Moments of Joy
In a breaking news world, events perhaps become bigger than themselves. Every single angle is examined, discussed, theorized and debated. Leading to even more theories and debate. The truth lost somewhere between all the exchange.
But the suicide bombings in Paris and in Brussels are real. The threat to life as we know it here in Europe and throughout the world palpable. Inevitable.
It is easy enough to get lost in a spiral of depression. And that feeling of futility.
And yet life needs to go on. Dinner must be made, the clothes washed, the beddings changed, the children put to bed, the garden prepared for the coming of spring, birthdays celebrated. There is nothing like routine to keep one going.
And then there are those moments of joy.
In my mind’s eye I see them as candles in the dark. Burning one at a time. As soon as one starts to flicker, another one comes up bright. Never leaving one in total darkness.
Those moments can be flitting like the glimpse of a field of sunflowers from a fast moving train. Or they can be constant and comforting like that feeling of safety within my Rosary group or even alone in the chapel surrounded by dozens of votive candles. They can be moments of abandon as in my keep-fit class when the music takes over and the day’s agenda dissolves in the rhythm of the dance. They can be tangible like the memories captured in my phone of a beautiful sunset, my grandson’s first day at school or that delicious cocktail I have to make again at home. Countless memories that I can relive stored in a gadget I carry every where I go. Reminding me of the happy, funny, significant and often, just-because moments in my life. Moments I can attach to faces, places and things.
Yes, there is trouble in our world. There always has been. And I suppose always will be. But we will survive, triumph even! For in spite of it all, there will always be moments of joy.
Nearly 30 years ago, Cristina, my Swedish neighbor and friend in Dusseldorf shared this recipe with me. It has since become our traditional family birthday cake. It has a crunchy top and a melt-in-the-mouth richness inside, much like discovering joy in the darkness.
When made according to the original recipe, it is like a big chocolate cookie. ( Another friend calls it the Cookie Cake). Double the ingredients and it becomes an irresistible better-than-brownies cake.
You can top it with slivered almonds or chopped walnuts, or as in this case … with birthday candles!
I normally serve it with some fresh fruit and whipped cream on the side.
Cristina’s Chocolate Cake
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
4 tbsp good cocoa powder
½ cup flour
½ cup melted butter
100 gm nuts (optional)
Mix all the ingredients with an electric mixer only until blended. Be careful not to overbeat! Pour onto a wax paper lined round or rectangular tin.
If using nuts, lightly butter the paper and then press the nuts into it. Por the mixture over it.
Bake at 350° F/200°C for 30 minutes. Remove and let it cool. Invert the cake over a plate to serve.