Glawe's Outlook

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chocolat please

Well, the Halloween candy is on the shelves at the grocery store and like little demons, those bags of candy call my name and plead for me to throw them in my cart. I have resisted - so far.

I am disappointed that my kids aren't the trick-or-treat age; I used to love to see them bring in the loot they had collected door-to-door and when they were sleeping, take out all those little chocolate bars I like. Most times they never noticed anything was gone and if they questioned me in the morning where all their candy went, I blamed it on anyone or anything in the house except you. (A good trick is to even spread a few of the wrappers around and while you are at it, spread a little chocolate on the face of some innocent sleeping victim, like your husband - he's always a good one to blame things on and the kids usually will believe that it was dad overindulging before believing it is mom.)

You know, those Halloween treats are the miniature kind which means the calories are also "miniature." So eat up! Never mind adding up the calories, that will take away from the enjoyment. Besides, you can work off far more calories while waking with your kids throughout the neighborhood or back and forth from your Lazy Boy to the door all night on Halloween than you will probably get from the candy you intend to eat!

Don't ever be bummed out about wanting to eat those chocolate bars. Chocolate, it is said, causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and makes you feel happy, therefore, chocolate counteracts depression. So the word is - eat - and stay happy!

I do not consider myself a chocoholic, but I do like to indulge every so often (or more) and it does seem especially helpful to my well-being if I am having a bad day or a day of running here and there and everywhere.

Did you know if you call up "chocolate" on the internet, there are some 122 million items relating to this fudgy, creamy treat?

The site reveals that the ancient Mayans and Aztecs of the Americas consumed chocolate. In 1502, explorer Christopher Columbus came upon a canoe transporting agricultural products, including cacao beans. He took the contents of the canoe and brought the cacao beans back to Spain. (A mean thing to do but just one more good reason to celebrate Columbus Day! Way to go, Chris!)

Chocolate didn't become popular in Europe for many years. It was decades later the Spaniards added sugar to the cacao, taking it from being bitter to sweet. The royal courts preferred chocolate drinks, believing that chocolate could cure any illness.

It wasn't until 1765 that chocolate was introduced to the U.S. and it wasn't for nearly 100 years later that the recipe for milk chocolate was developed. The first known printed brownie recipe appeared in 1897 in the Sears and Roebuck Catalog (and now there are, of course, hundreds of such recipes. I don't think I have found a brownie I didn't like.)

Some people go absolutely wacko if others get in the way of their chocolate. There are some pretty crazy quotes out there relating to chocolate, too. Here are a few examples:

* "Exercise is a dirty word. Everytime I hear it I wash my mouth out with chocolate."

* "I don't understand why so many 'so called' chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are vegetables. Enough said."

* "Chocolate in the morning is what makes moms get through their day."

* If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated."

* "Put 'eat chocolate' at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done."

And there is chocolate cake, chocolate fudge, chocolate sauce, chocolate ice cream...The list has come a very long way from the first cacao bean uses.

Ok. So now that you have thought about chocolate the entire five minutes it took for you to read through this column, and got up a few times between paragraphs to get some chocolate, you will probably be ready for next week's column; it's on diets!