Susan Orlean has a new book out! Her previous book The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup was a perfectly enchanting collection of her columns.
Mexican Ibarra chocolate is probably the only reason I make it through the winter months. If you are not familiar with the yellow octagonal one pound box, it is worth a try and it's ridulously inexpensive (less than $3.25).
Made using raw sugar and the authentic mexican vanillia it has a deeply exotic smell and leaves a residual heavenly sludge on the floor of the cup that must be licked out, one way or another. If you have a stick blender (which I got for Christmas -thanks, Bunny - ) you can avoid this and get it extra frothy, but the sludge is particularly yummy.
If you can't find this in your supermarket with the baking chocolate or in the latin section, go check under the hot chocolate beverage section and curse the marketer who shoved it one to very top shelf to promoted some icky hershey product at eye level.
To my delight I have found the individual disks in the box are now packed in airtight bags, allowing one to dig out the dumpling rolling pin and bash the hell out of the unopened packet, avoiding the tedium and mess of chopping. To say nothing of the release of agression.