David Lebovitz’s French Chocolate Cake (the first month of lockdown)

14 January 2021

This post is part of a series that documents food-related memories from the year 2020, recounting the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic transformed our world.

March 2020

“We are advising everyone to work from home until further notice, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.” I reread that line, until further notice, before hitting send, imagining what a world without offices could look like. I guess we’re about to find out.

The week before, I had been tasked with writing our organization’s COVID-19 safeguarding policy, a job spec I never imagined I’d adopt.

Within days our gently-used, rustic cherry wood kitchen table had transformed into a scuffed up, coffee mug heat-stained, laptop holding co-working space, collecting a few more dents and scratches that now mark history into its grain.

My two-year old son starts banging drumsticks over a blanket-covered snare on our living room couch. I mute my laptop mic and shift my work station into the bathroom. David and I tag team parental responsibilities in between Teams Meetings.

I think it’s time to call it a day.

I return to the kitchen and unplug the laptop chargers that cover the counter tops. I just want to eat something completely indulgent. Something that will scream everything is different, that this is all absurd. A chocolate cake. Yes, I am making a chocolate cake at 4:30 in the middle of the week, for no apparent reason, because nothing makes sense right now.

I take comfort in focusing my mind on the recipe details, putting my hope in the words that tell me what will happen next, grounding my hands and feet, and returning to me a sense of control in a room full of ambiguity.

Recipe for David LeBovitz French Chocolate Cake can be found here.

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