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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Taste of Chocolate



It was a sweltering Saturday night in June when Pierre Devereux strolled into Madamé Vanilla, a swank restaurant and bakery on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan. As soon as he stepped through the bakery’s revolving door he was acknowledged by the stoic cashier manager who never seemed to crack a smile. The cashier wore a crisp black blazer, starched white dress-shirt and black bowtie. It was the signature apparel for all of the Madame’s carefully polished employees.


The manager was a middle-aged Latino man with a salt-and-pepper mustache and gold-rimmed eyeglasses. The nameplate on his lapel read “Juan,” but his reserved speech, and silent confidence, betrayed the makeup of a Don. Juan gave Pierre a cordial nod after he saw him at the bakery for the third time in the same week. Pierre nodded back, and then stepped to the counter. In a concentrated effort to cast a furtive lid over his bubbling excitement, Pierre calmly placed his order.

“Hello sir, I’d like a pineapple coconut layer cake.”
“Sure. Will that be all, sir?”
“Yes”
“That’ll be $69.95.”


Pierre handed the inscrutable cashier 70 dead faces, got his nickel, and moseyed out the door. When Pierre got home he went straight to his bedroom where he made himself comfortable. You can’t eat cake before you make yourself comfortable. As Pierre vigorously plowed through the vanilla with sweet reckless abandon it was like a cat chasing its tail, the Human Torch burning in hell, or crossing the Sahara on camelback, in the fruitless search for a waterless well. The coconut cake tasted great, but no matter how many times the cookie crumbled, there just weren’t enough nachos in the afro sheen. Pierre found himself locked in a moist and tender vortex of honeycombed hunger and despair. He needed a thicker and richer cake with more density, to rid his throbbing sweet-tooth of all of its angst and frustration.







That same night Pierre stopped by Yemaya’s Bakery, a quaint little spot located on 135th Street and Broadway in Spanish Harlem. This time he purchased a molten chocolate fudge deluxe layer cake. It was the very first time that he had tried it. When Pierre left the bakery with his box of hot fudge he heard the opening piano riff to Barry White’s “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Baby,” emanating from the foreground of the summer night’s street. “Zuh-zuh-zuh-zuh-zunggggggg…….zuh…zuh…zuh-zuh-zunggggggg.” Pierre calmly slid into his Trojan mustang with the Magnum interior before he burned rubber, and spurted off, into Dawn’s pearly night.

Pierre had already noticed a difference between the exotic fudge and the vanilla pineapple coconut cake. The dark fudge was heavier than the vanilla even though they were both the same size. Pierre found this somewhat odd, but never gave it much thought. Like a devout monk under a vow of celibacy, Pierre couldn’t give a fuck. He was more concerned with washing that chocolate cake down with some ice-cold milk before going to bed.


When Pierre got home he wasted no time figuratively, or “reel.” He darted into the kitchen, and dipped into his drawers, for the heavy titanium steel. Pierre was entranced by the delectable treat that Yemaya’s Bakery had made. He whipped it out, and cut into that cake with his long chunky blade. Pierre’s heart was set aflutter. His black soul began to sing. He ascended to paradise on a chocolate Pegasus flanked by pink, creamy wings. The lightning bolts under heaven’s waters flashed like razor-blazed grenades, or juicy raisins in dandelion baskets served by gorgeous sun maids.

Pierre was nearly halfway through his dessert when he could not eat another bite. The chocolate icing was as sweet as victory, filling his taste buds with delight. Pierre felt a surge of monstrous energy. Never before was he so electrified. A low calcium man, dripping with heavenly content, he couldn’t have been more satisfied.


After Pierre wiped the sweat from his brow he could only marvel at the powder-blue box that once encased his chocolate dream. With the pineapple coconut it seemed like the more Pierre ate, the more it drained his soul, leaving him hungrier than he was before. With the chocolate fudge layer cake, on the other hand, it appeared that the harder he plunged his fork, the more treasures he unearthed from his Poseidon adventure. The chocolate was a gracious gift that kept on giving. The exotic visions of African fudge wouldn’t budge from Pierre’s brain. His groovy excursion through the hall of records, in the deepest recesses of Patala, had him seeing the moon and stars, like the Ugandan giant, Kamala.



As Pierre picked his brain for a logical explanation it finally started to make sense. Yemaya’s chocolate fudge cake was carefully baked with love, heart, and soul. Yemaya bakes what she makes because she truly wants you to enjoy her cake. The vanilla pineapple coconut cake, on the other hand, was baked by a grossly overrated restaurant franchise for the sole purpose of profit and mass consumption. From that point on, Pierre decided to stick with the molten chocolate fudge deluxe. Yemaya remains supremely confident that if more Brothers  take the time to taste, and actually chew, her cake before they swallow it then they will do the same.