Monday, February 25, 2008

Keep Off the Grass

Once you have your first taste of chocolate there's no going back! From the beginning it was never anything but obsession. I don't remember much of my first candy experience but I sure as hell remember my first chocolate bar. 

My great grand parents used to keep a bevy of snacks and goodies in bowls on top of several off-white doilies in the dinning room. Their collection rivaled that of any candy store I had ever seen. There were all sorts of colored jelly beans, peanut brittles, licorice medallions, caramels, mints, taffies, gumdrops and chocolate. 

From the moment we arrived I would begin to stalk those bowls as if they were wildebeest at the watering hole. While no one was looking I would bound out of hiding from under the dinning room table, snatch handfuls of wrapped goodies, and bolt for the back door and out into the yard. It wasn't until I rounded the garage that I would open my fist to see what I managed to pillage. 

My first chocolate bar was a Hershey Bar (milk chocolate). I remember this because of the shiny gold wrapper and the fact it was all I manage to steal on that particular run. It felt big in my hands as if I stolen a gold bar from Fort Knox. I distinctly remember looking around for security guards, police, swat parents. 

Once I peeled the foil back and stuck the bar in my mouth I thought I had bitten into a volcano, a sort of chocolate Vesuvious. Each bite was like another fiery blast to the senses. Did I take my time to savor my victors....nope, I gobbled it up on the spot. In this null and void there is only chocolate, a deep whiff and the olfactories had kicked in, it was maddening. I must have looked like a cocaine addict rubbing my gums with the melted chocolate from my fingers. 

After it was all over I just stood there looking at the wrapper. It was a magical moment. Everything felt friendly, inviting, soothing. Even the grass along the garage seemed to be waving at me. From then on I knew things would be different. 

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Men & Chocolate: An Untold Obsession

I'm so tired of this trend that women love chocolate more than men or prefer chocolate to sex or can better "appreciate" chocolate. I understand that psychological associations with chocolate are influenced by a number of things, mostly advertising and cultural influences, but let's be real how can anyone possibly know how another being feels about chocolate? I'm here to stand up for men and to say "'s OK to have an obsession with chocolate! Yes....I have to have some chocolate right now!" Look, I'm not trying to come off as a sexist by writing this, I just want to put things in perspective. 

I really blame early marketing strategies for the predicament we are now in. During the year 1937 Milton Hershey started shipping the Ration D bar of chocolate overseas to the troops. This chocolate served two purposes; first as a morale boost, and second as a high-energy, pocket-sized emergency ration. Back at home they launched a different campaign, that of marketing. This chocolate was sweeter than that of the Ration D bar. The advertising reflected a comfort food that was to ease the stress of having loved ones so far from home. Once the troops came home these marketing trends stayed in place. So, it came to be that chocolate was identified as a woman's food.  

Culturally speaking, I really dig how the Japanese treat their version of Valentine's Day. Giving of chocolate, as gifts of love has been long popular there since the late 1950s. What's different about this day in particular is that the women give chocolates to men. 

Research investing both the physiological and psychological basis of one having  a chocolate obsession is pretty inconclusive. I believe it's most likely a combination of both. If chocolate obsessions were entirely physiological people wouldn't eat chocolate for just those reasons. Most researchers believe chocolate's sensory qualities, chemistry, cultural values, social values and hormonal influences all play a role in chocolate cravings. It is the complete chocolate experience that people crave. Not one single chemical or quality can be solely responsible for satisfying a chocolate craving. 

So guys, don't be ashamed to hoist that truffle high and declare your love for that wonderfully dark, rich, intoxicating treat! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Martha Owns Emeril

Well, I'm stilling working the bugs out of my website and blog postings. The process of tweaking and fine tuning is a serious one and rather time consuming. So please bare with me. 

*This just in: Martha Stewart buys the Emeril Lagasse franchise! WOW! Mostly she bought the rights to his cookbooks, tv show and kitchen products for $45 million with stock options. His 11 restaurants and corporate office were left alone. 

Martha Stewart Living said the deal will "contribute immediately to our performance", adding $8 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The acquired assets generated $14 million in revenue in 2007.

I don't know what to say other than I don't like Martha. She's evil........EVIL! She sucks the mere fabric of creativity out of the universe, and crams everything into cutesy packaging. All that PLUS she cheats. That's right folks, cheats. Though I can't fault Emeril for taking the money! It's just a shame to see that he'd need the money bad enough to take this buyout. Oh well. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Brief History of Chocolate

Xocoatl is the raw, unsweetened form of chocolate. A word from the Nahuatl language, xocoatl derives from xoco, bitter, and atl, water, and is the source of the word chocolate itself. Xocoatl is taken immediately from the cacao bean before processing, and although used to make chocolate later on it has an extremely bitter taste. In making chocolate, sugar is added and the bitter taste is replaced by sweetness.

When Spanish conquistadors first visited the Aztecs they were served cups of hot, unsweetened chocolate. When the Spanish found the word "Xocoatl" difficult to pronounce, they began calling the drink "chocolat".

-Taken from Wikipedia