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Paris Journal: Chocolate Truffles and Elvis
There are few things as delicious as a chocolate truffle — pictured below to the right of a French macaron (a subject for another day). Every chocolatier makes them differently, but as a rule they have a soft, sweet, as-chocolaty-as-possible center and a coating of 100%-pure cocoa powder. One’s pleasure is heightened by the transition from the bitter outer powder to the rich core, and what a payoff it can be. Almost head-spinning.
However, there are still culinary surprises left in this world, and our favorite Paris restaurant, Hiramatsu (recently discussed here), provides one. The Japanese chef there, working mostly in the French tradition, suffuses his take on the truffle with Assam tea, also known as English Breakfast tea. One tastes the tea flavor in parallel to the chocolate core; it adds a menthol-like freshness and a strong bouquet to the intoxicating chocolate.
All of this got me to thinking about the fusion of cultures: South American chocolate, in the hands of a Japanese chef, working in Paris, for international diners; and he adds Indian tea to a traditional French dish. That is one way that progress occurs in our world.
When I audited Professor Bill Cook’s English 43 course: Early Black American Literature, he strayed off-topic one day to observe with no little indignation that Elvis Presley’s hit “Hound Dog” was first sung by an African-American, Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. Cook seemed angry that Elvis had enjoyed a great success with a song that Big Mama had introduced. However, the following year, we discussed the same song in a different class: visiting Professor Jonathan Karp’s Jewish Studies 80, Blacks and Jews in American Cultural History. Karp noted with some amusement that “Hound Dog” had been written for Big Mama by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two Jewish songwriters, originally from Baltimore and Long Island, who grew up in LA.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…