I personally am famous for botching these commercial holidays with my own angsty over-analyzation of food coloring and crappy candy and paper waste and obligatory spending. Which is where you could say something gentle and loving to me like, “hey, look how excited Rosie is to deliver her handmade cards!” And truly, it was so sweet watching Col and Rose create their own Valentines Day cards for their classmates, like good little American kids who didn’t actually have roadkill gumbo in their lunch thermoses.
I’ve been noticing lately how much my kids want to be normal. They love the cauliflower pizza crust I make, but they desperately want to pretend it doesn’t have cauliflower in it. (It has become an issue we skirt around; apparently we can openly discuss politics, religion and sex, but not cauliflower). Rose walked in the door with a friend recently and sighed when she saw Dan at the table carving up a roadkill deer, as if the night before she hadn’t been a baby bird squawking, open-mouthed, for that very same animal’s grilled backstrap. She is concerned with having a Daddy who might at any point smell like deer brains.
As Col and Rose get older, they’ve become a little more heartbreakingly self-conscious. There’s no more cross-dressing and parading around the house. The backyard is no longer a nudist colony for small, ecstatic people. They believe there are “boy colors” and “girl colors.” It’s a little heartbreaking (and seems at least partially due to the 2 days/week they go to the fishbowl of self-comparing that public school can be), but also, I realize, a normal part of growing up.
I console myself with the knowledge that Dan was a toe-the-line jock for much of his school days, and now he’s looking for any opportunity to dance around wearing elk hoof-rattles on his ankles while singing one of his self-composed hunting chants.
I think I know how this works. Kids need to explore what shimmers unfamiliarly on the horizon (which in Rose’s case are the single-serve, peel-top, key lime pie yogurts while a half-gallon of homemade yogurt appears wholesomely and routinely in our fridge every week.) Col and Rose will bob out into new territory while an invisible, symbolic tether anchors them always to home, to family. They will voyage out seeking normalcy, and we will lovingly wave from our unconventional home, while elk and deer bones simmer on the stove. And they will circle back around, eventually.
These truffles are safe for Valentines Day; they’re completely normal by anyone’s standards. No masquerading kale bits, or bone broth-soaked walnuts. They are insanely delicious: nutty and date-sweetened on the inside, with rich, silky chocolate on the outside.
Ingredients (makes about 16 truffles; takes approx 30 minutes to make)
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1-2 TBSP melted coconut oil (butter would probably be OK)
For the chocolate coating:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 – 1/2 cup cream or half and half (add slowly).
1/4 cup sugar
4 TBSP butter (or coconut oil)
pinch of salt
OR you can melt a chocolate bar
Blend walnuts, dates and coconut flakes in food processor until it becomes a uniform paste-like consistency. Roll into firm, small balls and place on cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Next, gently heat the butter, cocoa powder, sugar, cream and salt, whisking as it melts. Remove from heat and dip each walnut-date ball into the chocolate, using a spoon. When balls are coated with chocolate, place on wax paper. Place truffles in fridge for one hour. Store truffles in fridge.