Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Secret Chocolate Stash

I’m at Walter and Allan’s house today writing. I love being near Walter’s garden. Every year, it changes, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little but as you can see, it is always stunning.

I also love being in Jamaica Plain. First on the list was lunch from JP Seafood- Bibimbop. Allan calls it egg in a bucket but it’s a bed of fresh vegetables, with rice, a fried egg and a spicy Korean chili paste. When I was working at an office in Jamaica Plain, I’d make the extra long walk at least once a week for Bibimbop. Stuffing your face with vegetables has limited appeal to me but I love this dish. It is a difficult choice, however, when one has been deprived of JP Seafood for a while. Their Village Dragon Maki - Shrimp Tempura Maki Covered with Eel and Avocado-is enough for me to take a couple laps around the pond to justify two lunches in one day.

But I’m not. I’m here to write, and that’s what I’m doing.

Except for that moment, after lunch, when I just wanted a little tiny bit of something sweet.

A little chocolate.

When Jeanine’s sister was up with all the kids for ‘summer camp,’ she smiled when I walked in the kitchen on the first full day.

I found your chocolate stash.

I eyed her suspiciously- would she keep it a secret?

Of course… NOT. The kids found my box of Hershey’s with almond chocolate bars in the freezer. In a flash, a box that had lasted almost a year was down to two bars.

I’m not against my kids having sweets- I’d rather they have ice cream, or pie, or cake- something with a little more than pure sugar to justify it. Chocolate bars, in my humble opinion are not in any way shape or form healthy.

Mom, Ben said to me, Walter said its antioxidants.

That’s dark chocolate, not this kind.

It has almonds, those are good for you, he tried again.

It has three almonds. Sometimes four. No, I’d really rather you have some ice cream.

So I was wandering around the house, wondering, where is Allan’s chocolate stash? I know Walter has a jar full of chocolate chips he eats with peanut butter. They would do if I couldn’t find anything else but… I know Allan has chocolate in this house somewhere.

He did. I found his stash of mini Baby Ruth’s. And it was perfect- I only wanted one. Just that tiny taste of chocolate to end a delicious lunch.

His was high on a shelf- out of the boys’ view- in the kitchen. Mine was in the freezer. My mother always had small bits of chocolate candy on top of her refrigerator. Mints from hotels, old Halloween candy not handed out, party favors. It was an odd, and often old, collection. She would shuffle over, late at night, and pull out a piece, like a little kid.

Want one?

I was always too suspicious of the age of the food in her house. There were things in her cabinets from stores that had gone out of business ten years before.

I’m curious… do other people have chocolate stashes? Where? And what kind? Mine is an old favorite from childhood. I realize I had found my Grandmother’s chocolate stash- she always had Hershey’s with Almonds in the freezer. Allan’s is in the kitchen but I do remember him having a pot on a table behind the couch once with Halloween candy- basically, wherever the kids can’t find it.

I do realize, however, that my stash has been found. Do I keep putting it in the same place so my kids grow up with the same memory of a single, beloved candy bar?

I think so… but I’m going to start counting. Because the most important part to realize about a chocolate stash? Is it’s about a little treat, every once in a while.

Something to sneak, not gobble.

Because ultimately, the beauty of the stash is its constant, secret place. Never full, never empty. Just there.

For that one little taste.


Anonymous Laura said...

my grandmother kept hers is a beautiful candy dish with a lid. It was a very old piece even when I was little......we were not allowed to touch it - she would always hand us the candy.......

I am now in possession of the candy dish.....but sadly enough I dont fill it!

Hmmmmm......but now you have me thinking !

7:43 PM  

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