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My balls are shrinking. Age, like cold water, morphs my GUTS into small and shivering little nuts.

I was an adventurous and stupidly brave kid who would climb trees and roofs of garages with my older brother’s friends, despite an ever-growing collection of bruises and boo-boos all over my limbs. I was the one whose back all the girly girls would use for shelter hiding from the boys who wanted to pinch their arms and pull their plaits when we were all in second grade. I was the one to stand up to a teacher when the whole class felt mistreated and no one would rise to speak for themselves. I was also the one to scratch my Russian teacher’s car (she was an old and grumpy Pole who taught Russian) with my house keys at the age of 11 when the woman called me a STINKY BUM in front of my entire class for not having memorized new vocabulary SHE HAD NEVER TOLD US TO!

No, I’m not so proud of the latter. At least now I’ll know what to teach my kids NOT to do, specifically. Scratching your Russian teacher’s car with your keys will lead to everlasting shame and will potentially ruin your only chance to enter your own house. At least until parents come home. I can always prevent this from happening by NOT enrolling my kid in Russian classes. Instead, let’s focus on mastering your mama’s native tongue my child  – Polish.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the FEAR. The fear that has emerged out of a thick fog as I entered my thirties. Flying has never made me feel like being on top of the world. There used to be a thrill associated with that activity, but frankly, when younger I would get excited just as much when riding a shopping cart across a super market. Ok, that still is a source of a massive glee. In order to fly, however, without breaking into a showering sweat I need a sedative.

Last weekend, when we were flying to San Francisco, one shot of Patron helped me loosen up enough to cheerfully enter the tunnel leading up to the plane. Right at the door of the machine there were standing two police officers and chatting with an older couple. Apparently they were escorting a passenger who got warped in a loop of time and was not sure where he was anymore. However, as I walked up to the group, all I heard was:

HE WAS IN TOKYO TWO DAYS AGO, THEN HE WAS ON TWO OTHER FLIGHTS SINCE AND NOW SUFFERES FROM INSOMNIA. HE HASN’T SLEPT IN THREE DAYS AND IS AWFULLY CONFUSED.

I looked at the police officer TERRIFIED and asked with crawling panic in my chest:

I HOPE YOU’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT OUR PILOT!

An explosive of laughter tore the air around and strangely enough that sound instantly comforted my shaken insides, a loud sigh escaped my wide-open mouth.

After a wonderful and unintentionally romantic weekend in Napa we found ourselves at the airport all over again. Our flight was delayed two hours due to the weather. The only way I knew how to keep my composure was to hit a bar next to our gate and sip on a perfectly chilled Blue Moon with a slice of an orange tucked on the rim of the glass, while I read through Michael Pollan’s food rules he had recently put into a book by the same title. Thirty-two ounces of the golden nectar later I was perfectly joyful and frankly could not stop laughing, for any reason and at anything. I was ready to board.

Before I knew it, Tuesday rolled in and we quietly dispersed back to our offices. Since lunch wasn’t provided at my work that day, as all the big shots (a.k.a. producers) were absent, I drove back home to let Cosmo out and had about fifteen minutes to feed myself. I opened the fridge and heard the wheels turning in my head. It only took seconds and I had the plan.

Two slices of bread with a thin layer of butter, a few slices of Fontina and a tomato went into a toaster oven. Two eggs were cracked, one after another, yolks separated, and then dropped gently onto a hot skilled greased with butter and olive oil. I seasoned the eggs with chili powder, sea salt, black pepper, and let them set. As soon as the bread was ready, I slid one SUNNY-SIDE-UP on top of each toast, garnished it with a fresh basil leaf and a few slices of fresh avocado. A handful of baby carrots completed that landscape art on my plate.

The bread with melted cheese and toasted tomato was embedded within the frames of the perfectly crunchy crust. I broke the egg yolk with the tip of my knife and let it ooze all over that open sandwich like a warm mist on my face during a facial treatment.

Oh, the delectable bliss.

