Chocolate and Octopus

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This is a guest post by a dear friend of mine and esteemed artist and foodie. Lori Weidenhammer.

I am a weak woman. I am a sinner.

I would probably sell my soul for a lifetime supply of the best chocolate. To call it an addiction would be a to trivialize a complex, lifelong relationship.

Chocolate is woven into my very identity. I can be placated,mollified, seduced and bribed with chocolate. I probably
should have become a chocolate maker. Maybe there’s still time for that. However, one wonders if owning a ChocoVision tempering machine might be the slippery slope that would end in my ruination.

Perhaps it all started with the mud pies I used to make in my back yard. I loved getting my hands into the muck, smoothing it into the plastic pie plates and decorating them with real Smarties before setting them in the hot prairie sun to dry. The red Smarties had to be saved to lick and rub on our lips for sweet sugary lipstick. Daring friends to eat the mud pies and then giggling hysterically was all a part of the game.

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Then there was the strange cookbook my mom had called “Chocolate cake and onions.” I remember staring for hours at the cover, with its lusciously iced chocolate cake and thinking how strange for a cookbook would be named after the thing I loved the most and the thing I loathed the most.

One year, my mom asked what special treats I would like for my birthday menu, and I requested chocolate cake and octopus. This meant a special trip to the city, (two and a half hours to Saskatoon), for my parents were determined to appease their deranged epicurean princess. I suspect the truth is they liked chocolate and octopus as much as I did.

I’ll admit I am prejudiced. I don’t really trust people who do not like
chocolate; especially those people who only claim to have a fondness for white chocolate. As I child, I was once given a white chocolate Easter bunny with a pink candy eye. It tasted of disappointment. People who don’t eat chocolate at all are just weird. End of story.

There is a certain time of the month, which shall not be named, at which chocolate becomes absolutely necessary for medicinal purposes. Some people say this is because chocolate contains magnesium, which we women lack at this time of the month. At these times I winder why there isn’t a pill
containing the medicinal compounds of the food of the goods. Surely the drug companies would want to make a quick and easy buck creating such a pill. However, the chocolate companies seem to have the upper hand here.

Now there is a drug that can magically stop that troublesome monthly cycle from even happening. Personally, I’d rather eat the chocolate.

I must admit I am feeling guilty these days because I have hooked my child on chocolate too. It is an expensive habit for one, but when the whole family is hooked on the drug, it’s time to create an elaborate system of allotment, rations, and hiding chocolate in secret stashes around the house. If you visit us, let it be known that I protect my chocolate stash with deepest life-saving instincts–tooth and claw. You have been warned.

I like to vary the forms of chocolate I eat and this summer I have had some memorable munches throughout Vancouver. They include: the chocolate semifreddo with marinated spiced cherries at Figmint , the
chocolate pistachio cookies at Shaktea (usually with a spicy cup of chai), the Chocolate Many-Ways at Rare, and the Austrian free-trade Zotter bars at Monde Chocolat. I’ll try to forget the sickly sweet fudge-covered green apple I had at the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition).

The most memorable chocolate I’ve eaten this summer is the
chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream Ullie and I had at Monde Chocolat . It was a warm, sunny day. We had visited the Salvation Army thrift shop, the comic book shop and the bee and butterfly garden at City Farmer. We picked out our ice cream treats and brought them to the Cypress Community Garden to savor before we took the bus home. Bees buzzed around us as they sought their own sweet rewards, but we were happy to be human, to be tempted and the give in to the sweet high
of our own private chocolate buzz.

Based in Vancouver and originally from Saskatchewan, Lori Weidenhammer has been producing amazing, funny and seductive performance pieces for many years, quite often to do with food. More recently, she has taken on the politics of food and sutainability with her ongoing project, Madame Doiittle: The Beespeaker Project. Check out her lovely blog here, and a piece I wrote about the project here.

One Comment

  1. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Chocolate and Octopus, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

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