Vanity Fair: Bleeker Street

IMG_2904 This recipe makes one serving.

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 heaping spoon dark cocoa powder (I am still using my stash of Pernigotti from Williams-Sonoma, but it has been discontinued)

Put water on to boil. While it boils, heat up your milk. I put mine in the microwave for at least two minutes, to make sure it’s very hot. Put the sugar and the cocoa in your mug, and when the water boils, pour in just enough–only a tablespoon or two–to mix up a thick, dark sludge in the bottom of the cup. Pour the hot milk over, and mix thoroughly. Drink up while it’s still steaming.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the Pillivuyt chocolate pot (scroll down to see it) for years now, but had never been able to justify the price. Happy me when, a few weeks ago, I discovered, which sells a similar pot at a much more reasonable price. I ordered immediately, and you see the pot above and below.


The stick is called the muddler, and it is used to whip the chocolate into the milk. You run it back and forth between your hands as if trying to start a camp fire.

I love the idea of drinking chocolate. It has an interesting place in Western culture because it’s the only stimulating drink I can think of that has never been the focus of a genre of public house. On the alcoholic side of things, there have always been taverns, wine bars, and cocktail bars, all waxing and waning in popularity through time and across countries. Non-alcoholically, tea rooms had their hayday and I hope are now making a comeback, and coffee houses are both currently and historically popular. Dr. Johnson hung around coffee houses, and in Vanity Fair poor Mr. Sedley goes there for his “slabs of paper and cups of ink” every day.

Chocolate, on the other hand, is private. In Vanity Fair, women with pretensions drink it for breakfast. For example, “Miss Crawley, be it known, did not leave her room until near noon–taking chocolate in bed in the morning, while Becky Sharp read the Morning Post to her, or otherwise amusing herself or dawdling.” And later when Becky acquires her own domestic slave, “He carried the letter, as he did all difficulties, to Becky, upstairs in her bedroom–with her chocolate, which he always made and took to her of a morning.”

Somehow, I’d gotten these two passages conflated in my head, and further gotten confused by the memory of Becky reading French novels to Miss Crawley. I’d been laboring under the impression that, in her prosperous days, Becky spent her mornings in bed, drinking chocolate and reading French novels. I was wrong. It was a delightful fantasy anyway, and I had it in mind when I decided to cut into my Bleeker Street fat quarters and make a chocolate set, to go with the pot and the French coupes (bought at Target).


There are four napkins with rickrack edging, and a tray mat that is reversible with beaded edges. I made it by tracing around the tray with a disappearing-ink pen, then sewing right around the line. One loses enough size in turning it that it fits comfortably inside.


I still have six of the fat quarters left. I’ve been toying with the idea of quilting two of them together and making a chocolate-pot-cozy, which would be complicated, silly, and delightful. I might, on the other hand, extend this into a tea set by making a tea cozy (less complicated, less silly, less delightful) and a hot pad. We’ll see. My poor workroom is half packed up at this point, and who knows when I’ll have the presence of mind to unpack and organize it at the other house.

Would you believe that I have four Rubbermaid bins plus three more packing boxes full of yarn?


2 thoughts on “Vanity Fair: Bleeker Street

  1. I just came across your blog. My husband has had the same advisor for his Masters and PhD and even has the same things to say about him: he leaves him alone except when he doesn’t want to be left alone. There aren’t many people doing what he does anyway so there was no point in moving around.

    Also, we have both be taken with watching Jeeves & Wooster lately which we have been able to get from the library. I think we will start on the books next – it’s the dialogue that is just so wonderful.

  2. Oh! Those all turned out soooo cute! I’m in love with blues and browns together lately 🙂 Hope the house is treating you well!

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