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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review: Chocolate: The Consuming Passion by Sandra Boynton

This book combined my three most favorite things: books, chocolate, and sarcasm.

I like chocolate. In the way, as Sandra Boynton so elegantly says, that I like breathing. I probably have more than 10 kinds of chocolate in my house currently. I once went on a chocolate tasting walking tour when I lived in New York. The leader was impressed with the sophisticated pallets of our group, as we were inclined towards very dark. As a child I was occasionally so desperate for chocolate, I even occasionally reverted to baking chocolate (no sugar.) I once dated a man who didn’t like chocolate. After I overcame my horror, I quickly realized to my joy that this meant I didn’t have to share. And karma got him anyway – after we broke up he developed a crush on a girl who worked at Godiva.

I believe this was Ms. Boynton’s first book. It is not necessarily geared towards kids at all, although I was about 10 when it was given to me. But I was very familiar with her from her greeting cards. Even though I hadn’t even opened the book in 15-25 years, I could still quote one line from the book. Regarding carob, it is considered to be a good substitute for chocolate because it is roughly the same color and texture. “However, the same arguments can as persuasively be made in favor of dirt.” Which was precisely my experience in my one unpleasant encounter with carob.

The writing is hilarious (even the footnotes and dedication), the illustrations are even better, and she does actually have legitimate research (I particularly liked the chapter on Your Body and Chocolate. The biorhythm chart was particularly amusing.) As for salvaging failed desserts, I really have used failed brownies as an ice cream topping. I do disagree with her about how inferior chocolate ice cream is (she apparently is a fan of vanilla, whereas I do not see the point of vanilla.) This book is a great funny gift book for all ages, for everyone except those of jellybean sensibilities. Sadly, it is out of print. Workman should bring this back to life.

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