Tag Archives: chocolate

Here We Lent Again

Happy Ash Wednesday! It’s time to frantically figure out what to give up for Lent this year!

I actually started thinking about this a couple weeks ago, when I noticed at work that someone had brought in some Mardi Gras-themed pastries from a board meeting. But it’s nowhere near Mardi Gras! I thought. Then I looked at a calendar. But it’s not quite — well there’s still a little time — I mean, who even likes King Cake? Well, the colors ARE nice.

In the past I’ve given up Facebook, and arguing with Drew. Last year I gave up chocolate, and although that was an appropriately difficult thing for me to give up, I didn’t want to just repeat something from last year. So, after some hurried thought (and finishing some Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch last night), I think I’m going to give up ice cream.

What are you giving up this year? (Or, as I know some people do, are you taking on something additional during Lent?)

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Filed under Beginnings, Food, Holidays, Humor, Nonfiction, Religion

Willy Wonka and the Alarming Ultimatum

I was thinking about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, with Gene Wilder). It’s scary, right? There’s lots of stuff in there that used to give me nightmares. Like for instance:

A bunch of kids and their parents are invited into a creepy factory, led through a maze from which they presumably couldn’t find their way out if they wanted to, and then the kids are picked off one by one. This is like the epitome of the weird, not-really-for-children movies that our generation grew up on.

I was particularly struck by Augustus Gloop. I think I might have a touch of claustrophobia sometimes. Sometimes I (still) have nightmares about being stuck in a small hole or trying to crawl out of a tight space. And I blame that chocolate tube.

ww-augustus

But the other day it struck me for the first time. That would be the worst experience to go through as a parent. And these parents are relatively casual about their kids’ disappearances. Why wouldn’t Mrs. Gloop have jumped into the chocolate river to save her son? I guess Mr. Salt jumped down the bad egg chute after Veruca, and Mrs. Tee Vee fainted when her son had become a tiny television version of himself. But these are really horrible things happening to these kids, and it seems like that would be almost more of a punishment for the parents than for their offspring.

I guess that could be the point. The kids are growing into unlikable and flawed human beings, but they’re still just children. It’s really their parents’ fault for letting these things happen.

I’m not saying every person’s problem is invariably their parents’ fault. But in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we are shown four different cases of bad parenting that ultimately result in the family being punished. It’s an allegory to warn parents (and those who may become parents) to keep on their toes and raise good, well-behaved, considerate children.

(Conversely, Charlie Bucket is frequently called a “good kid,” and he’s parented hard-core by a mother and four grandparents. He makes the “right” choice, and is rewarded handsomely for it. Parents, take heed.)

This movie came out 43 years ago. I wonder whether it’s working. It’s definitely given me something to think about.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Not awesome

The special beans

I gave up chocolate for Lent this year. It hasn’t been too bad so far. It’s only been 9 days. Only 35 more days to go. (Or something like that.)

There’s plenty of other sweet stuff that I can find to try to fill the void. Including (but not limited to) dried pineapple, popsicles, and vanilla lattes. It’s both a blessing and a curse. (PS. It doesn’t completely fill the void. I cannot wait for post-Easter half-priced Robin Eggs.)

Every year I ponder Lent – what exactly is the reason that I’m giving something up? I have to re-justify what I’m doing, and figure out how to frame it. I have read different theories for how the tradition came about, and I think that the one that suits me best, and makes the most sense, is that I’m making a sacrifice, albeit small, to honor God’s sacrifice for me.

So even if giving up chocolate feels like a superficial thing to do, I suppose there’s a point to it. I don’t know if I’ll necessarily come out the other side of this a better person, but all introspection is good introspection, and I’ve never heard of someone regretting going 6 weeks without eating chocolate.

Now if only my coworkers would stop leaving bowls of it out on their desks all day…

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Filed under Food, Holidays, Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Self improvement, Writing