And that reminded me of the early 80s, when my business partner Alison and I belonged to Business and Professional Women; she was president the year I'm thinking about. Anyway, Alison*** decided to put on a chocolate fair. And part of that was going to all of the stores in Stockton which made their own chocolate, tasting it, and inviting the makers of good enough stuff to be part of the fair. For those of you who haven't been to one of these, the fair goer purchases a ticket with numbers on it for all of the vendors. Then she goes to each table, is given a sample of the chocolate there, has that number punched, and goes on. Lots of coffee is served, since often people gather a few samples and take them to a table and enjoy them with coffee and then repeat with other vendors.
So, Alison and I had the terrible task of going to these candy shops and sampling their wares. Now, I like chocolate, but the words "too rich" mean something to me. They don't to Alison,**** who can eat the richest chocolate in amazing amounts. So, very often I would eat a bite or two of my sample, and feed her both her sample and the vast majority of mine.
Somewhere along the way, the representative of a diet company that supplies the food found out about the fair and insisted on being included. She kept insisting that their chocolate was rich and wonderful and we kept trying to tell her that she didn't really want people to taste her product when they had been indulging in truffles. But, she kept calling back and calling back and calling back and finally we decided that it was silly to keep protecting this woman from the results of her own propaganda and allowed her to rent a table right along with See's and the others.
Come the day of the fair, people were enjoying the samples and having a gay old time.
And then they would get to the diet chocolate table. The woman would tell them that her product, which was about the color as the sample to the right, was as good as the richest chocolates. That they wouldn't be able to tell which was the diet product. And people would take a sample, take a bite, make a face, and throw the rest of the sample away. Sometimes they said something about how awful it was. Some of the men swore. One of the children spit it out. About 30 minutes into the four hour event, she folded up her table and took her samples home. As I remember it, that came right after one of the fair goers challenged her to taste any of the other samples and still claim hers was as good.
My personal chocolate weakness came about when I moved to Sacramento. My office was a block from Macy's and I would go into the store and watch the price reductions on the clothes that I wanted until the item reached the price I was willing to pay for it.*****
And one day I stopped at the candy counter, and there were chocolate covered potato chips. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want such a thing. I even asked the clerk if anyone ever bought them and she told me that they made two or three batches a day. Made no sense to me, until two weeks later when the idea of chocolate covered potato chips suddenly overcame me. Come the lunch hour, there I was at the candy counter, buying some. The clerk smiled, and said, "Among ourselves, we call them PMSers." The clerks knew the cycle of many a woman who worked in that area. And, since I don't do that any longer, I've neither had nor wanted one. But, boy -- salty, crunchy, sweet, fat, chocolate, potato --the only thing better for PMS that I ever encountered is Miso soup.
*I also don't read women's magazines because of the diet ads and articles.
** On Countdown, I zap past the celebrity nonsense that the network insists Keith Olbermann include in his show.
*** Alison ties my daughter-in-law Kathy for the person I know who loves chocolate the most.
**** or, for that matter, Kathy.
***** Which is how I got two silk blouses, originally priced $120 each for $15 each. I've never done that before or since, but then I've never lived or worked so close to a store where I actually shopped before or since.
Update Actually, what that woman had was better described as chalkolate.
Photo credit: Chocolates, FDA.org
Chocolate covered potato chips, global haja