Monday, January 16, 2006

This is beautiful stuff.

(And now, in sharp contrast, I will ramble on about chocolate.)

Chocolate is good and all, but I've never gotten that worked up over it like I do over a good tortilla chip.

I remember as a kid, my dad handed me a Hershey bar. "Oh boy, so this is chocolate!" I thought as I unwrapped it. "Ooooo, silver paper...this is gonna be goooooooood," I'm thinking.

I'm not kidding. I can't remember all the details or even the names of many former roommates throughout the years, but this whole chocolate experience I remember vividly. I bit into that Hershey bar, plain. It was like a car crash, where time seems to slow down enough for you to have done something differently like pull the car sideways before impact.

"...that's it?...that's chocolate?..." It was like biting into a candle. Trust me. I was about 6 years old. I knew what a mouthful of chewed candle tasted like.

I looked up at my dad. I felt my face go tight around my widened eyes. He said "What. It's chocolate. It's good."

Feeling the pressure of a "What" dad stare, I chewed it up a little more and swallowed it, two or three times. The sun was going down, I was standing in the backyard in front of the workshop, it was fall, and I was stunned. I'm a kid, and I don't like chocolate. Oh my God. "So that is chocolate. Nevermind then." I thought it sucked, that I didn't like chocolate and all. But hey, that's life, and I was slowly getting used to it. Hershey's is the only chocolate in the entire world and I don't like it. Somehow, I'll manage. See, now you can tell I'm 6, right?

But then, I reconsidered chocolate. After all, I liked coffee. My mom would give me coffee and say to her friends "Oh it's not that bad for her. Show 'em how fast you can drink it...see, look at that! How does she drink it that fast?! It's so hot!" (Therapy note: This could explain my feelings of anxiety at such a young age and my fixation with hot soups.) I just thought maybe the chocolate bar I had tasted was having an off-day. So eventually, I tried more types of chocolate. Being 6 and all and considering I didn't have a job, this took a few years of experimentation.

Hershey's Kisses: An equally as if not more disappointing form of Hershey's chocolate, but with even more work what with the tedious unwrapping of the foil. Accidentally rip that little paper tape off the top, and you're forced to scrabble it free from the foil like a monkey handling a melting peanut.

Hershey's bars with almonds: Ok, I'm not made of wood. They didn't suck.

M&Ms Plain: Eh. The red ones are good...they cause what? Cancer? What's "cancer"?

M&M's Peanut: Good.

Baby Ruth's: Very good.

Snickers: Very, very good. But these aren't true, straight-up chocolate bars. I'm focusing too much on the peanut. Zeroing in (Zero bars are good) on the peanuty goodness is not enjoying a plain bar of chocolate like everyone else can do, apparently, but not me. I mean, really, who can't like a peanut? Except for that whole peanut allergy thing. I still don't understand why everyone in the last decade or so is reacting so violently to peanuts. Stuff like that scares me, and of course I think The Man is to blame, but I haven't had time to figure out how or why.


So big deal. I won't eat chocolate bars like every normal, red-blooded American kid. I'll cope that chocolate bars don't do anything for me, whatever. Great, I'm a kid who doesn't freak out over chocolate bars. Again, I don't fit it. Again, I'm slowly getting used to this. Not a problem. Acceptance.

Over time, however, I got mad as usual. I remember that part, too. I realized that many of the kids around me just went vampire-bat blind thinking about chocolate, any kind of chocolate, it didn't matter at all just gimmegimmegimme (insert freakout squeals here) handfuls of it. They went nuts over it -- even that cheap-ass, no-name, dollar-sto' chocolate-flavored Halloween candies manufactured in Hong Kong or Taiwan.*

Think about it: When you are a kid, candy is something you can barter with and trade your sister for -- and chocolate is Kid Gold.

I was at a loss for a long, long time. Until one Easter when I had a Cadbury Creme-filled Egg. And then, I had the tiny chocolate bird eggs with the dusty candy shells. This was getting closer. But Easter is just a once a year thing, and this was several billion light years before the internet was born.

One time, I was waiting at a stop in the Underground, and I saw a glowing box across the tracks. A girl walked up to it and grabbed something out of the bottom slot. It was a purple and white vending machine. Cadbury Milk Chocolate bars, plain. "You want to tell me that even people here just eat plain chocolate bars, too? So much so that a candy company has dedicated entire machines to just plain chocolate bars and nothing else? With no peanuts or coconut or whatever that wooden earwax stuff is in a Butterfinger?** I think I am going completely insane." Except for the insanity part, I had no idea what the truth was.

Until about a month ago when I noticed a Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar. Just a simple chocolate bar with nothing else in it but milk chocolate. It's not like it hasn't been sitting next to the Dark Chocolate bars I've bought before. Dark chocolate is good, it has that edge like strong coffee and a 6 year old with an attitude. But finally, it's official. I found my chocolate bar. Real chocolate happiness, not waxy plastic sadness. Cadbury, I can say this without hesitation: I love you.

Then the other day, I had a more complex candy bar by Cadbury called Crunchie Bar. I can honestly say that this is the first candy bar I've tried that almost made me cry. Seriously. I'm glad I wasn't driving.

You care. You know you do.

Also, comparable to Cadbury's is a chocolate made by Ritter Sport. Damn you, Germany. Just damn you for making such wonderful bite-sized chocolates, filled with evil things like coconut and marzipan. Found them at World Market. I'm not going back to that place for awhile because the whole store won't fit in my car.

What's the point? There is no point. I find my favorite chocolates. And now, I'm too scared to eat them because I'll turn into a diabetic over-consumerizing American. Moderation versus amputation.

Well, fine then. My new best friend is this bad ass Lorina sparkling french limonade I found over the weekend. It was so good, I felt like smashing the bottle against the wall and singing. But then, I feel like smashing everything against the wall and singing.

*For anyone who doesn't remember Hong Kong or Taiwan, they were the 70's version of China. I don't even know if they even exist anymore, honestly.

** Butterfingers are ok, but that doesn't meant that I like earwax.


The Angry Czeck said...

Hey! How do YOU rate a Creative Commons License? And how come only "some" rights are reserved? And if your wrote something in 2001, can I steal it? (Too late. Already did.)

me said...

Ok, you want me to crush you and eat your bones, don't you? You are just too jealous of my chocolate rating skills....

Brian said...

Ah yes, Cadbury's Milk Chocolate and Crunchies....have you tried Aero? Or Galaxy?

Best of all....the Cadbury's Milk Chocolate made in Ireland.


Bubba said...

My mother-in-law is from Jamaica and was educated in the UK. She loves Cadbury chocolate! But she says the kind that is available at most stores in town (e.g. Walgreens) is not the REAL DEAL! If you notice on the wrapper it is made under license by--ugh!--Hershey's! But don't let that spoil your chocolate euphoria... BTW, the chocolate in Japan (Meiji, Morinaga, Glico, etc.) is quite nice. I think you can get some at most area Asian markets.

Brian said...

Yeah, the Cadbury's sold in American stores is not the real deal, although it still tastes way the heck better than American chocolate. Try to find a British import store....or ask your parents to send candy care packages from Ireland. (Of course, the latter option is only available if your parents are in Ireland.)

me said...

Hey! ohhhh yes, I got the real ones, none of that Hershey's stuff - that's why I almost cried. Last weekend, I also tried a Double Decker by Cadbury's. Damn good - was like a compressed 3 Musketeers ontop of a Nestle's crunch bar. But still, Cadbury Crunchies are one thing I'd request for my last meal on deathrow. That, plus a pardon from the state.