There are weeks that beg for less. They ask us to slow down, to take it all in, to rest and recharge and refill our long-emptied batteries, drained after months of giving and hard work and so much fun, all rolled up into one, that we can’t tell anymore if we are happy or sad, simply tired or soul-weary.
There are weeks when your boss tells you once … or twice … or three times … that it might be time for a mental health day because the last 24 months have been such a sprint that collapse is inevitable without slowing down. (These are the days you thank the good Lord for the boss you have.) There are weeks you realize that the light at the end of the tunnel has finally arrived, and with it a new desk and a sunshine-filled window and a little more freedom to breathe.
There are weeks that my heart feels like it is beating in someone else’s body … in my old body … when I can hardly recognize who it is that I am today because surely I am still the same girl I was two, three, four years ago. Surely I am not approaching the two-year anniversary of my first grown-up job and not far behind it the two-year celebration of a marriage for which we feel as young and unprepared as we were the day we said “I do”.
There are weeks when I want to point my car north on the interstate when I am driving home, and instead drive home to the lake and the mountains and the house on Pleasant Street, to be greeted by the ghost of my old self and hopefully together we could explore those places where I first felt like a me that I could finally love and somehow the two would become one and I would start to feel like her again.
But I can’t ever be her again, and these grown-up days are teaching me that. It’s not that we are so very different, just that it seems so much harder now. Those seemingly made-up college days of very temporary stress are gone … when the semester-long projects that were the most daunting things imaginable are now replaced with year-lead retail calendars and 3-year development plans and thinking ahead 2, 3, 4, 5 years to when it will finally make sense to start having the babies I so desperately want, and build the kitchen of my dreams, and settle down into a sweet rhythm of ordinary days.
And so in these girlishly grown-up days when I waffle between little girl and lady, I am finding the deepest sense of satisfaction in keeping our home, in preparing these meals, in hosting our friends and serving my food.
And one of the great things about being a grown-up is the ability to cook with … and drink … certain delightful beverages. Like whiskey.
There are weeks that are made for whiskey.
And then there are weeks made for whiskey chocolate cake.
Whiskey Chocolate Cake with Whiskey Buttermilk Glaze
I have three words for this cake: I and Love and You
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
1/2 cup whiskey (I used Maker’s Mark)
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Butter a bundt pan and then dust it with cocoa powder.
2. Heat coffee, whiskey, butter, and cocoa in a pot over medium heat until butter is melted.
3. Remove from heat, add sugar, and whisk until dissolved.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla. Add to coffee mixture and whisk.
5. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to coffee mixture and stir until blended.
6. Pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake 40-50 minutes.
Whiskey Buttermilk Glaze
Borrowed from this
2 tsp water
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup bourbon
2 tsp vanilla
1. In small bowl, mix together baking soda and water
2. Boil buttermilk, sugar, and butter over high heat in a large pot.
3. After sugar is dissolved and butter melted, add baking soda and keep stirring! The mixture will bubble up quite a bit.
4. Stir until the mixture is thick and golden.
5. Take off heat. Add bourbon and vanilla.
6. Brush glaze onto warm cake. Save remaining glaze (if you can keep from eating it all) and rewarm just before serving. Drizzle remainder over plates as you serve.