I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chocolate Detectives in Training

It was the mid 70’s a typical family gathering at my grandparent’s house on Sandra Lane. It was a Sunday afternoon, we had all just finished dinner. The women were in the kitchen cleaning up the last of the dinner dishes, the guys gathered in another room to play cards. The kids; “myself, cousin Lori and her little brother Stephen we were in the midst of it all just being our cute little selves .
With the dishes finally done, my grandmother, my mother and two aunts sat down at the kitchen table to have coffee and the usual conversation loaded with stories and laughter.
Being fifteen, I really enjoyed all the stories and adult conversation. My cousin Lori who was six and her brother Stephen who was three amused themselves in other ways.
On this particular day while I was in the kitchen with the adults, Lori and Stephen were playing in the living room. All of a sudden I heard Lori yelling at Stephen about something, so I went to investigate. I found Lori and Stephen sitting on the couch and Stephen had chocolate all over his mouth and on his hands. Lori yells; “Cousin Julie, Stephens ruining all of Grandmas chocolates”. He keeps taking a bite out of them and when he doesn’t like it he puts it back in the box. Stephen was cute he said; “How do I know if it’s a kind I like without tasting it first”? Amateurs, I thought to myself. Let your older cousin give you the wisdom of her years and show you how it’s done.
My grandmother had two end tables with drawers on either side of her couch. Each end table was loaded with boxes of candy. You know the one’s” Fanny Farmers, Russell Stovers” they were those assortment boxes with the nougats, creams, caramels and those yucky jelly ones, I spit out a lot of those in my younger years. But as time went by, I honed my chocolate detective skills to the fine art of finding out what was inside without it being noticeable. This way the grownups would never know.
The time had come for me to pass this torch of knowledge and deception to the little ones, so innocent, so trusting. I sat down on the couch with both of them, with a newly opened box of chocolates on my lap. They both were looking at me with wide eyed anticipation and I knew the moment had arrived. I opened the box of chocolates, not knowing which one to try. Stephen says just bite it so you know. I said I am going to show you a trick. I asked them each to pick out a chocolate, now take your pinkie, turn the chocolate over and make a little crisscross in the chocolate using your nail or just the tip of your finger.
Stephen did his and saw a little bit of orange cream; Lori did hers and saw a little bit of pink cream. I don’t like the orange cream Stephen said, so I told him to put it back in the little paper cup inside the box and pick another one. This continued until everyone got the kind that they liked, myself included. When Stephen and Lori looked at the box of chocolates before I put them away, they said you can’t even tell we touched them. At that moment two little chocolate detectives were born and I couldn't have been prouder.
The kids decided to go watch TV and I went back in the kitchen. Turns out the grownups were listening the whole time. My grandmother whispered to me, now that you are older I can tell you; “We always knew about your little crisscrosses in the chocolates”!
Alas...... Sweet revenge.

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