Photo by Margaret Tung
To try Black Bean Chocolate Cake, click here for the recipe.
While I was living in New York last summer, I vowed to live as wholesomely as I could on the stipend I earned as a museum intern. I made free-range chicken. I went to the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market and bought greens, berries, apples, and yogurt. I tried.
I won't deny that living my life this way made me feel really good about myself--but it was hard to stick to. Every time I left the house, the sweet smell of waffles topped with strawberries, whipped cream, dulce de leche, hot fudge, and other toppings of your choice emanated from the Wafles and Dinges truck on 7th Avenue. I couldn't imagine surviving the sticky heat of a New York summer without giving in to the cool tartness of Yogo Monster or Pinkberry. The sad fact was, however, that neither of these treats fit into my summer plans to eat as locally and organically as possible.
I'll admit I slipped a few times. There were so many foods I loved that my newly developed ideals made me morally opposed to eating. And my wallet started wincing every time I needed groceries.
These two challenges became particularly acute when I was in the mood for dessert--organic sugar can be hard to find in mainstream supermarkets and chocolate, one of the most popular treats and flavors in the country, isn't local. Eggs--a staple in many recipes for baked goods--at first seem to be one of the more morally manageable ingredients. Not only are eggs a food staple in America, these days local egg producers with cage-free chickens that are grass-fed are more available to the public than they used to be, due to interest and demand.