Chocolate Therapy

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but chocolate is my favorite thing. Not only do I love it, but I deeply believe in its ability to alter/better my mood (think Harry Potter and the cure for dementors). In fact, a friend of mine said the other day, after making delicious lemon bars, that when she was a child, she didn’t understand the point of desserts without chocolate. And I said, “and what is the point?” because in general, I still feel that way (though the lemon bars were amazing).

This week, the moms who lunch are celebrating two birthdays, one mom birthday and one baby birthday (I can’t believe we are getting to the point where our babies are turning one?!?! Can time stop PLEASE!).  In honor of both birthdays I decided to bring back to life a recipe I made a long time ago. It was the first major baking (though the oven is not involved) project I did as an adult. It was in an old apartment, long before baby, though not before marriage. It took me all day. And it was worth it. I thought it would be interesting to see, now that I am so experienced in all things baking and cooking (I kid), if it was easier to make now.

Did I mention that said recipe is a Chocolate Cream Pie?!?!?! The main lessons I have learned since I last made this recipe are:

-Read the recipe multiple times before you start and before you go shopping. Attention to detail and not having to check the recipe mid-stir can help immensely.

-Time management in general. I felt much less panicked about how the custard would turn out, how long it would take to cook, etc. Things I account to feeling more prepared and better able to get the ingredients ready ahead of time, which is a big part of time management in my opinion.

This is a wonderful recipe. It is from Saveur magazine (I know I know, I owe you a post about how much I love them). You can find it here. It is a great recipe because it is actually not that hard, especially if you already feel comfortable making custards, and it has such a rich chocolate flavor without being too sweet.

A few notes about the recipe. You will be tempted to skip the sieving step, don’t! It is what makes the custard super velvety and smooth. Also, be sure you follow the amounts in the instructions and not just in the ingredients list. For example, it calls for 16 tablespoons of butter, but half are for the crust and half are for the custard. Same with the sugar and the vanilla. Basically, pay attention and read the recipe a few times (I mentioned that already, didn’t I?). Finally, here is my major shortcut: I don’t make the crust! I buy oreo crust from the grocery store. It was so yummy last time, I’m assuming it doesn’t make that much of a difference. I know, such a cheater. But come on, there is an 11 month old running around. Who has time to make crust?!?!


The yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Wow, that is yellow.

The chocolate custard before going into the fridge. Note the open window! It was that warm!

Look at all that whipped cream!

Fancy chocolate shavings

The final product: Messy and delicious

Telling Our Reproductive Stories

I’ve been thinking lately about the importance of sharing our reproductive stories. By reproductive stories I mean how we decided to have children, how we did or did not get pregnant, how our babies came into the world, and how all of that impacts the kind of parents we are.

As queer parents we had to do a lot of planning. I often say to my wife that if everyone had the choice to plan their children as much as we did, the world would be a much better place.  We are lucky enough to have a known donor and were able to do everything at home (more on the joys of having a known donor in a later post). Ari is a true Turkey Baster baby (well…plastic medicine syringe). We then labored and birthed at home with two midwives and a close friend (who also married us) as our doula. We were so lucky to be able to make the choices we made and have them supported.

Now, enter the rest of the world. What do people know about how queer people, specifically two women, have babies? A movie or two? The L Word? There are not a lot of stories out there like ours, or with people like us at all. So what does this lead to? Two major assumptions:

One (most common): Where did we adopt her?

Two (less common): What medical facility did we use to inseminate?

I do not judge people who do either of those things, adopt, use the medical system to get pregnant, etc. However, I have a problem with the assumption that either of those things are our experience.  I realized lately that straight couples can sometimes have a similar experience. Folks assume that they a) gave birth to their babies, and b) that it was an easy process. I recently had an experience where a woman with twins asked me how my wife and I “got” Ari. I started off being pretty defensive and (I’ll admit) braggy about our process. A little while later she said that she had asked because her twins were adopted. I realized that by not talking about our reproductive stories, we isolate ourselves. She was asking not to be aggressive or making assumptions about me, but because she was hoping to find someone with a common experience. And because I assumed that she was being insensitive, I lost the opportunity to find commonality in the fact that we both share “alternative” reproductive stories.

So my new goal is to tell my story truthfully and often and trusting peoples best intentions.

What is your reproductive story?