Goodbyes and Truffles

Friday, August 28, 2009

-Chocolate makes the heart grow fonder.-

I’ve never been fond of goodbyes and I suppose few people are. I’ve also never been good at them which, again, I guess few people are. My reason for being so bad at them is that I consciously do my best to avoid them at all costs. Meeting a friend at the bar for a final round of sidecars is about as appealing as being given a colonoscopy by Jason Voorhees.

To begin with I’m relatively stoic with my personal feelings. Delving how happy, pissed, or sad I am on the blog is one thing, but I become nonplussed at the thought of expressing intimate feelings of any sort. Street fighting in a North Korean prison camp is the preferable option over telling someone I care about how much I appreciate them.

I could say I have some subconscious fear of rejection, but delving in psychotherapy is the easy explanation.

I’m really just selfish.

I try to avoid acknowledging the pungent vinegary truth that I may never see this person again. I hate making the joint twinkling promise to call each other once a week. Too many times life gets in the way. I forget to call. The other person forgets to e-mail. The week becomes a month, one month becomes many. Work, school, still present friends and family, and every other visible and physically tangible commitment needs my time. Eventually, communication stops altogether.

Someone once told me friendship is like making pudding, you have to give it your attention or it goes bad. I’m afraid I won’t be able to stir and sit, putting in the time and effort into a distanced relationship. Too many times have they fizzled out, becoming stagnant and dull like ancient soda left on the kitchen counter.

However, some friends, luckily, you don’t have to worry about. You don’t have to call them every day, or send them bullet point “How’s life?” e-mails with templar-like vigilance. There are people whom you’re always connected to with invisible strings, always tugging at each other and letting you know in your core “Hey you, I’m still here. Can’t wait to see you again!”

I have friends from high school I only talk to once in a blue moon, but whenever I go and visit my old home we all get together for dinner. There aren’t any real games of catch up trying to summarize the past few months or years into sentences that fail to do them justice. Instead we sit down and begin our conversations as if we had left them off in the summer after we graduated. At the end of our reunion the strings are wound tighter than before and when we part we can still feel them tugging us all back to each other. The food isn't what's important at these meetings, but it sort of helps cement the memories and experiences - past and present - together.

At work I recently had to say goodbye, sort of. My friend was being forced to move to another office. It's only 15 minutes away and given I’ll still see him every so often. It was more of a see you soon event rather than a goodbye party. Still, he was the only other food-centric person around.

He enjoys looking at pictures of how to break down a goat (friends like that are rare). He taught me how to make a good butternut curry, and showed me how to grow the lemongrass needed for it. Since he was in school at night (he for his PhD.) he understood the trials and tribulations of review panels and seventeenth drafts and would commiserate with me about them. I had grown accustomed to chatting with him every day, and now suddenly that would stop.

So being the stoic person I am, trying to find a way to ensure the string stays taut can be difficult. I find the best way to express myself in through a bit of food. Food has the ability to demonstrate through the senses the cooks emotions and can encapsulate history, personal and shared.

Truffles with a hint of spice seemed a good way to go – smooth, intriguing, complicated in its varying layers of flavor but so simple in composition. Dry (in a wine sort of way) like the humor we preferred, curry to represent all the things he showed me about food, and chocolate because damn he's a blurry lunatic when he's got sugar in him.

Dark Curried Truffles
Adapted from Truffles by Dede Wilson

7 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder, plus extra for dusting
8 ounces of 60% or 70% chocolate (chips or well chopped)
cocoa powder for rolling

1. Place heavy whipping cream, coconut milk, and curry powder in a small, heavy saucepot over medium heat and bring to just under a simmer. Take off heat.

2. Sprinkle in chocolate and cover for 5 minutes, allowing the chocolate to melt in the hot liquid. Stir gently until combined. (This is called a ganache.)

3. Pour into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

4. Using your hands dusted in cocoa powder and a teaspoon roll out balls of chocolate about 1/2-1 inch in diameter. Roll in cocoa powder and place on a plate. Store in the fridge. Dust with curry powder and bring to room temperature before serving.

*It's much easier to roll these with very cold hands. I put a jar or two of water in the freezer when the ganache is cooling. Bring them out when you are rolling. If your hands get too warm, hold the jar and chill your hands so the chocolate doesn't begin to melt.

-These truffles are dry like a good wine, very bitter with just an undercurrent of coconutty sweetness that's placated by the curry.-


  1. I'm terrible with goodbyes as well but truffles are always nice to soften the blow. I've never tried that particular cookbook and now will have to give my local library a peek to see if they stock it. Making Artisan Chocolates has to be my favorite. I also own Chocolates and Confections, but the former is much more user friendly and thus gets taken out more in my kitchen.

  2. Nom nom! Coconutty chocolate with curry powder sounds exciting!

  3. Is there a particular type and/or brand of curry powder you recommend for this recipe?

  4. Courtney - I use McCormack's because it was the first thing I grabbed off the shelf in Safeway. Use what you like and what you have on hand. =)

  5. I love the way you describe those invisible strings of connection. So apt!

    I want to be your friend, and then leave, so I get truffles. Barring that, perhaps I'll make 'em myself!

  6. How poignant. I am about to say goodbye to my dear friend who is leaving for England. Perhaps I shall make him truffles for the airplane.

  7. Interesting truffles, I have never tired chocolate and curry together before but I can imagine it working well. I'm longing to try it now. Handmade gifts always make wonderful gestures.

  8. What a beautiful way to say goodbye ! What you wrote about friendship reminded me of myself and also gave me hope! Thanks!


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