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  • Writer's pictureEllen Gardner

Chocolate mousse: the enemy of perfection

On a humid summer’s day, I’m reading about the host of a garden party ladling out chocolate mousse, what one guest describes as, “cool, silky and so light is disappeared in your mouth like cotton candy.” I was so immersed in imagining this chocolatey delight I barely noticed what was immediately apparent to the writer - a bright cloud of whipped egg whites that hadn’t been incorporated into the chocolate.

Oh boy. To some chefs this would be disaster. But not for this chef, who looked at the egg whites and laughed.

She said she preferred it this way, adding that it was better to have pockets of egg whites than to fold them in so thoroughly that the mousse deflates.

Even if you’re not a cook and would prefer to eat chocolate mousse than make it, this chef’s ‘perfect is the enemy of good’ approach is one we should all take to heart in our writing. Describing it, she said, “The moment you’re afraid of doing something, it paralyzes you.”

When you make the goal perfection, you’re putting a tight wire around something that is straining to be free. Really, there should be nothing to fear in writing, except for maybe not writing.

There are endless ways to produce a piece, but what you should be striving for is your way. Preparation is still important but once you start, relax into it, write without boundaries, and don’t worry about the little bits of egg whites that are still there. Your readers probably won’t even notice.

If you do love chocolate mousse, here’s the recipe!

Have a great day.

~ Ellen

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