Becoming a Father is quite easy. Being one can be much more complicated. I’m quite sure Mr. Photographer didn’t expect to become a Father quite so soon, but he took to his new role with pride and determination. Bottles, diapers, nighttime waking, you name it, he did it. Many times the only thing I had to do at 3 a.m. was to attach the already changed baby to the boob and could continue to snooze, only to find out in the morning that *someone* had to detach him from the milk source at some point and take him back to his crib, because he was not next to me and I didn’t remember doing so.
And babies were just the beginning. Then there were slides, roller blades, and countless school projects I had absolutely no idea what to do about. You see, I have a confession to make. I am not artsy. At. All. I mean, I bake, and am able to do so reasonably well, but hand me scissors, and you risk I’m going to have a panic attack. So from the first day of school Mr. Photographer took all these things on his shoulders. I don’t know if he lovingly wanted to make my life easier, or was simply afraid the kid would fail the class if he didn’t, but honestly, I don’t really care. I hate scissors. And needles. And glue.
But that’s still not all. You know how they say that home is an oasis of peace? Well, not quite. At least not all the time. I don’t care to count how many times Mr. Photographer walked in the door in the evening and stepped right into a heated Mother – son squabble. I’m sure it wasn’t what he’d prefer, but he took my hand, walked me into an empty room, sat me down, and closed the door behind him. And then he found his son and dealt with whatever problem we were passionately discussing. I’m telling you, in such moments it’s very handy to have someone who can actually, you know, think 🙂 Not just feel.
He taught them to ride their bikes. He explained how to calculate the vertex of a parabola and the probability that two brown-eyed parents will have a blue-eyed kid. But more importantly, he taught them to get off their butts and do the work, even if they didn’t feel like it. He taught them that things don’t have to be perfect, but it’s important to try. He taught them it’s OK to rest, which is something their Mother the locomotive still doesn’t know all that well. I either go full speed ahead or crash big time because I forgot where the brakes are. He taught them that women are not men; that when a woman talks, a man needs to look at her; and sometimes the best thing for him to do is to hand her a bar of chocolate and leave her alone.
Fathers just have a way of putting everything together. They are our rocks and our lightning rods. If we don’t understand, they come and figure it out, time and time again. So here it is to Mr. Photographer – the best Father my sons ever had 🙂 Thanks, Dad. We love you to pieces 🙂
Salted Peanut Chocolate Caramel Cups
(adapted from http://www.davidlebovitz.com)
- 340 g (12 oz.) best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (if making the cups for someone who’s gluten – intolerant, make sure the chocolate is gluten – free)
- ½ cup (125 g; 4 oz.) salted peanut caramel
- flaky sea salt
Salted peanut caramel:
- 1 cup (250 ml; 8 oz.) heavy cream
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup (200 g; 7 oz.) white sugar
- pinch salt
- ¾ cup (100 g; 3.5 oz.) roasted salted peanuts, chopped
+ about 20 small paper or foil baking cups
- First, make the salted peanut caramel: Combine the sugar with water and salt in a deep pan, and heat it up. Cook on a medium heat, swirling gently only if necessary, until the water evaporates and the sugar turns nice golden brown. Do not stir; stirring encourages crystallization.
- While the sugar syrup cooks, heat the heavy cream until hot. Set aside.
- When the sugar turned to caramel, remove it from heat and carefully add hot cream. The mixture will sizzle (you need a deep pan, so that the caramel – cream mixture won’t boil over at this point). Stir gently until combined and smooth.
- Let cool slightly and stir in the chopped peanuts. Chill until ready to use. (The salted peanut caramel can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed.)
- Make the chocolate cups: Over a water bath, melt the chocolate, stirring constantly.
- Spoon the chocolate into the cups, covering the bottom and sides (I used a paintbrush for this). When the chocolate is set, add a dab of salted peanut butter caramel into each cup, and cover it with more melted chocolate.
- Sprinkle some flaky salt on top and chill until set.
The salted peanut caramel recipe makes more caramel than is needed for the cups. I never bother to halve the recipe and simply make more, adding peanuts to portion of it; and keep the rest in the fridge. It is wonderful in coffee or drizzled over ice cream! When needed, just heat it up a little until pourable and enjoy.