Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Consuming Passion

Being something of a foodie, I get catalogues for all the high brow uber expensive special gourmet treats. Some of the offers available transcend even American standards for wretchedly indulgent excess. These glossy brochures wax rhapsodic about the food with such transparent joy as to promise a pre “the fall” experience of eating. Catching my beef eater son drooling over a Wagyu Kobe beef offer heartened me about his spiritual innocence, but also stiffened my resolve to recycle the catalogs as quickly as they came in the door. I didn’t want to hear the cacophony of “I want this…” that would come with allowing Wireless, William Somoma, Lillian Vernon, Brookstone, L.L. Bean and Leaps and Bounds Toys catalogues into my home on a perpetual basis.

This policy was strictly enforced until there came one devoted purely to chocolate. I had seen beauty before, but here was the brochure detailing a myriad of choices evoking my deepest passions. There were no sojourns by the purveyors of this most sacred of foods into the disappointing venue of baked goods or ice creams. This catalogue knew its audience and was singled minded in its pursuit of chocolate perfection. There were no cute shaped dinosaurs or Christmas trees; there were fillings of hazelnut, cherry cordial and fondant. Appreciating the priority of substance over form, I spirited the contraband brochure to my room for further study.

That night, I began to educate myself on the varieties of pure indulgence available. I even gave my husband a good back rub to lull him to sleep before sneaking a peak at my beloved. The buyers had scoured the globe for the best chocolate truffles (Teuschers), nibby bars (Scharffen Berger), fudge sauce(Elmer’s Fudge Sauce), hot chocolate shavings (Shokinag), not to mention standby’s like Lindt semi-sweet bars, Hershey’s syrup, and Recchiuti hand rolled truffles and hand cut chocolate. I could feel my mouth watering. I would say I was like a kid in a candy store, but that seems rather obvious.

I had a lap top. I had a catalog. I had a credit card.

But wait, maybe these words were just words. After all, being a writer myself, I understood the glory and the emotional power of good descriptions. Was this pure marketing? To be on the safe side, I googled each item individually to ascertain the truth. I didn’t want to fall for any expensive pretenders. Alas for me, each of them proved to have many a glowing testimony to their positions as certifiable wonders of the chocolate world.

This knowledge brought a whole new set of questions for me. Were these various treats experiences worth not simply buying, but saving for? Were these chocolates such that they might even be worth abstaining from all other chocolate to allow for a greater taste experience? Would ordering too many at once rob me of the true nature of their individual chocolate essences, deprive me of the transcendent nature of unique fine chocolates? Would multiple experiences cheapen my appreciation of them? Worse, what if they disappointed? I felt oddly guilty as I lingered over the order form, like I was acquiring not simply one but multiple mail order brides, preparing to purchase blindly, illicit things I already wanted to love.

After wrestling with my conscious and my budget, and for brief moments, my diet, I decided it was better to play the field. I’m still young I reasoned. I’d have a blind date a month and who knows, maybe one of the gourmet chocolates and I would hit it off fabulously and I’d agree to a second or third date, perhaps be ready for a more permanent commitment. I ennie meenie miney moed my choice and put the catalogue lovingly into my night stand dresser drawer.

The next day, a Lego’s, American girl, National Geographic, Signals and Back to Basic Toys catalogue arrived in the mail. I recognized my own hypocrisy and called the children to hand them out. It can’t hurt to look I reasoned. Besides, I could artfully leave the chocolate catalogue out on the piano in case the kids or their dad needs any hints this Christmas.

2 comments:

Virginia Lee said...

When I lived in the boonies of north Mississippi, catalogs were one way to remind me that civilization was still out there somewhere.

One of the most interesting catalogs I ever happened upon was aimed at owner/operators of 18-wheelers. I was entranced because it never occurred to me that one could do so much decorating and styling inside a truck cab.

Ingrid Erika said...

OH! Sherry, What cha got on kids fights? Alec and Ana had to serve together this past Sunday at Mother Seton. Alec was 1 and Ana was 2. Bad combo! I thought I was going to crawl under the pew when I watched Alec scold Ana on the Altar., Erika

p.s. he was right though. she was slouching

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!