Berries and Chocolate

by ck

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It’s been a long time since I’ve celebrated Passover with my family. Over the last four years I’ve watched it pass by without much thought, as I’m not a terribly religious person and the holiday usually involved a lot of time in the car and stress for my mom, who inevitably worked the whole week while somehow managing to bang out a kosher meat course and a dessert.

These holidays are starting to mean more to me, though. Not because of the religious aspect (although I do enjoy the singing) but because I can see how much it matters to my dad. He isn’t devout by any means, but I can tell that when we gather together for Passover, or Rosh Hashanah, or Yom Kippur, he feels especially connected to his parents– two people who I never got to meet, really, although I can sense at an instinctual level the rapport we would have had.  My parents don’t speak about them frequently, but at these holidays I think the little details remind dad of growing up with his parents. As a result he talks about them a lot, and I get to grab hold (even briefly) of a sense of what they were like as people, not just “grandparents.”  From these brief glimpses I can tell that I’ve landed in the right family.  My grandfather was huge, but very gentle, as evidenced by the fact that when I was born he held me in one hand against his chest. He used to make the same jokes all the time. My grandmother was a teacher, and a painter, and apparently taught meditation, which I just learned.

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I love to connect with people over food– talking about it, eating it, talking about it some more. Recently I’ve been wondering what my grandparents liked to eat. I’ll have to ask. Anyway, I made these chocolate-covered strawberries for Passover on Monday. I don’t know if my grandfather would have liked them (the image of him holding a tiny strawberry in his giant hands is just too much) but I think they would be the kind of simple, honest treat that my grandmother would have liked a lot.

To make them, I heated some Valrhona chocolate (spent my week’s pay on that chocolate, but it was worth it) on the stovetop over very low heat, stirring continually to avoid any burnt taste. I then removed it from the stove top and let it cool for a minute as I dried the strawberries off (important so the chocolate sticks.) After placing waxed paper on a baking sheet, I carefully dipped each strawberry into the chocolate twice, giving each berry two coats (because why not?)

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