten-Minute Play Festival, a set design for Pinocchio, the continuing snow, visiting opossums and whatever clicked into our brains. And so the conversation remained - electric currents that buzzed about the arts, the news, science and the weather. The baked brie smothered in porcinis and shiitakes that spent the day swimming in wine helped keep conversation flowing. The fresh baby lettuce was consumed and our brains stayed on track. Even though the ravioli called for way too much burnt butter and pignoli nuts (note to self: alter recipe), we touched on owning cats, raising children, cycling, playwrighting and expectations in life. Even the Pinot Grigio, Newcastle Ale and Pellegrino had no influence on the ebb and flow of conversation.
And then I brought out Molly Winzeberg's "Winning Hearts and Mind" chocolate cake. She knows from where she speaks. Part torte, part fudge, part brownie and part magic, conversation ceased. One hearty soul had a second piece. Dollops of cream made it's way around the table. Thicker than a mousse, lighter than a cake, more soul-satisfying than a piece of artisan chocolate, hearts and mind were won. And the conversation took an interesting turn. After consuming the cake, we discussed Facebook. Seven people over the age of forty (who are all "member friends") conversing about the innuendo involved if you send someone "a poke." One slice of a chocolate-cloud of a pie and our brains switched from somewhat intelligent to the inane.
For the finale, all gathered around the stairs to watch "Pippin the Kitten" fly through railings playing with a stuffed mouse. For twenty minutes. The chocolate cake had worked its magic and reduced seven adults to an an altered state of complete silliness. The cake couldn't be easier. It's foolproof. And ending a dinner party in the silly-zone is like taking a mini-vacation from everyday life.
Molly's recipe is here. Take the journey. It's worth the calories.