|The Last Supper. The Village Den.|
The mural in this Greenwich Village coffee shop uses the Last Supper as a conceit—various notables and eccentrics gathered around three sides of that groaning board.
For a few years I'd eat at the Den once a week with a group of motleys. Less so now simply because things always change. Some of the motleys left the city, some left for a different coffee shop.
Let's cut to the chocolate pudding. It's not a dense pricey mousse. There are no curls of dark Belgian on top. Unlike my mom's this pudding has no skin. Remember trying to scoop from under the skin to avoid pudding theft detection? That pudding had a voice and the voice said, "I am a homemade desert." Added, "(Made from the mix in that little box.)"
Pudding is a meal, though the Village Den is pretty much the only eating establishment where I order chocolate pudding. When I'm low on funds I can still enjoy friends and get nourishment. Chocolate pudding has protein. It has chocolate.
The trick, however, concerns the whipped cream, and over time, V. and I perfected our nonverbal hints to the waiter--he's not to ask us. If our pudding arrives with whipped cream, V. and I look at each other and sigh.
What's a pudding eater to do? Nobly, resolutely, we dip on spoons into the soft, dark, sweet sludge of creamy bliss with a white flag of whipped submission.
Allen Ginsberg is on the mural. He must have had a thing for chocolate pudding. Maybe he bought some at that supermarket in California. Allen had a thing for a lot of things. He was a poet, by the way. Under the watchful eye of a poet who sometimes graced the Den, I hear the lyric song of the pudding. With a reminder of the Last Supper I allow to slip from spoon to tongue to metamorphic innards the blood and body of chocolate.
Chocolate pudding: "Are you my angel?"