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Debra-Lynn B. Hook: Enabling Chocolate

By Debra-Lynn B. Hook Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Debra-Lynn B. Hook takes us along for the ride as she re-discovers her love for chocolate. More importantly, she encourages us all to go ahead and indulge without guilt.

Tribune News Service

Sometimes you gotta eat chocolate.

Not just any chocolate, but the pure, expensive, imported kind.

And not just a tiny sliver, like a demure Jane Austen character at afternoon tea.

But the whole $5 bar, all 570 calories and 125% of your daily recommended saturated fat.

Slowly.

Mindfully.

Like you know exactly what you're doing.

I had a pretty good idea four days ago what would happen when I chose to lie on the couch and consume six squares of 70 percent-cacao, dark organic with almonds after a particularly grueling day dealing with my (non-COVID) health problems, my husband's (non-COVID) health problems and several people whose masks were not covering their noses.

I knew that I would likely be wired from the caffeine, that I would have a serious saturated-fat rumbly in my tumbly and that self-loathing would creep into the reverie.

But that would be in the future.

As for the now, I unwrapped the bar tenderly, like I was unwrapping a Baptismal gown, carefully breaking and placing each morsel on my hot, hungry tongue like a $100 teaspoon of caviar.

I sat with each piece, eyes closed, savoring, smacking and rolling my lips together until the deep, rich cacao melted along the alleyways of my tonsils and down my gullet like the luscious, well-oiled indulgence that good chocolate is.

I assuaged myself as I surely as I strained my gall bladder: "I deserve this," the petulant child in me emerging _ forgivable perhaps, considering I've been a super serious adult for going on six months of serious COVID isolation.

Like everyone else, I live in a Twilight Zone, my son in the same house with me but behind a 6-ml piece of plastic, my other two children away and I don't know when I will see them again and, to boot, a new puppy biting on my heels like I'm spurting chocolate myself.

All of this calls for comfort measures, which, for a normal sentient American, might be a platter of nacho chips at happy hour dripping with fake yellow cheese and accompanied by a 16-ounce frozen margarita.

Only, I don't drink.

Or eat cheese.

In fact, time was in the not-so-distant past that I only consumed kale, brown rice and other perfectly healthy foods, a practice I had for years until I realized such rules-based eating can cause crying in the night, eye tics, starvation at American family picnics and other assorted stress responses.

COVID stress gave me the perfect entree to make up for lost time, which I started easy at first, one square of dark chocolate every night, which is actually good for you. This led to two, which is still considered best practices, then four, then, well, you know the rest.

There are some, many, who speak about these COVID times as an opportunity to become perfect specimens of health and well-being, all compassion, all service, all self-care and paint-by-number projects, to which I say "Willie Wonka!"

Poor beleaguered us, me, that we, I, can't justify experimenting in a vat of chocolate while going through a pandemic, a presidential election and the greatest social unrest since the 1960s.

The trajectory doesn't always have to be up, I have decided, especially not now.

We are only human, and humans sometimes need to play with the boundaries.

A full bar today, back to one square tomorrow.

Order it on Amazon.

Order a case. Share some with your friends. Drop off a few bars at the local food pantry, the local emergency room and the fire department.

Let them, let me, eat chocolate while we can. ___ (Debra-Lynn B. Hook of Kent, Ohio, has been writing about family life since 1988. Visit her website at www.debralynnhook.com; email her at [email protected], or join her column's Facebook discussion group at Debra-Lynn Hook: Bringing Up Mommy.) ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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