Well this guest post couldn’t be better timed seeing as I am home sick from work today with my second cold of the season (although this one is less congestion more throat on fire, weee!). But instead of getting to hear me whine about being sick, here is a super awesome guest post by my Dad. Enjoy!
Last year I thoroughly enjoyed writing my first guest blog here about Abby as an infant and small child. This year when Abby asked me again I thought first of writing about our train trip to Seattle to see her in October but then settled on writing something I was more excited about right now.
I’ve been somewhat obsessed about taking care of my body for a long time. I figure I’m only going to get one body and I’m not going to have it quitting on me over something I have some control over. So I exercise regularly, read about health related stuff and try to eat right. When I learned about 6 or 7 years ago that dark chocolate has some health benefits (when consumed in moderation) I started keeping a stash of Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bars at my desk at work. Most of the time I successfully limit myself to a square at morning break and a square after lunch. This takes some discipline because for me eating chocolate is among the top carnal pleasures in life.
My children and sometimes my wife scold me about not buying Fair trade but so help me the stuff is expensive. If I buy Hershey’s bars on sale I can get it at about $.20/ ounce and Fair Trade usually runs about $1.00/ounce. My daily two squares are about an ounce so I’m talking the difference between a $50.00 per year habit and a 250.00 per year when consumed every working day. Somewhere deep in my psyche there is this notion that times could get hard so I better be careful with my money. I don’t know if that comes from being raised by depression era parents or if it’s something in my Germanic DNA or a combination.
However the idea that I might be enjoying my chocolate on the backs of poverty stricken oppressed workers continued to bother me. A couple weeks ago we visited Abby in Seattle and she arranged a tour of Theo’s chocolate for my wife and me.
After a great tour by an expert in all things surrounding the harvesting, manufacturing and history of chocolate we were allowed unrestricted sampling of all kinds of exotic and delicious chocolates. I thought I was in heaven. I also learned that most chocolate is processed using alkali. It says so right on the ingredients on the Hershey bars. This supposedly (yes, it might be part of Theo’s sales pitch) removes some of the health benefits. I also learned since that Hershey dark chocolate is only 45% cocao. You have to do some research to find that – they don’t advertise it. I enjoy dark chocolate right up to about 85% cocao and feel the flavor peaks between 75 and 80%.
So I started to search on the internet for some reasonably priced Fair trade chocolate. Most Fair Trade seems to also be organic. That might add some to it’s cost and probably is a good idea as well. I couldn’t find any significant volume discounts on any of the bars. But I did find Fair trade 65% cocao chocolate chips at Amazon for $.62/ ounce but you had to buy 25 pounds! I capitulated to the pressure and bought a box. That comes out to almost $250.00 but they should last me 400 work days. Unfortunately in my dithering about it I missed them on sale at just under $200.00.
We’ve already had a discussion at our house about what these chocolate chips will get used for. They are not to be used in baking – these are medicinal. I’m going to keep them in the cold cellar to preserve their freshness and make it less likely that I will be tempted to consume a half a pound every evening.
One last problem to solve was how to divvy out one ounce a day. I found out on the internet that 1 ounce of chocolate chips is about 3 tablespoons. Here’s what an ounce looks like. I’ll take one day’s serving at a time in my lunch. I’m going to try very hard to eat them mindfully one chip at a time.