Besides food and eating there is one more subject I am very interesting in (and that is anyhow connected to food): metamorphoses. Especially those transformations between humans and animals that can be used as an allegory for social behavior and human communication in general. A few days ago, I read Metamorphoseon, a novel written by Apuleius Madauriensis. It is a story about a man who became a donkey and it can be understood as a comment on Socrates assertion that anyone who excessively eat and drink would be transformed into a donkey or another similar animal species.
The man who became a donkey in Apuleius’ novel must go through various adventures with his previous human consciousness, but without his human voice nor gestures. Once a wealthy man, Lucius as a donkey now having the opportunity to observe humans from the outside is used as a pack animal and is frequently hit crucially by his owners. Without language, he becomes a real outcast and witness of violent human behavior such as slaves and animals abuse, robbery, adultery etc. After many dangerous and hard situations the donkey has had to hold out, Lucius runs away and meets the goddess Isis who had promises to help him. In order to get his original human form the donkey has to eat roses. To show Isis his gratitude for re-transforming him and bring him back to the community, Lucius decides to serve her for the rest of his life. Together with her and her husband Osiris, Lucius learns the mysticism and magic…
The last months I spent writing my master thesis and my everyday life changed a lot, the last few weeks, in particular. Basically I was only writing, reading, practicing yoga and sleeping. No cooking longer than 30 minutes, no meeting friends, no cleaning, no reading something else… I felt a little bit like a monk. On the one hand I was feeling really good enjoying and completely focusing on what I do, but on the other hand it was very weird watching myself doing hop on hop of from my yoga mat to my working desk. Once in a while I crawled out of my room, just like a cavewoman, searching for some food. All in all I became an outsider, unable to talk, but only able to write and read. I often thought of Aristoteles, when he said that the one who doesn’t participate in the community in any possible way, is either an animal or a god. In spite of becoming a social human being again, one day I came into my kitchen, took a box with dried roses and in manner of goddess Isis I created this magic cake that transformed me back into a regular witch.
Flour-free chocolate cake with raspberries and roses
Ingredients (for a baking form 20×20 cm):
1 cup nut butter (I used almond butter, but peanut butter would also be a bomb!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tsp rose water
50 g coconut sugar (or raw cane sugar- succanat). Add more if you like it sweeter. I did`t try, but honey could work too, i think.
1/2 tsp salt
100 g dark chocolate (70 % cocoa), roughly chopped
150 g raspberries, washed
50 g pistachios, roughly chopped
dried rose petals, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 160 C.
2. In larger bowl wish eggs and vanilla extract together. Add coconut sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. Slowly add the nut butter and using a fork stir to fold together. To this very thick dough add the chocolate, while gently stirring.
3. Press the dough equally into a baking paper-lined baking form.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the baking form completely before cutting.
5. Garnish with fresh raspberries, chopped pistachios and dried rose petals.