October 4, 2009

You should read this post; it's regarding essential nutrition

I married a wonderful man, but I think we can both agree that we disagree on more than a few things. Vacationing is one of them.

We weren't married long before I started noticing (like, on our honeymoon) how fixated he can get on things I just considered as passing fancies. For instance, we went to one of the most beautiful places on earth (Cancun and its environs), where I wanted to sit on beaches with books and ride Vespas and drink watermelon juice (life-changing) and do "other stuff" for the majority of the time. But noooooooo.... SOMEONE grew up visiting "national parks" and appreciating things like "historic sites" and "ancient ruins." Blah. Which meant I was being dragged along.

So since then, I have tended to shy away whenever Ted has approached me with the ol' "wanna go to a museum?" line (and trust me, it has been uttered often). This last time, though, was the biggest and best exception to my usual half-hearted consent. The museum in Raleigh had an exhibit on CHOCOLATE. I practically dragged him out of the apartment.

See how excited we all are to be there? It was a win-win. Ted got to go to his little museum and I got to drool on myself.

The exhibit was put together very well, but it wasn't very hands-on for the amount of children they had going through there. I didn't care about that very much, since Tessa's main activity was drooling right next to me. And considering how much I already knew about chocolate, like the fact that it's brown and to die for, I was surprised to find out how much I didn't know. Here's a quick run-through of fun facts.
  • Cacao trees thrive in tropical climates (which I knew), but have to be planted underneath a taller tree because they need the shade (which I didn't).
  • West Africa, specifically the Cote d'Ivoire, is the largest grower of cacao trees. I thought that title was taken by Central and South America, but I was WRONG!
  • Cocoa beans used to be the Aztecs' form of money.
  • The first use of actual chocolate was as a drink, but it wasn't like our hot chocolate or chocolate milk of today. The beans are quite bitter, so they would roast them and add chilies and spices and throw it back.
  • Once chocolate became a European import, people went crazy for it (obviously). However, it was so expensive that only royalty and the very rich could afford it. In fact, it was often enjoyed while lying naked in bed. Funny. That's my favorite method, too.

The above image was displayed at the museum, but there was no name or artist, so I had all these grand plans to reproduce it in our living room to give you an idea of what it looked like, complete with the overturned chair. But I'm glad I found it online instead, because my nipples don't look nearly that good.

Besides the multiple videos of huge vats of molten chocolate getting conched and tempered and mixed and formed (think the opening montage of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the original. Best opening sequence in a movie EVER), my favorite part of the display were the old advertisements from some of the first major manufacturers, namely Hershey, Ghirardelli, and Cadbury (pronounced "CAD-bree"). I've included some samples. Make sure you read all the fine print.

"You NEED a Baby Ruth! It offers dextrose, for crying out loud! You don't want to fall asleep on the road, do you???"

"More sustaining than meat", huh? What would happen if you had BOTH?

Ahhh... someone already though of it for me. Two of my favorite foods, combined. And it was pretty tasty!

Tessa was a gem the whole time because she is a fellow foodie. Toward the end of the tour, we spotted these little ottomans one could sit on while watching videos of people talking about how much they loved chocolate. They offered the perfect photo-op. Can someone please tell me where I can buy one of these? I need one. Or four.

The end of the tour spit us out into a chocolate shop (fitting!) because naturally, we're going to want to eat chocolate after looking at it for over an hour. I wonder if Jesus Himself would have been able to resist such temptation.

They had all sorts of scrumptious treats, so we selected wisely. In case you're wondering if cashews and dried cranberries enrobed in caramel and dipped in chocolate are good, um, they are. They even had kids' books on display, so I flipped through a few of them and Ted and I had a conversation that went like this:

me: We need these.
Ted: Need?
me: For Tessa.
Ted: So she can get as addicted as you?
me: Are you kidding me? I grew up never knowing the fine heritage of my favorite food group. Do you want her to grow up as ignorant and potentially hooked as I did? Maybe if she learns about it from a young age, she won't crave it. Knowledge is power, sweetie.
Ted: That was the biggest load of crap. Whatever. You can get them.
me: I was going to anyway.

