my kind of holiday

I must enter a disclaimer from yesterday’s message. Just because a holiday says “national” does not mean it has the blessing of the United States Congress. Though they have blessed some pretty inane things. Like Penguin Awareness Day. Or Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day. Or the current spending bill. But, as you doubtless know by now, anyone can proclaim anything, post it to the net, and make it look official. This is what I fully intend to do if ever I come across a day this year that, for some unforeseen reason, does not yet have a profoundly deep meaning attached to it.

Like today. National Anything Covered in Chocolate Day. Finally, a national holiday I can really throw my weight behind. The first question, of course, is what exactly did the framers mean by “anything”? I love chocolate, but I can think of several things I would prefer not to eat covered in it. More things I would prefer not to eat at all, no matter what covers them. But here my stint in China should serve me well, as there I learned quickly to adhere to the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy of food consumption.

So, this being a very busy day (I am typing this while waiting for daughter #3 at gymnastics, from whence I go to a library board meeting), we will have to make do with covering only the things which we have in the immediate vicinity.

Years ago, our kids had an Olsen Twins cassette tape with a song on it called “Broccoli and Chocolate.” We have never forgotten this song. (Who really could?) So, despite the questionable wisdom of taking food advice from a pair who look like anorexic raccoons, the first thing anyone thought of when asked what we should dip in chocolate was “broccoli!” Unfortunately, we ate all the broccoli in the crisper drawer last night. With cheese, not chocolate, sauce. Now, cheese being in the dairy family, a slim case could be made for its third-cousin relationship with milk chocolate. But I really don’t think it tastes the same.

So, for the actual first foray into something covered in chocolate, we went for the baby bundt cake at Corner Bakery. I have heard these are very good; I have never eaten one. It seemed the perfect excuse for decadence. The critics do not lie–this thing was good. I only ate half–I have a witness. If I knew what the heck we were having for dinner between gymnastics and library board, I’d tell you what else we may try dipping. But I don’t.

Candidates in the fridge include: slightly soft cherry tomatoes, a cucumber, very wilted/slimy spinach, apples, pears, and oranges, and some day-old homemade minestrone. This last one would probably not stick to a fondue fork well. Possibly some assorted old film canisters remain there and, once, my palm pilot sat in the fridge for several months (another story). I do not think I will try covering this in chocolate. Nearly freezing it was enough of a trial on the warranty.

Weird things we have tried or discovered and declined to try:

On vacation this summer, we went to Prince Edward island for a day. Apparently, chocolate covered potato chips are quite the rage there. Or perhaps, they’re just quite the rage to sell to dumb tourists. In fact, though the concept sounded disgusting, we liked them.

Chocolate cheese, Eau Galle Cheese Factory, Wisconsin. Technically, this is not chocolate covered cheese but chocolate flavored cheese. And it’s good.

Chocolate-covered larvae. As we know, good teachers (and writers) enlist as many of a child’s senses in a lesson as possible. At least one science museum in the area takes this mandate quite seriously, as they do sell the above items. On sticks. And (I imagine) they have all the slimy, chewy chocolaty goodness one could hope for in a chocolate-covered invertebrate. See–I have just enlisted your sense of nausea. Didn’t I do that well?

From experience with fondue, a Richardson Christmas eve tradition, I can tell you what works well with chocolate: strawberries, pretzels, angel food cake cubes, pears, oranges, marshmallows, graham crackers, bananas, cheesecake bars. Mandarin orange slices fell apart. Pineapple was too juicy. And no one stepped up to bring the larvae. Maybe next year.

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