Thursday, October 29, 2009

Twenty years

by June

Today marks two decades since Birch and I stood under a blazing maple in Brooklyn and promised -- in front of family, friends, and little kids biking to Prospect Park -- to share our lives. A courtship sparked when Birch made me a raspberry chocolate mousse cake came full circle in a wedding with a tiered chocolate cake filled with raspberry jam and swirled all over with white-chocolate curls.

Birch has a very good imagination, but I'm sure when we shared our wedding cake he could never have imagined where life with me would take him. He had circumnavigated the globe three times before his ninth birthday, and when I met him, he was living on cosmopolitan 57th Street (in an apartment sublet from his snowbird grammie). For me he gave up that posh (and cheap) sublet to move first to Park Slope and a house in Maine that was so remote we couldn't see other lights at night. We were beyond the reach of newspaper delivery; he had to special order the Sunday Times and drive into the village to pick it up.

It's true that you can take the boy out of the city but you can't take the city out of the boy: When we moved at last into our 1890s house in the dead of winter, and the plumbing was resisting his best efforts to fix it, and he was getting up in the middle of the night to hold the girls over a bucket so they could go tinkle, he let the truth slip out: "I told you I was a condo-in-Boca-with-a-super kind of guy!"

Birch misses our old super, Arvin (but now Birch can rival Arvin in fix-it skill). Birch misses H&H bagels (but we've learned to bake our own amazing bagels). He would give anything to take the subway to Raffetto's for fresh ravioli (but even he would admit that what we make at home is wonderful). Friday nights, he longs for pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge (but he would never have made that wood-fired oven of his very own if he still lived within reach of a New York pie). Creating New York for the homesick is a lot of work, but, hey, at least the Sunday Times shows up right at the end of our driveway now.

On his better days (and what's not better than January in Maine with no working toilet?), Birch embraces our country life. Every day of our marriage, I know our life on the four green acres is his daily gift to me. So it seemed superfluous when, to celebrate our anniversary, he made me one of his chocolate specialties. Not that the cake tasted superfluous. It tasted like it was filled with love. Which it was.

See how pretty it looks on the cake stand
I won in the giveaway at dear Lisa's Cutting Edge of Ordinary!

Here's to decades more, my dear man! Bring on the chocolate...

For the rest of you who might be busy on a special occasion, here's our adaptation of a recipe from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. She calls it Marie-Claude Gracia's Chocolate Cake. We call it...

Celebration-in-a-Rush Chocolate Cake:

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (high quality)
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, separated (thank you, Littles)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
About 2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar (if you wish)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 1/2 inch springform pan.
2. Combine the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl. Microwave on low until it melts to the point where you can stir it together.
3. Mix in the granulated sugar until it dissolves. Set the mixture aside to cool.
4. Whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate. Whisk in the flour.
5. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl just until they form firm peaks; do not overbeat.
6. Add one-third of the egg whites to the chocolate batter and mix vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Do this slowly and patiently. Do not overmix, but be sure the mixture is well blended and that no streaks of white remain.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm and springy, 35 to 40 minutes.
8. Cool on a rack for several hours before unmolding and dusting with confectioner's sugar.

Enjoy with someone you love!


Quinn Lavigne said...

congrats on 20 years!!! that cake sounds really good!!! yummmmmmmm!

Tracey said...

I love the story of your journeys together! Congratulations!!

Toni said...

Oh June, what a wonderful blog post! Congratulations you guys!

I could totally relate to all your husband's longings... I'm also a transplant from the suburbs of Boston to the beautiful countryside of northern Wyoming where an hour trip to Walmart... and an 1 1/2 trip to Costco is an adventure... I too long for a good pizza... and seafood at the little place down the street... but when you don't have those things... you DO learn to make them yourself!

Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Daphne Gould said...

Happy Anniversary!

sarah said...

This was written so well. I will say it, I cried. What a team.
Congratulations to the wonderful both of you, sending hugs!!

Magnolia Handspun said...

So beautifully written.
Congratulations...20 years is really something and how time flies.
I think that chocolate cake was sweet of your husband to make....and now you have 2 beautiful daughters.
...and a organic delish garden....and a pizza oven to boot!
I can feel the love June!

Conny said...

A common question asked: "So, how did you two meet?" I love that your courtship began with a cake. It's the beginning of a great story.

I'd take an Autumn wedding over a traditional June wedding any day. Congratulations on your 20th year! Happy Anniversary.

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

June & Birch - Congratulations! What a lovley story. I'm going to have to try that cake. It looks great on that plate! I married in October, my favorite month. I wish you both many, many more years of happiness. Hugs to you all.

farmama sara said...

Happy anniversary to you both! I loved reading the story! Time sure goes fast when you're having fun!! I wish you many many more happy years together!

gardenmama said...

So beautiful June!
Congratulations : )
Many warm wishes to you and your family!

Unknown said...

Happy anniversary Birch and June! May your love continue to grow and shine for many, many years to come! (And that will be your gift to your girls!)

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

Congratulations on a great marriage and for finding the "one" who can share your dreams and make such a great life together, no matter where you live. He sounds like a great guy and sometimes, to long for what we miss, is really the best part..once you have it back, even for a moment, you think "was this really what I was missing? It's good but my life is sooo much better now"

Sharon said...

Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful celebration and a terrific life!

Karen Sue said...

Happy anniversary from one Oct to another! Our wedding was October. Very pleasant, beautiful day..such lovely weather compared to summer heat! And what wonderful adventures you've had..many more...

JGH said...

Congratulations on twenty years together, June. (We also had a chocolate wedding cake!) That recipe looks terrific too - not too much flour, which is always a sign of extra chocolateyness.
Hope you and Birch have a great time eating it together!

sarah in the woods said...

Happy Anniversary! Great looking cake.

Wren said...

Oh June... What a wonderful story! A most heartfelt congratulations on your 20th anniversary! Made me smile as our wedding cake was covered with white chocolate curls too. Gosh it was good... Wishing you many, many more years of happiness together!!

Unknown said...

What a beautiful post. Congratulations on 20 years, and may you have another 20 and more!

The Unusual Farmchick said...

How beautiful of a begining with such endearing love to follow for 20 years.
Happy Anniversary all wrapped up with rich chocolate goodness.

Toni said...

PS... I love that photo of your house!

Abbi said...

Happy Anniversary! 20 years is a pretty neat achievement. That is so nice for you that he has been willing to give you country life. I am blessed with a city bred husband that is letting me have that too. (We are right on the edge of town but it is still country and even our town is way smaller than the cities he grew up in.)
That was a neat post!

a tasteful garden said...

congratulations for 20 years of bliss... here's to decades more ahead. btw, the ethereal shot of your home is just lovely.

Knittymama said...

Happy anniversary to you both!! Can't wait to try that cake...

Anonymous said...

i almost have tears...

now we know why he built that oven!

what a lovely marriage...congratulations to you both and love, love, love the photo of the house, what a home you have.

a tasteful garden said...

hey there June! you have officially been tagged with an Honest Scrap award :) your shout out is on tonight's post. i hadn't heard of this "award" before last night, but it seems like fun play.

dig this chick said...

What a sweet post that brought tears to my eyes...beautiful photo of your home and beautiful description of what it means to be in a successful partnership. Manhattan and Maine are a good combo!

tom tall clover farm said...

June, you're writing and recollections are as delicious as any Chocolate Cake, and I thank you for sharing your anniversary with us. Magic happens and the proof is on this page and in your hearts. Congratulations!

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