How to Enjoy a Chocolate Bar When You Have Kids
I like to think I’m not the high maintenance type, and with the exception of needing a half-hour and roughly 30 ounces of coffee before I’m expected to speak to anyone in the morning, it’s mostly true.
The other caveat is when my husband travels for work, which he used to do on a regular basis. My demands were simple: you get to sleep in a hotel room, alone at night and don’t have to cook for or clean up after yourself when you’re away, so bring me home something pretty or delicious, and I won’t change the locks in a fit of Backyardigans-induced rage.
Although I don’t generally like clichéd gifts, we both discovered chocolate seemed to be the most effective in pulling me out of my irritable state after keeping both kids alive by myself for several days. My favourites were champagne truffles from London and specialty chocolate bars from Vosges, which came highly recommended by a co-worker in my husband’s Chicago office.
So when he had to head out of town a few weeks ago and I discovered he would have a long layover in Chicago, where O’Hare conveniently has a Vosges location, I didn’t even have to use words to communicate that he shouldn’t bother coming home unless he had some in his carry-on. That’s the nice thing about being married for over a decade – he’s pretty good at reading between the lines. And he knows I’ve had a locksmith on speed-dial since the time I accidentally locked my keys and the car in the garage while he was away.
Once he arrived home and I’d given him the cursory kiss hello and received the cursory thanks-for-not-leaving-the-kids-on-the-steps-of-a-Catholic-church-while-I-was-gone, I prepared to rip open the package of my favorite Vosges Himalayan sea salt bar, when I stopped, noticing some very specific instructions on the back of the box: HOW TO ENJOY AN EXOTIC CHOCOLATE BAR.
It’s so important, they need to yell it at me. YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT WRONG ALL THESE YEARS. WE DON’T TRUST YOU’RE CAPABLE OF APPRECIATING THIS IN THE WAY IT DESERVES ON YOUR OWN.
In all fairness, an Almond Joy brought across the border is about as exotic as it typically gets around here and I don’t get the impression Hershey’s is all that concerned with providing a step-by-step guide outlining how to properly consume their product.
Because I’m nothing if not pragmatic, I re-wrote the instructions as they apply to me and those like me; the people who have become accustomed to, if not totally comfortable, answering detailed questions about Doc McStuffins while using the bathroom. This is for you, moms and dads. You’re welcome.
Vosges instructions: Take deep ujjayi breaths and be present in the moment.
Updated: Is this like labour breathing? I imagine it being pronounced similar to va-jay-jay, so I’m going to assume it’s the same thing since it’s the only time I can recall any connection between my breathing and my lady cave.
If you must take in air, keep it soft and shallow, or you’ll give away your hiding place in the closet. Then not only will you never enjoy contraband chocolate in peace again, you can also kiss goodbye the days of secretly devouring handfuls of pre-dinner Cheetos like they’re crack cocaine.
Vosges: A glossy shine indicates a tight bond between the cocoa butter and the cocoa mass.
Updated: A flashback to your early 20s reminds you of a time you could enjoy treats with reckless abandonment in wide open spaces. Accept that this is your life now.
Vosges: Rub your thumb on the surface to release the deep mineral salt.
Updated: That scent wafting under the pantry door is actually the fear of what you’ve become. You know you’re on borrowed time and can’t waste a precious second on this nonsense. If you wanted to fully enjoy the aroma of your chocolate, you should have used an IUD and never bought a practical family vehicle.
Vosges: Listen to the soft break, exposing the chocolate bar’s molten caramel interior.
Updated: Your kids can’t hear you repeatedly ask them to put on socks from three feet away, but they’ll hear this even if there are two floors separating you. (Quietly!) bite off the biggest piece you can, and when the molten caramel interior is exposed, catch any drips on your fingers and suck it off, because this is too good to waste and let’s be reasonable, we aren’t animals here.
Vosges: The chocolate square (that you delicately placed on your tongue) will melt, releasing a bouquet of caramel notes and the essence of mineral rich, crystal salt.
Updated: You won’t taste anything besides momentary liberation and there’s good reason. This why you haven’t bought anything fancier than Kit Kat in five years. Since having kids, your palate has become about as sophisticated as Cadbury allows and you need to ease back into appreciating things that can’t be purchased at a 7-11. That probably won’t happen for roughly another 14 years, so let’s not get too carried away.
And now that you’ve embraced this other-wordly experience, be sure to chase it with a handful of Goldfish and a Capri Sun, because your kids have the noses of bloodhounds and it would be ridiculous to get caught now that you’ve gotten this far.
Note that your definition of what’s ridiculous has radically shifted since children entered the equation.