Holy Grail and Bar-B-Q

A few weeks ago, I had a phone call from a lovely lady in Canada. She was very politely calling in referrencce to my (first) shipping disaster: I had sent her the wrong DVD (she already had the title that I'd just sent her). - Last week I put the wrong PO # on a shipment to Rio Grande, but they were quick to figure that out, and since I'd at least sent what they ordered, it was more of a shipping faux pas on my part... and another first at least. The company from which I get my shipping envelopes has a slogan on their website that they don't use computers for orders. "We have real people to mess things up!" In these cases I have both.

Before hanging up, she told me how much she loved my work and that I was her "Holy Grail." Wow! Artistically speaking, it really doesn't get much better than that. It was one of those moments that makes all the hard work worth it, and sorry as I was to have messed up her order, I was really glad she'd had reason to call me.

I've been remembering that call through all of the endless hours Chinese water torture of late. No, not a new patina chemical, not even a new way to make hundreds of filigree wires pop out for no good reason. I've been crying out of one eye 24/7 in perpetual allergic response to whatever is in the air that my body hates. Ironically, the only time it's stopped was when I visited my friend, Beth's, house and her 5 cats, 1 ferret, 1 snake, 1 Chihuahua 1 Chiwinnie,, and 3 more Chawinnie foster puppies plus concrete dust in her living room. Here at home, where we wage The War on Mildew, I'm dying.

The only other relief has been my mother's latest victory (and first ever thrift store find), a brand new Cuisinart ice cream maker for $15. Alas, when she had us over for ice cream, it didn't freeze because her freezer on top fridge doesn't get cold enough to chill the bowl. When she asked if we could try it in our freezer, we said, "Damn, we'll endeavor to come through on such a big favor."

Day 5 of having the ice cream freezer, my honey brought in three dishes of vanilla ice cream with chocolate gravy (see recipe below) and said, "I've already washed and dried the bowl and put it back in the freezer for when you do this again tomorrow."

Day 18 of having the ice cream freezer, my mother remarked that I've put on a pound or two. "I'm in danger of becoming dehydrated from my eyes watering so much. Homemade vanilla ice cream counts as a fluid." Alas, tonight my blurred vision might be the only excuse for the vile concoction I created in the kitchen. Frustrated at my word processing program's insistence that it is smarter than its user, I went for that light night rehydration attempt. As I plopped a big dollop of chocolate gravy on top of my (modest sized dish of) vanilla ice cream, I thought, "Yuck, the consistency doesn't seem as smooth as it ought to be." As I moved the dish into the light (night runs to the kitchen are more fulfilling if done in the stealth of semi-darkness), my horror turned to hysterical laughter as I sputtered, "Honey, can you help? PLEASE"

I'm not sure what help I thought he could give except to provide solidarity in laughter for what I had placed on top of my ice cream was not chocolate gravy but a big heaping helping of the bar-b-q sauce Chris had made earlier and left out to cool. "You're going to have to scrap that dish and start over," he managed to utter while being bent over double and gasping for breath between laughs.

"WASTE this ice cream?!? NEVER!!! I can scrape it off!" which I did, but by the time I'd added the right topping and stopped laughing, the fruits of my labor were approaching a complete state of liquidity. Unfortunately, during the scraping process and without thinking, I licked my fingers. Eeewww. Chocolate truly can make many things better, but obliterating the taste of milky vanilla bar-b-q was nearly too much to ask.

The Ever Necessary Chocolate Gravy:
This recipe is adapted from one a friend gave me several years ago. The original was intended to be served over biscuits (odd sounding but not bad), but I could never consistently get the consistency right, so I changed it into more of a soft fudge sauce.

1-1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1-1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, then whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer and slightly bubble for 10-15 minutes. Refrigerate when cool.

If you use organic ingredients, it could be considered a health food. Grass fed milk, antioxidants in the chocolate, etc. ;-)

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