Living life with a mentally ill person is difficult, especially if she’s so close, esepcially if she’s your mom. Jerry Pinto’s autobiographical novel, Em and the big Hoom is about suffering, it is endearing and touching and funny too.
It sure takes courage to write about it. People talk, they say all sorts of things. How could you write about a loved one for the money? How could you write about ‘shame’? But perhaps it’s a kind of catharsis, this writing. It saves you and heals others.
Not in the whole wide world is it easy to imagine the trauma that a mentally ill person and their family members go through. The mentally ill are stigmatized and society disclaims them as mad or retarded. If only we’d realize that this is an illness like any other, like diabetes or osteoporosis. It’s nobody’s fault, especially not the one who suffers. Anyone, you, me or somebody else could fall prey.
Your serotonin and dopamine levels play havoc and no one, least of all you know what to do about them. Sometimes family and friends think you’re ok and all is well, but then disaster strikes.
But I can also tell you that sometimes, love wins the day. It is difficult, but love and care and support do win the day.
Does the illness creep in through your genes or is the devastation caused by environmental factors, or both? Depression, bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia, doctors say they’re genetic but.. a hundred questions, science still doesn’t have answers.
In the book Em and her family drink tea by the gallons. Em, the mom has a sweet tooth. She loves to douse her tea with spoonfuls of sugar and eat chocolates and mithai.
These very chocolatey muffins are made in memory of Em. She would have delighted in the loads of chocolate in them.
The recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking, From My Home To Yours.
Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins
You can call them muffins or cupcakes, whatever you like, and anytime is a good time to eat these full of chocolate muffins, at breakfast, tea, or maybe even as a sweetdish.
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 150 gms bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups all purpose or plain flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbspn baking powder
- 1/2 tspn baking soda or soda bicarb
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the muffin molds in the muffin pan or fit them with paper muffin cups.
Mix the butter and half the chocolate in a thick bottomed pan and melt over a saucepan of simmering water. Or, melt in a microwave.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium sized bowl whisk the egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract until well combined.
Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted chocolate and butter onto the dry ingredients and mix lightly and quickly. Don’t worry if there are some lumps in the batter. But don’t overmix the batter.
Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. And divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cups.
Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean. Remove the muffin pan from the oven, transfer to a rack, cool for 5 minutes and then remove the muffins from their molds.
This beautiful song then, True Colours, for God’s specially loved ones.