By G.D. Maxwell
All of us need solace at some point or another. We need a safe harbour, a retreat, the warmth of loving arms literal or metaphoric succour in times of trouble and stress, reassurance when doubt drills into the core of who we thought we were and exposes us for the frauds we really think we are.
Relief comes in many forms. Drink, drugs, religion, anonymous encounters in strange beds, the comfort of familiar friends and even more familiar foods, routine, ritual, travel, escape, the enveloping warmth of a hot bath or the jolting reality of a cold shower, movies, books, music and art, just about anything you can think of brings comfort to some.
The essence of comfort is generally rooted in familiarity. If it wasnt, wed all be comfortable with the idea of walking into a party full of strangers or delivering a speech before a large audience.
Comfort is, as well, most often grounded in simplicity. Macaroni and cheese is comfort food. Wasabi-encrusted filet of endangered species draped in raspberry infused, so-virgin-its-actually-unborn olive oil, and piled high on a plate of unidentifiable vegetable matter is not only uncomfortable but quite likely just leaves us with an overwhelming desire to grab a framing hammer and head for the kitchen to explain the concept of food to the chef.
And for many of us, chocolate is the ultimate comfort. Chocolate rights all wrongs, displaces discomfort, parts the clouds and stops the rain. Chocolate warms a chilly room, mends broken hearts, soothes raging muscles and empties a crowded space. Chocolate makes a bad movie better and a good movie great. Chocolate takes us back to the person we were the first time we tasted it even though were not aware times shifted.
And now, were in the process of messin up a good thing.
"Chocolate is the next coffee! Chocolate is the new olive oil! Chocolate now is where cheese was 10 years ago!" enthuse various beautiful people in a story in last weeks New York Times.
Unlike the vapid announcement running like wildfire through the fashion world a few months ago that gray is the new black "Oh thank God. I was beginning to feel so drab!" as one trendy Goth was heard to exclaim this one hits too close to home for, well, comfort.
It would appear my fellow boomers, the same creatures of wretched excess who visited the plagues of SUVs, dot.coms, nouvelle cuisine, vacuous musicals, cigars, $200 a bottle tequila, and 5,000 square foot homes on us, are about to do to chocolate what weve done to everything else weve turned our ravenous attention to. If Im not mistaken, I think the technical term is FUBAR.