Chocolate Betrayal

IMG_5941My kitchen is my kingdom, which I share with all the grace of, say, Napoleon after someone called him a pipsqueak and before Waterloo.

My mother’s kitchen is . . . also my kingdom. (Come to think of it, that’s exactly how Napoleon would put it.) When I descend with my army visit, my mother first serves me a ceremonial welcome dinner, and then surrenders the gas burners and granite countertops without a fight. Incredibly, she even sticks around while I complain about the number of half-sheet pans she owns (how am I supposed to work with just two?) or the fact that her mayonnaise is low-fat (what can a person even say?)

She doesn’t just stick around: she is the ultimate sous-chef. She’s capable and energetic, she takes instruction without complaint, and if you’re wondering why she stopped chopping onions, it’s because the onions are chopped and now she’s washing the knife.

And she never, ever brandishes that knife at me when I tell her she’s been making bacon wrong her whole life or that storing bread in the fridge is a dreadful thing to do and has got to stop. (Also, Mom, you have to get that knife sharpened.) In fact, when I’m not there, she now makes beans the way I do, and broccoli the way I do, and, of course, bacon the way I do.

So I didn’t think anything of it when I told her, casually, that I never made Mom’s Hot Fudge anymore; now I just pour hot cream over chocolate chips, stir, and call it a day.

It turns out that my mother’s culinary ego, presumed absent, had been stored in the hot fudge! The one recipe from our childhood that all three daughters kept and used, the one recipe in my little notebook that’s got “Mom” in the title. And now to find that I had forsaken her?

No, I did not get knifed. But she did look a little miffed. And that’s why I call this sauce Chocolate Betrayal. And why, even though Mom’s Hot Fudge is so much more trouble to make that it resembles actual cooking, I am posting that recipe too. The flavors are different, too, of course: it’s melted chocolate bar vs. melted fudge. You choose: it’s your kitchen. I wouldn’t dream of telling you what to do.

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