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Chocolate²: The Einstein-Saatchi Connection

August 7, 2008

Chocolate Saves Lives! Scientists finally caught on to what the rest of us have known for centuries — that the velvety brown wonder can reduce blood pressure, bad cholesterol, boost your memory, clear your skin, and just make you happy. But before we digress, I put to you the Einstein-Saatchi connection.

In 1905, Albert Einstein sent shockwaves through the scientific community by stringing three simple letters together: E = MC². His theory of relativity launched the twenty-first century and its bastard child the atom bomb. And while Al got all the credit, as is often the case with celebrated men, there was a woman whose contributions have been forgotten by history. (Don’t worry, we’re getting to the chocolate part, I promise.)

Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Maric, was a mathematician, physicist, and amateur cook who Einstein once described as “a creature who is my equal.” Recent archival material unearthed by a Swiss history graduate student at the University of Bern suggests that it was Maric in fact, who originated the famous formula. One stormy night, after a late study session grappling with the origins of the universe followed by whipping up dinner for her husband, Maric apparently scrawled on the couple’s kitchen wall E = MC². After returning from his job at the patent office, Einstein found a dinner of fondue and chocolate soufflé that Maric had set out for him. While reading the funny pages and nibbling on dessert, his eyes wandered to Maric’s handiwork on the wall and he reportedly exclaimed, “Ecstasy = Moist Chocolate Squared.” Maric would later explain to him the intricacies of energy transfer that won him a Nobel Prize, but at that moment, Einstein’s mind was on chocolate.

Enter Charles Saatchi. You may know him as the advertising baron who gave the British Margaret Thatcher and the art tycoon that spawned a shark sliced up in formaldehyde. Saatchi also loves chocolate and claims that he invented the modern English chocolate bar and chocolate loaf, in between anointing Damien Hirst a British Bad Boy. But—just like Dr. Einstein—there is an extraordinary woman at home reworking his palette and inventing gastronomical wonders. Her name is Nigella Lawson and she cooks the way I aspire to, with a improvisational flair that makes magic out of raw ingredients. Nigella knows chocolate and she’s created something so simple, rich, dense, and delicious that the British may name a holiday after her if Mr. Saatchi doesn’t try to steal the credit. And all with three simple letters E = MC². No this isn’t about atom bombs but rather Einstein’s proclamation that your stomach will be in ecstasy with moist chocolate squared.

Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf (recommended for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner)

For recipe…

From Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess

1 cup unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I cheated and added 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (mix into the flour in advance)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
9 x 5 inch loaf pan (buttered and then lined with parchment paper)

Preheat the oven 375 F. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Next fold in melted chocolate, then add flour/baking soda mixture, alternating spoon by spoon with boiling water (I forgot to alternate and it worked out fine). Pour into lined loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes on top of a cookie sheet to catch drips. Turn oven down to 325 F for another 15 minutes. The cake will be still be moist when done so don’t bother with a toothpick and don’t fret when it sinks in the middle. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. G.I. Jew permalink
    August 8, 2008 6:16 pm

    I think the only sensible thing to do here is to pretend that I NEVER SAW THIS. I am slowly backing away from the computer right now…

  2. Amy permalink
    August 8, 2008 6:35 pm

    Where’s mine? Better whip some up in the next six hours….

  3. August 9, 2008 3:37 am

    You ate the whole thing, huh?

  4. lastomach permalink*
    August 9, 2008 4:17 pm

    I share with the wife of course. But it was consumed for breakfast, then a little at lunch, afternoon snack, an appetizer, and an after dinner indulgence…

  5. cathy permalink
    August 14, 2008 8:23 am

    I have made that cake , good isn’t it ! Have you made her London Cheescake , Its great need to get the water bath bit right otherwise floury cheesecake , yuk!


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