When the going gets tough…

…the tough get chocolate.

We are celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday tomorrow (a couple weeks late) with a family dinner at her house (our house? The house we grew up in). My brother will make spaghetti (if we’re lucky, with the incredible bolognese sauce that takes forever to make but is so darn good). I’m contributing the cake — the most decadent one I ever make, and probably downright dangerous because it uses raw eggs. But it never fails to delight. (As the description in the book says, “Layers of cookies and mousse, oh my.”)

The recipe is from my favorite cookbook — Three Rivers Cookbook III — now tattered because I’ve used it so much. I got it as a housewarming present when I bought my first house almost 20 years ago. It’s a gem — the best of the 4 in the Three Rivers Cookbook series. My go-to, never-fails-me kitchen savior.


Mom and I have been going through a rough patch. The great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania randomly picked her to undergo a driving “audit” of sorts (drivers 40 and over are eligible for this random audit), so she had to get an eye exam and physical before they would renew her license. Perfect, I thought, maybe THIS is how we can keep her from driving anymore. The notice came while she was laid up in the hospital with her ankle, so I put it aside, after casually mentioning it to her (knowing she wouldn’t remember).

Months later, it resurfaced, as her driver’s license neared expiration (on her birthday). She had already started driving again (against all our wishes), so was quite irate to learn her license was going to expire and “no one had told her about it.” It was terrible we all wanted her to be “housebound.” When I refused to help her get the necessary exams, she did it on her own, with the help of a few co-conspirators (and a totally clueless PCP). And she was downright pissed at me, and still is.

So, my fellow Pennsylvanians, once the photo card arrives from the state (and once someone takes her to get the photo) you will have another 90-year-old on the road. All I can say is, if you’re tooling around the North Hills and see a little blonde-white head peeking over the steering wheel of a purple PT Cruiser (yep, this was the car she chose after my dad died — mostly for the color), steer clear.

But back to the cake. Since I’m the youngest in my family, with no kids, I can’t even allow myself to HOPE someone will make me chocolate mousse cake on my 90th birthday…but…I guess ya just never know.

Here’s what it looks like pre-unveiling. I’ll try to remember to take one post-. Quick like, before it’s just a chocolaty-good memory.

All I really need is love,
but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!
                                       ~ Lucy Van Pelt (aka Charles Schulz)