Fifteen minutes on the dot. Prepared and consumed. Done. Haul my arse back to work.

I have this ridiculously decadent recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies that Jason won’t let me make… dammit!

He simply doesn’t trust himself around anything chocolate, especially if it’s merged with peanut butter (or even sat next to it for that matter), as he knows both his poise and self-control would instantly strip naked and offer themselves in exchange for the aforementioned delight.

Unfortunately, it puts me in a very awkward situation on days like today when, after 48 hours of mood swings due to estrogen overdose I’m stuck in the wall teeth first…  In desperate times nothing can stop me from satisfying my various PMS cravings, plaster included. One day it’s calcium, then iron, and most commonly magnesium. When the levels of the latter deplete, my mind goes blank for a split of a second, and when I recover my senses I realize the control panel in my head has turned on the red emergency light that flashes: CHOCOLATE.

NOTHING will prevent me from finding a piece of chocolate and holding on to it with the whole might of my jaws, like a rat that escaped from a sinking ship clenching to a raft with all that it’s got – nails, tails, teeth, harpoons, anchors, etc. Nothing, not even the stack of brand new jeans (two sizes down from the last pair I purchased mind you!) recently piled up in my closet, will stop me from satisfying THE craving.

Those jeans will stick around and I’m determined to use them as long as they fully cover my ass. One day their status will become a reminder of my “pre-pregnancy weight”. (Thanks, Heather, for your post. I’m learning so much ahead of time!) On those days I’ll be desperate to get the chocolate OUT of the grasp of my jaws, and lock it away in a chocolate jail with no option for a bail out.

Until then, however, play that funky music, white boy! Give me some of that rich and bittersweet chocolaty bite that will melt on my tongue and coat it with sheer satisfaction. I know my heart rate will rise, shivers will run down my spine, and I’ll salivate releasing serotonins that will ultimately take me to the peak of that mountain called O. Meanwhile, perfectly oblivious to all of it, Jason will continue to put out various work related fires instead of going on this hike with me… if you know what I mean.

How might I satiate this craving when the house is chocolate proof and the closest thing to sweets I can find is a half empty jar of Dijon mustard in the refrigerator? My eyes hopelessly slide down the carton of eggs, pickles, sliced turkey, my cheese-less pesto… EGGS! I got it! Suddenly it all comes together and I know what steps to take to get me to my Happy Ending!

The answer is… KOGEL-MOGEL. I’m going back to my roots again. Kogel-Mogel is – I assure you – a real word and not an Agi-ism. It is a Polish name for a kind of mousse we used to make back in the day when sweets were scarce, and all one could find on shelves in a grocery store was vinegar. Yes, it was a very different world from everything you know.

To make Kogel-Mogel you need at least one egg, 2-3 tsp of sugar, and as much of cocoa powder, plus a mug and a teaspoon to mix it all with. If you’re lazy, or want to get fancy, go ahead and grab your handheld mixer – life is hard enough as it is. Now, separate the egg white from the yolk. Save the egg white for later in a closed container inside of your refrigerator. You can use it tomorrow for the Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Acorn Squash for example, or merengues, or whatever else you want.

Drop the egg yolk into the prearranged mug, add the sugar and whip it together using the mixer. It will take a couple of minutes until the sugar is fully incorporated, thus making the egg yolk fluffy and thick at the same time. It will at least double if not triple in volume. Now turn off the mixer and add your cocoa powder (70% and organic is my preference). Whip it again for 30 seconds and YOU ARE DONE, my friend!

Chocolate Kogel Mogel

Go ahead and lick the mixing whisk… clean it good. You don’t have much in that mug, so take your time and dress your tongue with small servings of the chocolate mousse you’ve just made. Delight in it. Close your eyes, open your mouth and feel the pleasure with all your senses. Start climbing that mountain, and don’t look back. The world will pause and observe with envy as you get higher and higher. Forget the world, let go, breathe, relax, moan, and be free… Experience the O.

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