By Bob Schwartz
With three small words from our two-year-old, my wife and I began to question the entire validity of genetics. Having been introduced to chocolate for the first time, our daughter exclaimed the most inconceivable reaction by any child born into our Willie Wonka Biosphere.
She truly shook the very fabric of our bonbon world. Upon tasting a chocolate brownie, she provided a very animated facial expression, which seemed to indicate that she was chewing lukewarm and hot pepper flavored sawdust. She then quite matter-of-factly said, "No like.”
My wife and I stared at each other stupefied. Her older brothers reacted with jaw dropping disbelief as their Ding-Dongs fell from their hands and landed in their Cocoa Puffs.
Now we certainly do monitor the nutritional intake of our children’s food consumption, but the fact was that our daughter had been born into a family of chocoholics. It seemed beyond comprehension that given her present aversion we'd have to work on her taste buds for a little choco-conversion. Otherwise, we ultimately might be required to integrate our dessert table with the blasphemous flavors of vanilla and dare I even say it, butterscotch!
A little background regarding my Hershey’s history might be in order. My confectionery confession is that I really didn't give much thought to chocolate until I met my wife. Up to that point, I think my lack of full commitment stemmed from a monumental event I'd had as a nine-year-old. It was then that my stomach had a mind-altering rendezvous with a breakfast plate of chocolate chip pancakes, laden with chocolate syrup and doused with chocolate whipped cream. My grandfather had treated me to this ambrosial delicacy at 7:00 a.m. at the International House of Sugar Overload. I was pretty much in a hyperactive hallucinogenic state the remainder of that year. To this day, I have only an extremely vague recollection of fourth grade.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up on Rocky Road in Loompaland. I didn't initially realize her chocolate dependence, since I had no idea of the truffles she'd seen. I slowly learned that her idea of a balanced diet was equal amounts of dark and white chocolate. She followed the twelve-step chocoholic program, which required that a person be no more than twelve steps from chocolate at any given time.
She slowly introduced me to cocoa butter and the decadent underworld of dark chocolate mousse. And now, one of our children was rebuking everything we believed in ? the very framework of our bumpy cake home! The next thing we knew our daughter might actually do the unthinkable. That's right, request green Jell-O for dessert.
We looked on the bright side and figured this was simply a toddler stage that she'd grow out of. We had preferred she'd instead exhibit the more familiar two-year-old acts of temper tantrums or extreme defiance. We could handle that. But a chocolate revulsion? The little radical. Perhaps this was the beginning of renegade behavior. Were we destined for demands for nose rings by age three, and a pink Mohawk haircut by age four from our little double fudge dessert dissenter?
Maybe we could sneak some crushed Oreos into her applesauce or mix some pieces of 3 Musketeer candy bars into her Cheerios to have her satisfy our Recommended Daily Allowance of chocolate.
Then again, we knew the right thing was just to let her go in her own sugar direction. She obviously marched to the sound of her own candy wrapper.
Perhaps she'd ultimately convert us a little. But I'm not sure I could ever look those jovial M & M fellas in the eye if I defected over to strawberry licorice.
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