Here’s a story (some of you may have heard this one before):
Before I had Auralee I was working at a very fancy store, in an even fancier mall in downtown Boston. One day, while waiting in line for my coffee at the nearest Starbucks, I noticed that the man ordering at the counter was not wearing pants. He had on a jacket, dress shirt, tie, black socks, leather shoes and…underwear. Not being a Bostonian to the core (in this respect, at least), I began to look around to see if anyone else was taking note of the man’s oversight (or perhaps, intentional omission of clothing), but of course, in the true spirit of the most puritanical city on earth, people were doing their utmost to pretend that nothing was out of the ordinary. Averting gazes, stoney-faced Starbucks-goers were not likely to share a comical moment with one another over something as trivial as a man with no pants. By this point I was laughing so hard (quietly, of course) that I was almost crying, and I had to take several deep breaths when it was my turn to order, just to get the words out.
“Am I the only one who thinks that’s funny?” I asked the surly barista.
“What?” She asked, in a tone that smoothly combined boredom with antagonism.
“Oh…maybe you couldn’t see, because of the counter,” I stammered, “that man was not wearing pants.”
“No-pants man?” She yawned. “He comes here every day.”
I am relaying this story because it so perfectly and accurately describes one of the aspects of Boston that contrasts starkly with the social atmosphere of Israel. Boston is a city where people often go out of their way to interact as little as possible. Israel is the opposite; filled with fiery, nosey, opinionated people who are quick to interfere in one another’s affairs, but also not shy with a compliment and overwhelmingly hospitable.
As I mentioned in my post about the Israeli Beer Expo, I have been welcomed into the Israeli food blogging community with much warmth by the friendliest gosh darn bunch of food-enthusiasts since my grandma Aurora’s canasta buddies (may they rest in peace). I don’t know if this is an Israel-thing, a Jewish-thing, or just a foodie-thing — but whatever it is, I’m not complaining. Recently Liz, of Cafe Liz and Sarah, of Food Bridge did posts on chocolate pudding, and I decided that since pudding is one of those desserts that I can easily make on my quaint little electric burner, it would be silly to pass up the inspiration.
Ari’s Deep Dark Chocolate Amaretto Pudding (with thanks to Liz!)
1 can (200 ml) coconut milk
2/3 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
generous 1/2 cup cocoa powder
2-3 Tbs amaretto (hazelnut liqueur)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
2 tsp agar-agar
Combine the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and water in a small pot and simmer, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, amaretto and agar-agar and bring to boil, stirring (do not walk away!). Take the mixture off the heat and pour into serving cups. Chill in the fridge for an hour or two and enjoy!