My son this morning stared in awe at the wonder before his eyes. Water was falling from the sky and Kanan wanted to know what the heck was going on. His little mouth fell open and he kept pointing out of the car and saying “whats that?” He also did not like my windshield wipers going back and forth until I started moving my right arm in the same motions and saying “wipe” everytime it sprung back to position. He laughed and laughed.
I love the rain. It makes me think of childhood. Here is a link to a little story I wrote a couple of years ago about rain and childhood. I hope you enjoy. 🙂
Oh and after reading the story, and you would like to make this lovely chocolate beverage here is a simple recipe.
Colombian Hot Chocolate
- break up 1 block of colombian chocolate (70% cocao)
- bring desired amount of milk to a boil (how manycups of chocolate you want will be dependent on the ounces of milk).
- Add chocolate chunks into milk
- add desired amount of sugar
- whisk with a molinillo (a wooden whisker specifically for chocolate)
- simmer until melted, whisking as you go
- pour into a mug
- add one chunk of queso blanco into the center of your hot chocolate and let melt
How To Make Colombian Hot Chocolate
I sit here on this rainy afternoon, smelling the wet cement outside my classroom door, looking down at my hot chocolate sitting in my coffee mug. I take a sip and feel the sugar crystals melting in my mouth and a mild nostalgia takes over me-bittersweet. I am reminded of my youth in San Bernardino County. It was during the year it rained and rained and rained. So many kids hated the rain. But rain always reminds me of my mother’s Colombian hot chocolate-of my brother and sister. Of an innocence and glee for life, which has begun to crust and separate now- like cheap hot chocolate after it sits too long-how I yearn for the chocolate of my youth again.
My mother got huge blocks of Colombian Chocolate from her mother every time she went back home to Bogota to visit our family. Family I have never met and hope to know one day. She took out the block and put it on a cutting board and broke it with a kitchen hammer. Then she poured the bittersweet chunks into a big pot with sugar and milk and boiled it until the chocolate melted and then simmered it for a long time, whisking it with this giant wooden whisker she called a molinillo, letting the happy chemicals in the chocolate saturate the milk. To pass the time, she sent my brother, sister and I outside, bundled up in winter clothes to go play in the rain. We ran around wildly, taking our umbrellas not for protection, but to use as buckets as we filled them up with rain-water flowing down from the drain pipe off our roof and then laughed as we dumped it over our heads. We soaked ourselves clear though our long johns and gleefully shivered. We jumped in the puddles that formed in the streets, laid on our bellies and dared each other to lick the rain off the cement driveway. We played hide and go seek, and between games tilted our heads back, tongues completely out, tasting the semi-sweet, earthy flavor of the sky.
After about 45 minutes, the cold would no longer feel good and my mother knew this, prepared and all. She called out our names and opened up the garage, still warm from the heat of the washer and dryer. She pulled out fresh clothes for us, hot and smelling of Mountain Fresh scented drier sheets. We undressed and changed right there, giggling and telling our mother of our adventures so quickly, I’m surprised she could even make out our words. Then she opened the door leading into the house and handed each of us each a steaming cup of Colombian hot chocolate with at a drop of queso blanco floating in the center. We smelled the sweet aroma, carefully walked to the living room, taking short steps which barely lifted our feet from the carpet, so as not to spill the chocolate. There in the living room awaited a blazing fire in the fireplace, the smell of the burning wood, mixed with the steam of the chocolate, and I sunk easily into the moment-comfort’s womb. The three of us sipped our hot chocolates in silence, and with chocolate mustaches and peace in our eyes, took out our coloring books, and colored right on the brick step of the fireplace. My mother sat on the couch, watching us in silence as well, a satisfied smile on her face. I remember glancing back at her and watching her sip her chocolate drink long and slowly, closing her eyes. I like to imagine, it was in that very moment she was dreaming of her childhood in Los Angeles and the family adventures in Bogota, Colombia-the country where she grew to understand love and family-and where she would gain the wisdom to teach us these things.
My mother doesn’t get Colombian blocks of chocolate anymore. But when I finally get to visit for the first time that country of my blood, I will buy enough to last my lifetime.