Everybody doesn’t like something. Taste, regardless of its application, is part of what defines us as individuals. For instance, I don’t like hate, prejudice, war, people who are mean to kittens, Brussels sprouts, pork n’ beans, compact cars, fake dairy products, animal porn, and people who name their kids after items you can find in a hardware store. That’s the sort of stuff that makes me who I am. However, the question sometimes arises as to why I don’t like certain things, and that is often something about which I have to think. Then I remember that I don’t like white chocolate, and the reason for that gives me a broad enough perspective that I needn’t be much more specific in regard to anything else.
When my wife and I were young and first cohabiting, and she was rather pregnant, and we were quite poor, we used to have to find imaginative ways by which to survive. We had a tendency to bring in small amounts of money through a variety of methods, which we would then spend based on our current situation. I usually leaned toward cheap beer and tobacco, while my wife would be a bit more pragmatic and apply it toward required food items of some sort. Regardless, we quickly learned how to be quite frugal when shopping at the grocery store, although it was not enough to save us from the occasional week of eating nothing but potato soup (that’s a whole other story…really).
Every once in a while we would get lucky in some way or another, and those brief interludes would somehow allow us to rise just a tiny bit above our standard level of poverty, instead reaching a level of poverty that was, well, not as impoverished as the level of poverty below it. As an aside, I never knew I could have that much fun with the word “poverty,” but that’s neither here nor there. In fact, it’s likely somewhere else altogether.
Alas, I digress. As it happens, one day we were shopping for a meager amount of grocery items, and when we were finishing up at the checkout counter we were handed a free package of white chocolate. It contained half a dozen large blocks, weighed several pounds, and while it was actually intended to be baking chocolate, it looked wonderfully edible. Somehow, the store had ended up with a large amount of overstock on that particular item, and they were giving out packages of the stuff with every purchase of groceries. Not wanting to blow an opportunity whenever one arose, we asked if we could have more than one, and the cashier was kind enough to give us a second package.
We skipped happily home with our newly acquired blocks of white chocolate tucked in the bags with the rest of our groceries, and once we reached the house we stowed the heavy packages of sweets in the freezer and went about our merry way. It wasn’t exactly the kind of item we had cause to use on a daily basis, but we were sure it would come in handy someday. Of course, with an income as sporadic and unpredictable as ours, it didn’t take long for a day like that to roll around.
One morning I found myself scouring the fridge for some type of sustenance, and all I could find was a half-full jar of pickle juice, a crusty bottle of expired ketchup, and an onion that was well on its way to growing a full-fledged Texas goatee. None of these items seemed palatable, and it was then that I remembered the packages of white chocolate in the freezer. This sort of thing was not really a new experience, as it had been during a similar situation when my wife and I decided to defrost the middle tier of our wedding cake, which had been tucked in the freezer for the last seven months (since the wedding, obviously) for the sake of tradition. Frankly, we were hungry, and microwaved, freezer-burned wedding cake was one of the only choices we had. It was terrible, of course, largely because that tradition is stupid, but it did keep us alive long enough for us to find nutrition from other sources.
I will say that, at first, the white chocolate tasted much better than the wedding cake. While it was real chocolate, it was packaged in big blocks because it was designed to be melted down and used as a coating for whatever items one wished to bathe in rich chocolate. Since old ketchup and pickle juice were not suitable prospects for that sort of thing, I decided the next best thing would be to simply gnaw on a block of chocolate like it was a frozen candy bar. It seemed to be a good idea at the time, and I was mostly enjoying my snack…right up until I was partway through the second block of chocolate, at which point I was somewhat inclined to change my mind. In fact, reconsidering the merits of my unconventional treat became even easier the more nauseated I became – and there wasn’t much of a transitional period between “Yum, white chocolate,” and “Oh my god, I feel so sick.” In addition, once the nausea had become fully manifest it showed no signs of abating, and it ultimately resulted in me curling up into a ball on the bathroom floor, alternating between sucking my thumb and biting my fist, and silently cursing at whichever god was responsible for bleaching a confectionery item that had been perfectly fine in its darker iterations.
You see where I’m going with this, right? I’ve never forgotten that slimy coating inside my mouth, or that awful feeling that the contents of my stomach was slowly swelling into something explosive, and I can clearly recall how hyper-aware I had been of every movement and smell that had impacted my current environment. While I managed to hold all that chocolate down, I was never quite sure how, and the experience damaged my psyche to such a degree that it practically guarantees me I will be faced with a great deal of discomfort just being in the same room with chocolate of the Caucasian persuasion. It may seem like a first-world problem, but it came from a third-world salary, and I’m not inclined to take responsibility for eating a pound-and-a-half of the stuff in one sitting (even if it was totally my fault). I mean, you would think there would have been a warning label or something: “Consumption of large quantities of this product by poor people with empty stomachs is not only rather foolish, but may someday result in a useless blog entry containing weak descriptions of an epic bout of self-inflicted nausea. If you can’t manage to spare yourself, spare your public instead.”
From a philosophical perspective, I can honestly say that I lost track of where I was going with this whole thing, and the moral of the story is probably just that white chocolate sucks. In addition, I would remind everyone that hindsight is 20/20, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of having eyes on my butt.