root cellar

A cabin in the woods and a chocolate fountain

By KRISTIN BARRON
Posted 9/16/20

It started in June when my husband, John, announced, yet again, that he was abandoning civilization. He said he was moving to the woods. Such was his Henry David Thoreau inspired response to many …

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root cellar

A cabin in the woods and a chocolate fountain

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It started in June when my husband, John, announced, yet again, that he was abandoning civilization. He said he was moving to the woods. Such was his Henry David Thoreau inspired response to many weeks of Zoom meetings and remote teaching amid the pandemic. To be sure, we were in the company of many on-edge people across the nation suddenly thrust into the new, frustrating realm of telework. But there was another side to his plan, no doubt brought on by the austerity of quarantine—one that would certainly not have been endorsed by the frugal, rice and vegetable eating Thoreau.

John wanted a chocolate fountain. It could go in his rustic cabin, he said. Yes, a chocolate fountain. Like the one my niece had at her wedding with a motor that makes a veritable waterfall of chocolate. A cascade of indulgent, creamy richness. Life would feel complete with a chocolate fountain in his solitary hut, he told me and my nephew, Gary, that Friday afternoon.

Well, all we have right now are a few stray chocolate chips lingering in the vegetable drawer on the right-hand side of the fridge, I said.

This week, John’s quirky, chocolate dream came true when Gary arrived with a three-tiered chocolate fountain (AKA fondue fountain) in the back of his pick-up truck. It was something like a trophy buck in hunting season. He had found the fountain in a box along the street near his girlfriend’s home and had rescued it from the Media, PA trash pick-up. It was brand new, just in a shabby box kicked to the curb. “His life can be complete or whatever it was he said,” Gary said.

What a find. And lucky for us that Gary went back to retrieve the instruction booklet left with the fountain. I like to think Thoreau would be proud of my nephew’s thrift and resourcefulness, at the very least. Especially since Thoreau, himself, liked to sneak off to his mother’s house for a meal featuring his mother’s cookies and pies.

We set up our new chocolate fountain on a recent Saturday night when my great nieces came for a visit. The little girls were almost excited as John to see the fountain set up and in working order. The fountain works with a water auger or “Archimedes Screw,” which was invented by the ancient Egyptians to transfer water from low lying pools into irrigation ditches.

With an array of treats including marshmallows, Lorna Doone cookies, animal crackers, pretzels, strawberries and mini cream puffs, we drizzled and dipped. We all enjoyed trying the various morsels of food dipped in the melted, sweet and savory chocolate. For our first foray into the world of fountain chocolate, we used Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips.

And if life was not made complete, it was at least made a little sweeter and richer for the adventure and the thoughtfulness and company of our family.

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