The thing that’s the best about going to a real home where real grown-ups live is, inevitably, the very full refrigerator and pantry. When I go home to Gap, there are always, always, always, gallons of milk, purple grapes, fresh fruit, delicious leftovers, ice cream, tortilla chips, frozen pizzas, my favorite kind of jelly, three different types of mustard, whipped cream, and so on and so forth. It’s comforting; it’s filling. Tanner’s house was the same. When I lived on my own in law school, I had to share a refrigerator with a bunch of other people I didn’t know (I rented a studio apartment with a shared kitchen). Accordingly, the ingredients I had to work with in cooking dinner were sparse. I always thought that when we had our own house, we’d have our own similarly full refrigerator.
That’s turned out to not quite be the case. The things that always seemed to be ubiquitous in my parents’ kitchen have not magically appeared in our kitchen. I’m not, of course, talking about the staples—milk, fruit, vegetables, beans, cheese, etc.—but the fun stuff. You know: mozzarella sticks, frozen pizzas, whipped cream, unlimited tortilla chips, frozen pretzels, microwave popcorn, etc. For some reason, we have not shown the ability to go to the store and think to ourselves, “You know, there’s a good football game three weeks from now, and I bet mozzarella sticks would taste really good then,” and then buy that snack. I’m not sure how other people manage to accomplish such feats.
The thing is, though, our lack of planning, foresight, and general grocery-shopping know-how has resulted in some legitimately amazing discoveries. Stove-popped popcorn was the first such discovery. Today, we discovered a second: homemade, real, hot chocolate (our hot chocolate actually looked exactly what it looks like in the picture).
As you probably know, since most of the East Coast is sharing in this blizzard, today is a snow day. The federal government shut down, as did Tanner’s court. It’s our first mutual snow day. After a long romp around the streets of Mt. Vernon (it looks like we got about 8-10 inches of snow), we returned to our abode, tired and cold. This is when I started thinking longingly of snow days past where we’d return from our sledding to my mom’s warm, delicious, hot chocolate. We, of course, had no box of Nestle hot chocolate mix, a box I don’t think my mom’s pantry has ever lacked.
The thing is, though, what exactly is hot chocolate but milk and chocolate? Milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips we have a’plenty. So like the hardy and resourceful souls that we are, we consulted the internet. After concluding our research, we put three cups of milk in this slightly strange pot (it came with the Calphalon pot set, but we’re not quite sure what to do with it–it looks like you’d make pudding or custard in it) and warmed it up on the stove. Once it seemed like it was pretty warm, we added a handful of chocolate chips, a bunch of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. We stirred it all together, and we waited a bit longer. Eventually, the chips were melted, and the milk was hot. It turned out there was enough for both of us to have a huge, steaming mug of hot chocolate. It was the best hot chocolate I’d ever had (no joke).
We’ll probably never manage to have a real person’s refrigerator or pantry. But as long as the internet exists, and we keep on buying the staples, I think we may just be able to cook ourselves out of our shortcomings (I found what looks to be a most delicious recipe for homemade soft pretzels—it turns out all you need is flour, yeast, egg, honey and salt!). Who knew it could be that easy?
- Take three cups of milk and pour it in the pan. If you want to be like us, use all skim milk. It will still be delicious. If you want to do what everybody else on the internet says to do, use 1.5 cups of skim milk and 1.5 cups of half and half. If you’re like us, and don’t have half and half in your Spartan refrigerator, just use all skim milk but put a tablespoon of butter in the milk to substitute for the half and half.
- Turn the stove on low.
- Once the milk is heated (stick your finger in the milk to check it out), put in a handful of chocolate chips (somewhere around ¼ cup).
- Add a bunch of cinnamon (less than ½ tablespoon) and a dash of nutmeg (less than ½ a teaspoon).
- Stir it all together.
- When you stick your finger in it, and it feels appropriately hot, and steam is coming up off the stove, turn the stove off.
- Drink it.