See? Compromise is the name of the game in a marriage. So next time he wants to haul me off to some explore-our-wilderness-and-gain-an-appreciation-for-it-already state park, all he has to do is stuff a Reese's in his pants and I'm good to go.


I know how hard it must have been to read through that entire post with no food of the gods to partake of. So I'm going to have my very first giveaway.

It's been about 10 years since I've made truffles or chocolates, but I've been wanting some ever since I found out there isn't a See's candy within a 100-mile radius of me. What's a girl to do?!? Well, make her own, of course, and one of you will get to benefit as well.

I will overnight a box of homemade chocolates to a name drawn from the pool of individuals who comment on this post, telling me what chocolate does for you. You can leave comments until Friday, Oct 9 at midnight (Pacific time). I'll announce the winner on the blog, and she (or he) should have the chocolate by the following Tuesday morning.

So leave a comment, and be creative!


Megan said...

Chocolate is a bonding agent. It was always an easy and highly appreciated gift for my mother. And now that she's gone, I find myself warmly bound to her when I find that gold box of truffles from See's. *hugs*

Kristi said...

Hmmm . . . chocolate. Maybe I should say, "Mmmmmmm . . ." instead?
Anyway, put simply, chocolate is my day spa. I can be having the crappiest of days and one little cube of dark chocolate, or, better yet, a box of Trader Joe's dark chocolate raisins, can relax me faster than you can say "Breakdown".

Jean said...

Holy schnikies. I just discovered the BEST GIVEAWAY EVER. You are awesome!!!!!!

Y'know those cheesy Dove commercials, where a woman enrobed in satin enjoys a Dove chocolate on an elegant chaise lounge? (The whole idea being that it "takes you away?") Well, that's actually what it does for me (minus the satin, add pajama pants). It's a brief, sweet moment of bliss where I get to savor that luscious, smooth, melty flavor. There are few things in the world, I think, that are as sumptuous and blissful as a mouthful of chocolatey deliciousness. So, there you go. (And here I go, to find some chocolate in the house now.)

Jen said...

We've never met, but this is Travis' wife, Jen. We check out your blog. Anyway, I just had to comment because the first paragraph CRACKED me up! I know the friendship that Travis and Ted have and it is hilarious to me that they both married wives that just want to sit on the beach and eat chocolate. I bet we could swap some great stories.

Jen said...

P.S. Yes, I want to be included in your giveaway. To even try and explain the relationship with chocolate would never do it justice. Simply said, I LOVE chocolate and chocolate loves me. It makes me happy when I eat it. And I never feel guilty after wards, like other foods. Let's just say that my mom always had a stash and I ALWAYS found it. I use to hide under the kitchen table and eat a whole can of chocolate frosting. I've been all over Europe and guess where the BEST chocolate I have ever had exists? REXBURG, IDAHO. Seriously, not kidding, it is AMAZING. http://www.florences.com/ check it out, you will not be disappointed. There is NO wax and no preservatives. Their toffee is incredible and my absolute favorites are their caramels. TO DIE FOR. Ok, is that enough. Do you believe me, I love chocolate.

The Hyer Family said...

I just ate so much chocolate driving home from St. George today that my stomach ACHES right now...but to throw it up would be a big waste of a good food. And FYI, last week Andy found in my nightstand a gift that was originally intended for your bachelorette party--a box of edible chocolate tattoos...I bought them for you, but kept them for us, but confession--the box is still unopened...instead of opening it and using it, we had a long conversation about whether they had gone bad...yes, we're old.

Stacey said...

My only comment is that when I come in January I will bring you a pound of you favorite See's. Just put my name in a few extra times for the giveaway...

sachia said...

Ya know I'm in it to win it chica. Enter villan laugh here: Woo ha ha Woo ha ha.

dana said...

A giveaway?! ooooo.
chocolate is a normal food group as far as I'm concerned. As we've discussed before, a diet coke + chocolate = lunch. An open bag of choc chips (any kind) are always open in our fridge! Too bad Owen has caught on to that and is constantly trying to open the fridge.

