Straight Talk from a Comfort Foodie - Moms Remedy for the Blues

As puberty crept up and I became a passive passenger on the roller coaster of hormones, there'd come days that I just couldn't shake the blues. It was a Jekyll and Hyde scenario that would haunt me for most of my fertile years. I never thought to look at the cause: my body was gearing up for a wham-bam of reproductive activity. I would only treat the symptoms, which were moodiness and the ability to bite someone's head off. My mother, Champion of Chocolate, held the key to my happiness. We were driving in her car one night, my mother in that flame red Cadillac sedan Deville, when she turned to me and said,

"How's about a hot fudge sundae?"

They were words of salvation as we pulled into Turner's ice cream parlor. That old building, near Hyannisport, with its clapboard siding and rickety double-hung windows, had been written about by JFK. A yellowed note signed by the former president hung in a frame on one of the "if-these-walls?could-talk" walls. I don't know if the gray-haired woman who sat behind the counter, in her starched man tailored blouse and apron, was Mrs. Turner-I just assumed it. Both the building and the woman were relics of the "Olde Cape Cod" that Pattie Page sang about. It was decades before Ben met Jerry, and imported ice cream was nothing but fiction. This was honest to goodness homemade stuff, with flavors like penuche pecan, fresh summer melon, and the unicorn of all delights, frozen pudding-a concoction of cream and dried candied fruit that seemed like a cross between holiday eggnog and cannoli filling.

We'd sit in that quaint shop that had never been renovated, to look the part, and be served hot gooey chocolate fudge, the kind where you can almost taste the sugar granules between your teeth rather than the pasteurized goop that floats over soft serve today. A young girl, working her summer job, would open a refrigerator and pull out a large stainless steel bowl with a spatula stuck right in it. She'd give the contents a few turns and top the heavy glass dish that held our overflowing dessert with a healthy dollop of freshest whip cream on Earth.

We made outings to Turner's a weekly event. Mom always went for the fudge. I experimented with ice cream and topping combinations, growing particularly fond of ginger ice cream with claret sauce. The spicy bits of candied ginger were tempered by the sweet red sauce that tasted more like jelly apples than wine. I brought many of my girlfriends to Turner's ? girls that hadn't yet found a food outlet for their hormonal highs and lows. I was very surprised when my senior year science teacher didn't accept my thesis topic on "The Science of Ice Cream and Emotions". I suppose it was too far-fetched a topic for the times. In 1972, PMS was only an acronym used for "post meridian standard".

Over thirty years later, mom's remedy for the blues, i.e. hot fudge, along with its curative powers, still has the ability to pull me out of the lion's den of emotion.

Mom's Remedy for the Blues Hot Fudge

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate, sugar and butter in top of double boiler over low heat, until sugar is dissolved.

2.Stir often to avoid burning.

3. Slowly add milk. Stir till blended smooth.

4. Add baking powder and vanilla. Stir till thick

Hot Fudge for one?Please

2 slices (3 x 3 x 1/2 inch) pound cake

1 (3x3 inch) vanilla ice cream square

4 tablespoons hot fudge, heated

2 ½ tablespoons whipped cream

1 maraschino cherry

Directions

1. Place 1 square of cake on serving plate.

2. Top with the ice cream square; place the second square of cake on top of the ice cream.

3. Drizzle hot fudge over each of the 4 cake corners.

4. Place whipped cream in the top center of the cake square.

5. Top center with a well-drained maraschino cherry half to garnish.

Marti Ladd is the cookbook author and food product designer of "The Recipe Company". See her media kit at http://www.martiladd.com or visit her virtual cookbook store at http://www.ecookbookstore.com

In The News:

Recipes for Right Now  The New York Times
Recipe: A fruit crisp for all seasons  TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press

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