How does that thought make you feel? If you could taste it, what would be its flavor?
Sitting in an Emergency Room earlier this week waiting for my husband to be wheeled off for a CT scan followed by an MRI, I thought about that, the taste of love, and noticed on that day that love’s taste was bitter.
Of course, we normally think of love as sweet, associating it with what we call “comfort” foods ~ Mom’s Mac Cheese, home-baked cookies, warmed milk ~ or with a romantic “diner à deux” with a rich menu of courses, wine, and a sumptuous dessert.
But on that day, under stark hospital lights, love tasted anything but sweet. What if they find a tumor? An aneurysm? Could this unbearable pain he has had for two weeks now be a symptom of something fatal? Or, not fatal but also not curable, not knowable, never-ending?
According to Ayurveda, the sweet taste is the taste that gives us strength, patience, endurance, health. Love is like that, isn’t? It fortifies us. It is grounding, pacifying, reassuring. It makes us more accepting, more generous. It helps us feel whole.
Bitter, on the other hand, is the taste associated with the emotion of loss. Grief has a bitter edge to it. This is not bitter as we usually think of it. Not the bitter of frustrated resentment as in, “My, how bitter she has become since her divorce.” The taste of that emotion would actually be sour, as in “sour grapes.” Combining the elements of fire and earth, sour feelings are like fire buried underground, a subterranean seething.
Bitter, instead, relates to letting go, surrender, releasing the old. Its taste combines the elements of air and space. Foods that taste bitter help us lose weight, loosen Ama, unclog the system, lighten up, eliminate toxins, clean wounds, purify the tissues.
Which brings me to Chocolate. Of course.
In its essence, chocolate has a bitter taste. It is almost unpalatable without the leavening of something sweet like sugar, milk, maple syrup, or honey. Chocolate, or choco-late, is cacao, a pure bitter, and “late” meaning milk, a sweet.
Monday helped me understand more fully why chocolate then, is the food of love. True love, enduring love is sweet. It strengthens, affirms, uplifts and expands us.
But deep, pure love is also like a fire. It lights us up. It purifies. It burns away our false, constructed ego, eliminating the toxins of selfishness, defensiveness and pride. It restores innocence, unclogs channels of self-expression and authenticity, renewing energy. It puts our priorities into proper perspective. It forces us to face our interdependency, bringing to the surface buried fears of inadequacy, loss, annihilation. In this sense, deep love has much in common with the taste of bitter and its effect on us. It purifies.
Bitter and Sweet, chocolate helps us dissolve our mental strategies and resistance to life’s flow, restoring trust so we can melt back into the heart, allow connection, strengthen our bonds of oneness and remember what is true.
After Monday, my love for my husband is prioritized. Gone is anything that distracts. It feels clearer, stronger and purer than ever. Best of all, we are fortunate that the thumping, sleep-depriving, shrieking pain was only the result of a pinched nerve. A very pinched, very distressed nerve, but one that is now calmed and finding its way back to normal.
So we have a lot to love and to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. I am going to splurge and make a Chocolate Pâté.
The simple recipe for this sumptuous dessert lets the chocolate speak for itself, and it doesn’t just speak, it resounds. Loooooooooovvvvvveee ~
Put all ingredients into a medium size pot and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, once chocolate has mostly melted, turn off the heat. Continue to stir until the consistency is smooth and even.
Line the bottom of a small loaf pan with a large piece of cellophane, or parchment paper, leaving excess wrap to hang over the sides. Give the chocolate mixture a few minutes to cool, still stirring, then pour it into the loaf pan. Cover with the wrap, and refrigerate 5 to 6 hours, until firm. Before serving let stand at room temperature one hour, then turn out onto a plate and sprinkle with cocoa or cinnamon powder. Garnish with figs, blueberries, blackberries and serve with Crème Fraîche.
This is such divine succulence from the Mother. With food like this, her eternal, delicious love is hard to deny!
~ Happy Valentine’s Day ~
Sally Bernstein has many great ideas for Valentine’s Day over at Sally’s Place, including loads of recipes and gift ideas. That is where I discovered La Molina Gianduja Spread, inspired by La Molina, the chambermaid and chocolatier to 17th century Queen Marie-Therese. Nothing like the love of a good woman!