Rachel's Roost said...

Giveaway? Count me in. So what does chocolate do for me? I'd love to tell you, but after reading that, I'm heading down to raid the cupboards to find some renegade chocolate that might be hiding. And if there's none there, I'm waking up the baby and we're heading to Dairy Queen. That's what chocolate does for me.

La La Land said...

I'm so proud of my little girl...you, that is. Being a graduate of the advanced chocolate tasting courses at Tony Caputo's, I am so proud that you have finally learned the importance of education. And with education, my dear, comes responsibility. You are responsible for educating Tiny Tot (and Ted) in the art of chocolate.

Oh, and did you forget that I bought you that bacon chocolate bar and never sent it to you because I ate it? Yeah, I didn't. Sorry.

The Hytes said...

Literally every time I think of Chocolate, I think of care packages from England to poor, lowly missionaries in Atlanta that (I was told)didn't know what chocolate "really" was. Mmm mmm melt in your mouth, smooth, keep it in the fridge/freezer or it will melt all over everything kind of chocolate. I don't know about the whole chocolate bacon thing, though.

Emily S. said...

Ever since I lived in Hershey, PA for four years and breathed in the wonderful aromas of chocolate that floated through the town - I felt that I had a special relationship with chocolate. Especially Hershey's chocolate. I can taste and smell it even now! Ahhhh!

danyelly said...

Since you spared us by not recreating the painting on your own, I will happily enter your drawing!


TerryMaryHarmon said...

What chocolate does for me..well it fills me up with such happiness! I makes me want to smile all time. I love the smell, texture, taste, and there is even a Chocolate Spa in Arcadia, that will give you a massage with chocolate! That is how much I love CHOCOLATE!! (I hope I win!!)

B Brown said...

I sooo needed this post & desperately need your chocolate! The new babe has been super gassy, often screaming out in pain from passing gas (been there- damn you La Fiesta Grande!) anyway...The pediatrician said to give up caffeine and chocolate. Caffeine? Fine. Chocolate, I about passed out. Mike told him it would be impossible for a "Holmes" girl who was raised on a chocolate treat of some sort after every meal. I thought I could do it. Nothing wrong with Lemon tarts & oatmeal cookies instead right? WRONG! I'M DYING, Literally. You should not deprive your body of something that has become a part of it. It's been a week and the baby is just as gassy (in my opinion). So I'll try for another few days until your truffles get here :)

p.s. I've had one of those bacon/chocolate bars. YUM

Sara said...

Uhhhhhhh, give me chocolate or give me death... I must go find some right now! I was drooling when I saw the first picture.

You're awesome girl! Can't wait to see you guys, one day!

charrette said...

One word. A letter, actually.


My sister Holly took me to a chocolate exhibit once. It was fabulous.

Am currently craving Trader Joes Chocolate-covered Bing Cherries. And unfortunately I have no idea how to make them.

But DO send me a package of your truffles. That would be mahvelous, dahling!

B Brown said...

p.s. (again) Did I mention that there was no chocolate or epidurals given out when I had Tate? So basically no comfort whatsoever.

lyndsey said...

uh...i thought i entered this already. lol. whew! glad i made it!

i don't really have anything to say about chocolate other than it's probably all i need to be happy. although once i ate an entire half-pound of chocolate mint fudge on a road trip to nauvoo, and almost died from chocolate OD. so maybe i do need more than that to survive. but boy would i be happy!

The Bunker Family said...

Okay, I must say that the song, "I Remember You," played as I was reading your blog! Just a little teary. =) Here's an example of how much I love chocolate. One Christmas when I was a wee girl, my dad lit a fire in the fireplace while the stockings hung. Then realizing that there was chocolate in them, my Dad took the stockings down and my sisters cried because all the chocolate melted and was a goopy mess. They turned to me and I was licking the insides of my stocking. 'Nuff said.

Kizzycakes said...

ah crap. where have i been? please, please, please do another giveaway and pick me! or my birthday is dec. 7, so i'll take it then too. that museum sounds almost as good as the cheese factory.

The Cooling Rack

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