Monday, April 14, 2014

Aztec Mocha

This drink is inspired by the movie Chocolat.  That movie has three of my favorite things: themes of acceptance, Johnny Depp, and chocolate.  And not just any chocolate.  Fancy French chocolate made from an ancient family recipe originating from the first chocolate lovers themselves:  the Aztecs.

After watching this movie with my dear friend Megan in college, we set out to make our own chocolate.  And not just any chocolate. Spicy Aztec chocolate with dashes of cayenne and cinnamon. I have been mildly obsessed with spicy chocolate ever since.

Chocolat is set in the season of Lent, too, so it makes sense to share this mocha recipe now in Lent's final week.  The main character moves to a small, highly religious French town with her daughter and opens a chocolate shop in the middle of Lent, when the whole town gives up sweets.  This leaves her less than popular.  Hopefully you will still like me after I share this recipe if you are giving up sweets or chocolate for Lent this year. :) You know, it would make the perfect Easter morning celebratory drink.

First thing's first, you're going to need a good chocolate syrup.  I demand that you make your own following this recipe as it has the best and darkest flavor any chocolate syrup has ever dared to offer.  Plus it has no high fructose corn syrup or other weird chemicals.  It's so simple to make, just equal parts white sugar, cocoa powder, and water with a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Aztec Mocha
makes two
3 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper to heat preference
strong coffee or espresso
warmed half & half or preferred milk
optional (but not really) whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish
Heat the syrup on low in a pan (or leave some in the pan after making your own chocolate syrup) and add in spices.  You could probably just stir in the spices to cold syrup, but I haven't tried it, so I'm not sure if it tastes the same.
Spoon the syrup into mugs, add the coffee and steamed milk, and garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon and pretend you are drinking it with Johnny Depp in a cute French village.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Feminist Critique: Hozier "Cherry Wine"

I am in love. His name is Hozier and he's an artist. His voice is a smooth shot of rich espresso. His lyrics, coupled with an acoustic and soulful sound, summon a deep spirituality. His poetic lyrics describe women as powerful and not in the typical femme fatale way. Hozier's songs talk about women as ethereal creatures with worshipful wonder and helplessness. While he uses Biblical references in almost every song, it's as if woman is his deity.

I know you're thinking to yourself, but Julie, isn't worshiping women just another form of objectifying them? Doesn't that mean Hozier is still refusing to see women as his equal? And I would have to answer, yes, you're probably right. But pipe down. You're ruining a perfectly nice song. :) I also think that there is more to the songs than simple objectification since Hozier does not expound on a woman's beauty and sex appeal but of her mystery and powers. If that does not reassure you, at least there is no disrespect toward women in any of his songs.

His song Cherry Wine even has some traditional gender role reversal, which is how I knew our love was real.

The narrator is in an abusive relationship, and the lyrics are clearly talking about physical signs of abuse, but these could be metaphorical for the emotional bruising taking place.  Either way, the narrator holds no anger, forgives freely, and remains devoted and submissive to this destructive woman.  I'm definitely not advocating husband-beating, but I still find the role reversal intriguing.

Enjoy this song and check out his others!  I'd love to hear your opinions of Hozier as an artist and his lyrics in relation to feminism.

Cherry Wine ~ Hozier
Her eyes and words are so icy
Oh but she burns
Like rum on the fire
Hot and fast and angry
As she can be
I walk my days on a wire.

It looks ugly, but it's clean.
Oh mama, don't fuss over me.

The way she tells me I'm hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine.
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

Calls of guilty fall on me
All while she stains
The sheets of some other
Thrown at me so powerfully
Just like she throws with the arm of her brother.

But I want it, it's a crime
That she's not around most of the time.

The way she shows me I'm hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

Her fight and fury is fiery
Oh but she loves
Like sleep to the freezing
Sweet and right and merciful
I'm all but washed
In the tide of her breathing.

And it's worth it, it's divine
I have this some of the time.

The way she shows me I'm hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine