Eating More Chocolate: A Cure for Pandemic Fatigue?

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

I just finished compiling today’s Links and they are particularly dire. COVID-19 is not going away. There is no vaccine or cure in sight. Even some places that had seemed to control spread of the disease – much of Europe – are imposing more draconian restrictions, in response to an uptick in cases. The only positive thing I can think of to say is the virus does not seem to have evolved into a more virulent form and that treatment is getting better. Small comfort.

According to today’s New York Times, As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue:

The United States surpassed eight million known cases this past week, and reported more than 70,000 new infections on Friday, the most in a single day since July. Eighteen states added more new coronavirus infections during the seven-day stretch ending on Friday than in any other week of the pandemic.

In Europe, cases are rising and hospitalizations are up. Britain is imposing new restrictions, and France has placed cities on “maximum alert,” ordering many to close all bars, gyms and sports centers. Germany and Italy set records for the most new daily cases. And leaders in the Czech Republic described their health care system as “in danger of collapsing,” as hospitals are overwhelmed and more deaths are occurring than at any time in the pandemic.

The virus has taken different paths through these countries as leaders have tried to tamp down the spread with a range of restrictions. Shared, though, is a public weariness and a growing tendency to risk the dangers of the coronavirus, out of desire or necessity: With no end in sight, many people are flocking to bars, family parties, bowling alleys and sporting events much as they did before the virus hit, and others must return to school or work as communities seek to resuscitate economies. And in sharp contrast to the spring, the rituals of hope and unity that helped people endure the first surge of the virus have given way to exhaustion and frustration.

“People are done putting hearts on their windows and teddy bears out for scavenger hunts,” said Katie Rosenberg, the mayor of Wausau, Wis., a city of 38,000 where a hospital has opened an extra unit to treat Covid-19 patients. “They have had enough.”

Ann Vossen, a medical microbiologist in the Netherlands, where daily cases doubled this past week, said people across Europe “let go too much.” She added, “This is the result.”

What petulant children we are!

Because the virus – lacking any brain, or agency – doesn’t care how tired of the pandemic you might be.

Do you wish to get sick? Or not?

If the answer is you still want to avoid COVID-19, you must continue to do what we know for sure checks its spread. Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Avoid unnecessary  social encounters and if they are necessary, hold them only outside. Wash your hands.

(I leave aside other, less universal advice: take certain supplements; exercise; gargle. Follow Florence Nightingale’s advice to her nurses for pandemic control: wash your face. There are things I’m doing personally but do not want to encourage others to take similar advice as we just don’t know. But even if it doesn’t help, my additional measures make me feel better, so I follow the ritual.)

I note that places which have managed so far to control the pandemic’s spread – Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Vietnam, South Korea. China – seem to continue to have the disease under control.

Let’s hope their success continues, as it provides an example for the rest of us, as well as means fewer people will suffer worldwide. Over to the NYT again:

In some parts of the world, behavior has changed and containment efforts have been tough and effective. Infections have stayed relatively low for months in places like South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and China, where the virus first spread. After a dozen cases were detected in the Chinese city of Qingdao, the authorities sought this past week to test all of its 9.5 million residents.

“We have very little backlash here against these types of measures,” said Siddharth Sridhar, an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Hong Kong. “If anything, there’s a lot of pushback against governments for not doing enough to contain the virus.”

Petulant Children

I’m not particularly dense, nor am I especially irreverent. But it seems that for the moment. the last thing we can afford is the luxury of pandemic fatigue. No matter how strongly each of us would dearly love to return to the world as it used to be, what we called ‘normal’.

We must continue to avoid COVID-19.

But we can allow small, consistent pleasures: such as eating more locally produced chocolate.

Oh come on! I can hear some of you saying.

Do you have better ideas? If so, please share them.

Not only does eating chocolate make you feel better.

It may actually be good for you – as we are learning more about the health benefits of eating it in moderation.

Also, in the case of the local chocolate shop mentioned in another recent New York Times piece, ‘It’s Fall! Here We Are!’ A Beloved Chocolate Shop Returns, It supports a local small business with a long history. These businesses are particularly at risk, and need all the help – such as a share my paltry dollars – they can get.

Now, I’m not sure whether this would count as an essential business in any sense of the word. Yet it seems the tiny, narrow historic shop is trying to make sure people practice social distancing.

I suppose it remains up to each of us to decide whether the measures they are taking are sufficient to ensure customers maintain their health.. And maybe it would be best to encourage online sales and curbside pickups rather than making in-person sales.

Yet I do understand why patrons might risk the latter, particularly if they observe necessary precautions.

I still lament the closing of Mangel’s chocolate shop, in Chester, NJ, early in the 2000s. I remember well its slogan, “It’s not so sweet.” And that Mom patronised the shop, for its homemade solid Easter bunnies, its Christmas Santas, and its delicious fudge. The seven of us occasionally stopped in during my childhood, en route to my Aunt Stel and Uncle Joe’s to celebrate a holiday, before they retired to Florida in the 1970s. The shop was a bit out of the way once they moved, but we still made holiday pilgrimages there long afterwards. And then my parents also retired to North Carolina, and I didn’t have any reason to drive to Mangel’s.

So I hope for the best for Lee Sims chocolates.

Maybe an occasional small pleasure  such as a bite of chocolate can help forestall the completely understandable pandemic fatigue.

I shudder at the thought of a post-pandemic world that’s comprised only of Amazon and its analogues.

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89 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    With this virus, it is just like the Top Gun quote – “He wears you down, you get bored, frustrated, do something stupid and he’s got ya.”

    But still, if there is even a suggestion that chocolate could help, better get some before word gets out and it clears faster from the shelves than toilet paper in March.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      A paraphrase of my friend Dr. Sarah Borwein, who notes how insidious this virus is – and it exploits any mistake you make.

      Reply
    2. lordkoos

      We love chocolate around here but it’s worth noting that with some people chocolate can challenge the immune system… it’s like a very mild allergy. So enjoy but don’t overdo it. I eat chocolate pretty much everyday but when I’m sick I stop.

      Reply
  2. The Historian

    Ah. yes! That is what is missing from my life. It is hard to get good chocolates these days since I no longer go to the malls! I am going to have to make it a point to shop for chocolates online!

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Well, I was going to suggest this wonderful chocolatier:

      https://www.mitchellschocolates.com/

      But I see that due to limited staffing during the pandemic, they currently are about to serve only the local market, so if you’re not in NE Ohio, looks like you’re out of luck with regard to Mitchell’s Chocolates, anyway.

      If you ARE in NE Ohio, I highly recommend the dark chocolate truffles, the dark chocolate turtles, and the Buckeyes. A friend swears by the dark chocolate covered marzipan.

      Anyway, Historian, I hope you can locate a small, independent chocolate maker to patronize online.

      Reply
      1. rd

        There are lots of local businesses to patronize. We do takeout from local restaurants etc. and tip well. We buy local wines and beers direct from the wineries and breweries where possible.

        I used to get haircuts once every month-and-half. Now I have them cut it shorter and do it once every three months and pay for two cuts because they have fewer customers per day due to their new reservation system and additional costs.

        Back in March, I looked up some of the history of pandemics over the past thousand years and realized that none ended in less than one year and most take two to three years. So I immediately started planning for this to be a two-three year change in my life. I think many people in the western developed countries have simply not come to grips with history. Most politicians have not done a good job understanding or delivering the news either.

        A handful of leaders around the world were able to get their countrymen to buy into the shared sacrifice required. Jacinda Ardern in NZ just got re-elected in a landslide due to her crisis handling. This is the first time since the political system in NZ was reformed in 1996 that a government has had an aoutright majority without requiring a coalition government. It was evident from the mosque shooting and volcanic eruption crises that she was able to think on her feet and do what needed to be done with empathy. Both the ability to think and the empathy have been sadly lacking in much of the rest of the developed world. Maybe more world leaders should get their initial political training serving food at fish-and-chip counters.

        Reply
    2. petal

      I will be bad and put in a plug for Red Kite Candy(VT). Melt in your mouth caramels that won’t destroy your teeth, and the toffee is top notch. The dark chocolate is my favourite. They are shipping.

      Reply
  3. Samuel Conner

    I suspect that the additional “don’t know but might help” measures (provided that they are not actually harmful — high-dosing on Zinc might, over time, induce anemia if not coupled with adequate Copper supplementation; I’ve been limiting myself to “daily recommended” dose levels already present in multivitamins on this account) have if nothing else a modest placebo effect of increasing one’s sense of agency and perhaps reducing stress, which might promote immune function.

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Worse than anemia, neutropenia. I did that to myself. But it’s an easy and quick fix at least. I would get a cut and it would take forever to heal.

      If you are deficient in zinc taking the RDA will do nothing. Lab tests should be acquired by anyone who has the means. Protect yourself because the vaccine companies aren’t.

      Reply
    2. Anthony G Stegman

      There are plenty of foods high in zinc. It is better to get your essential nutrients from food, rather than rely on supplements. Avoid supplements if at all possible!

      Reply
      1. carl

        Yeah, I looked them up a couple of days ago. It sounded like the diet we follow: red meat, shellfish, dairy, seeds and nuts, and eggs.
        I’m thinking I might not be deficient in zinc.

        Reply
      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        The only food high enough and zinc that compares to replenishment dose is oysters. Not many people like oysters. And some can’t even eat them because of allergies.

        I agree with your statement but only up to a point. If you’re deficient no amount of food source is going to be enough to replenish the deficiency.

        Reply
      3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        AGS

        Yes I agree with you that it is better to get your essential nutrients from food sources, but like just about everything it is not as simple as that. For starters as you age it becomes harder to efficiently process nutrients which is definitely the case with Vitamin D & providing that you are careful as to avoid over dosage within the present climate likely no harm in topping up. In my case anyhow I cannot afford to be dining on things like prime salmon & fresh tuna all that often, although I can manage decent staples with organic farm eggs without overdoing the latter.

        I am pretty well up on the value of nutrients as during my late wife’s first bout of cancer I bought a couple of book’s written by Dr. Weil in an effort to cook for her the right food to help her get through it. Sadly after going into remission 8 years later her curse returned in the form of a metastasis by way of a gliablastoma multiforme, She lasted 6 months longer than the 12 months that the doctors gave her, which I believe was partly due to that diet with some added supplements such as selenium which was continued until she arrived at her full stop.

        Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        I see that my remark was imprecise — by “high-dosing” I am thinking “above RDA”. I’ve been trying to evaluate zinc supplementation for myself and some elderly friends. The basic supplementation dose available on the online sites I have checked is 50mg elemental zinc per capsule. This is several times RDA, depending on gender.

        I have the impression that prolonged (multi-month) dosing at this level could lead to copper deficiency and attendent cytopenias if one is not already zinc deficient. I’m reluctant to advise this to my elderly friends.

        I think it is KP who has elsewhere (and briefly mentioned here, as well) recommended that one get a blood panel with levels of zinc, ceruloplasmin (protein bound-copper) and other markers to inform one’s decision about Zn supplementation. My limited reading on the subject suggests to me that this is wise counsel.

        Reply
  4. Krystyn Podgajski

    I am mostly fatigued by the differences I see across consumer shops. Specifically coffee shops. I just went to a coffee shop this morning and there was literally zero contact, and they didn’t take cash. They had a baby monitor outside which they used to take orders which I could barely hear. But then you go to a Starbucks and you can sit inside without a mask, they take cash, etc.

    I think there’s a balance between the two, but alas, we are living in a world of extremes.

    And on chocolate, it might benefit you all to know why it helps with “depression”. Chocolate contains a substance called Phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is a trace amine and so it triggers our own trace amine receptors. Do you No one else does that? Methamphetamines. Yes, I am not joking, chocolate cures depression just like methamphetamines cure depression.

    https://www.clinicaleducation.org/resources/reviews/pea-a-natural-antidepressant/

    We make PEA in our body naturally from the breakdown of phenylalanine by a gene called DDC. I know this because too much PEA is one of my issues that leads to my anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. For the longest time I never knew why a chocolate bar would keep me awake much more strongly that a cup of coffee would.

    IMHO, A significant amount of cases of depression might be caused simply by a B6 deficiency, which is the cofactor for DDC.

    Reply
    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Coffee has been proven effective in managing moderate levels of depression. Coffee + dark chocolate may be even better.

      Reply
      1. jr

        Having tried to quit caffeine recently, I can attest to the fact that the lack of it leads first to depression then to literal Frankfurtian wantonness. I made it to day three and on that morning awoke, got dressed, and got a double expresso pretty much as an casual observer from within my own head.

        Reply
        1. petal

          haha I am on day 2 of no caffeine! Determined that this time it’s it. You’d think the splitting headaches would teach me a lesson.

          Reply
          1. Icecube12

            I have quit caffeine, and I recommend tapering off of it. Cut down by one cup each week, or just drink a cup of coffee in the morning and tea later in the day for the first couple weeks. Then cut the coffee, then the tea. I didn’t get any headaches doing it that way. After you’re off caffeine, you realize that you don’t need it to stay awake. The thing I missed most about it was the ritual, but even that desire went away with time. Now I will sometimes have a cup of coffee or tea for a special occasion, and when you have caffeine for the first time after not having any for a while, I gotta tell you, you feel great.

            Reply
            1. jr

              Thanks for laying that out, I’m going to give it a shot. I quit drinking about 6 months ago and I feel terrific, I’d love to lose another addiction.

              Reply
            2. larry

              Herbal teas generally have no caffeine. And Fujian oolong tea, such as Wuyi oolong or Anxi Tie Guan Yin has very little as it is plucked very late in the season. But you would probably have to go to a specialist tea shop to get these China teas.

              Reply
          2. shtove

            Some of us have a paradoxical reaction to caffeine, and are puzzled by talk of the coffee buzz. For me, if anything, coffee is a little relaxing, and I do occasionally doze off after a strong brew. I drink it for the taste. As for tea – nada, zilch.

            Reply
            1. Eclair

              Re: dozing off after a strong brew of coffee.

              My college age grandson and his girlfriend clued me in to this phenomenon a few weeks ago. It has a name: espresso nap.

              You drink down a strong espresso, then quickly take a 20 minute siesta before the caffein kicks in.

              Reply
              1. shtove

                Hadn’t heard of that practice – thanks. I think for people who have a paradoxical reaction, the caffeine doesn’t block adenosine, so there’s no reversal of tiredness and no buzz.

                Reply
          3. The Rev Kev

            Just yesterday decided to cut down my coffee consumption – to seven cups a day. Makes for an awful long morning between cups.

            Reply
        2. Ella

          About 6 days for withdrawal and 3 weeks to break the habit. I drank Teecino to help with the habit of needing a warm drink that wasn’t herbal tea. I’ve been caffeine free for years and sleep much better (not as good these days but it’s a pandemic….)

          Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks for your comment. I always hesitate when I upload my more personal (whimsical?) posts. The habits of many hard-nosed years die hard.

      Reply
    2. jr

      Seconding that. I would add that getting some basic cooking skills under one’s belt would be another way to combat the fatigue of another flare up. Not to mention saving a ton of money. And learn some simple candy making while you are at it. It’s a lot cheaper to buy plain chocolate and make it into something than to buy candy:

      https://youtu.be/POybABHGR9g

      Also get some candy melting bowls:

      https://www.joann.com/wilton-ceramic-candy-melting-cups-and-bowls-4inx3-1-2in/8221194.html?msclkid=db801f31098d1cbf57d440bd650d94e4&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=%5BADL%5D%20%5BPLA%5D%20%5BShopping%5D%20All%20Products&utm_term=4585238370344185&utm_content=All%20Products&adlclid=ADL-2b3da00f-9545-43f6-bc9d-7277e7681287

      Reply
  5. Keith Newman

    Great advice re chocolate, especially local production. I’ve been buying mine from a large chain grocery store (Provigo in Quebec) but there’s a small shop I’ll go to now. I hope it’s still there…

    Reply
  6. fresno dan

    When I think of chocolate, I think of See’s candies.
    When I was a child, to get a piece of See’s candies was like getting a piece of heaven. I thought until I was an adult that See’s candies were only in Fresno. Probably nothing but home grown bias, but I have never come across a chocolate I like better than See’s.

    Reply
    1. marcyincny

      See’s! My mother was in assisted living for years and one of the pleasures I could provide was See’s Nuts & Chews.

      As it happens my passion for artisan dark chocolate has waned since the pandemic hit while See’s dark Butterchews have become my favorite treat.

      Yeah See’s!

      Reply
    2. Rick in Oregon

      In Portland, Oregon when I was young it was Van Duyn’s chocolate. I just discovered it was a local business but unfortunately seems to be now gone.

      Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      See’s chocolates are one of the few consumer things in my life that hasn’t changed as far as packaging goes, a box full from the 50’s looks pretty much the same as one you’d buy today.

      Don’t leave me alone with a box, in theory i’d take a week to polish it off, reality is a whole lot sooner.

      The other one curiously enough is a tootsie roll sucker on a stick, the only candy item i’m aware of that is merely wrapped with waxed paper and nothing else.

      Reply
      1. GF

        Tootsie Roll suckers are my favorite too. At Halloween I buy a large bag (we never have trick-or-treaters) and enjoy one a day for the next 2 months. The past couple of years they have been harder to find.

        Wuk, I see your bid on the 1794 wavy hair silver dollar wasn’t quite high enough. Better luck next time.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Wuk, I see your bid on the 1794 wavy hair silver dollar wasn’t quite high enough. Better luck next time.

          I stopped collecting coins when I was barely a teenager and turned into a numismercenary, not that I didn’t have a number of great rarities pass through my hands along the way…

          I was unusual in that regard, as most coin dealers I knew, tended to be their best customer.

          Reply
    4. Leftist Mole

      No, you are not mistaken. I’ve tried all sorts of fancy, insanely priced, foreign and artisanal chocolates, and See’s chocolates stand up quite nicely to them. It was odd to discover the chocolates of my California childhood opening up in New York and elsewhere and then to discover, my gracious! They really are as good as one’s memories!

      Reply
  7. Sara K.

    At the beginning of the shelter-in-place era, a local tea shop had a ‘stay home and drink tea’ sale and, in addition to the discounts, offered free shipping on all orders over 50 USD. They said that the online orders were what allowed them to survive keeping their three brick-and-mortar stores closed for months. Their brick-and-mortar stores have re-opened, but with precautions. (I think this strategy only worked because they had been in the habit of collecting most customers’ email addresses for years, even walk-in customers).

    Reply
  8. Oh

    J-L, thanks for your post and especially this sentence:

    I shudder at the thought of a post-pandemic world that’s comprised only of Amazon and its analogues.

    I’m afraid that world is fast approaching.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      So do I. The only way I can think of to counter this trend is to patronise independent businesses – advice I try to follow wherever I find myself.

      Reply
    2. William Sircin

      Oooookay, here’s my question: According to this:

      https://www.visualcapitalist.com/amazon-revenue-model-2020/

      Amazon currently accounts for somewhat less than 5% of total US retail sales. Quite a bit for one company, yes, but at what point does it “comprise” the entire “world”? In order to reach one quarter of total US sales, it would either have to increase its (snicker) “productive capacity” by by more than 500%–or conversely, consumer spending would have to collapse by about 80%. I don’t think that would bode well for Amazon’s growth prospects.

      Leaving that behind, does anybody really believe that the worst we could suffer in an Amazon/Walmart/Uber/WhateverCo world is a gray, empty, joyless landscape devoid of vibrant culture, meaningful employment, community spirit, and local chocolate shops? Or that a civilization, or a species, once dominated by a handful of gargantuan, globe-strangulating, pollution-spewing, regulation-flouting hyper-monopolies, has a chance of surviving at all in the long term, or even the mid term? What are we REALLY shuddering about here?

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        > What are we REALLY shuddering about here?

        Note how the brutal working conditions prevalent at Amazon warehouses was first implemented in China with the brutal working conditions in Foxconn factories making crApple crapola. Not only have the products made in China beeen exported, the brutality behind making those products has been exported too, and adopted and refined by Bezos to the n’th degree, to the point where if you packaged 120 things in the last hour, you better package 130 things in the next hour, or else. The point is, even were the work pace slowed in half, it would still not be a long term survivable jawb, so these workers are thrown on the trash heap behind every Amazon warehouse after being worn out.

        Remember the good times of former president hopey dopey changey, and how Amazon warehouse jawbs were the ticket to future middle class jawbs, something we should aspire to? It was a lie, along with a plethora of other lies.

        I hear the Amazon ads looking for workers every day. Can you fog a mirror and absorb abuse? Amazon is hiring.

        Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

        Reply
        1. William Sircin

          I have a friend who worked a few years in onboarding management at various Amazon fulfillment centers (I know, I know). He told me a lot of disturbing stories, but the most telling might be that, by the time he quit in disgust circa 2018, the average yearly turnover rate for the entire FC system had, after rising steadily throughout his tenure, reached some 200 percent. This is clearly not a sustainable arrangement, and would become even less so as Amazon increases its market share/presence in the labor force. I fully believe that this particular company’s potential for collapsing under its own weight is far higher than most people would believe or care to think about, especially if consumer spending were to decline sharply.

          Reply
  9. semiconscious

    I’m not particularly dense, nor am I especially irreverent. But it seems that for the moment. the last thing we can afford is the luxury of pandemic fatigue. No matter how strongly each of us would dearly love to return to the world as it used to be, what we called ‘normal’.

    when the ‘pandemic’ has taken away your livelihood, your source of income, your ability to pay your rent or feed your family, it’s not so much ‘the luxury of fatigue’ that many are experiencing as it is a matter of sheer misery & desperation. for many, with no endgame in sight, & the threat of more lockdowns ever present, there’s no longer any hope whatsoever of returning to the world ‘as it used to be’. & that’s the real problem at this point – the many who’ve basically already lost everything other than their health to this ‘pandemic’…

    Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      Thank you, semiconscious! That was my first reaction, followed by an image of Pelosi’s freezer full of Jeni’s ice cream — woman-owned, socially responsible … and $12/pint. Third reaction was that Jerri-Lynn is so NOT that kind of person and certainly didn’t intend to be insensitive to the mental and physical symptoms of pandemic fatigue, which is very real and not just a collective temper tantrum — although that clearly exists among some demographics. Here’s an informative Q&A with a U of Arizona psychologist:
      https://news.arizona.edu/story/got-pandemic-fatigue-covid-19-taking-toll-mental-health-psychologist-says

      In my rural red county in Upstate New York, we’ve had 313 positive cases and six deaths total. People who had been wearing masks outside stopped in May or June (state mandate requires them indoors) but community activities came to a halt and never resumed. There has been a heaviness, unspoken sadness and anger hanging in the air. I feel it, even my cat feels it. With my history of depression, I thought it was just me, until a social worker friend told me her agency has had a massive increase in demand for mental health services. Anger and frustration are off the charts she said, and she and her co-workers are exhausted to the point of neglecting self-care. Suddenly I recalled several conflicts I’d witnessed during biweekly shopping trips. I also suggested to her (and she agreed) that presidential politics might be contributing to the mood here. The increasing likelihood that Trump will lose is depressing for his supporters, while anti-Trumpers are depressed that “winning” gets them Biden. Almost everyone seems to know that we’re [family blogged] either way.

      As for the chocolate, it’s not for nothing that it was given the Latin name “theobromide” — food of the gods. I still remember a conversation with a government lawyer in the late 1980s about his teenage daughter, whose psychiatrist, instead of prescribing her anti-depressant drugs, recommended “a piece of chocolate” whenever she was feeling depressed (smart doctor; some anti-depressants since have been proven to increase suicidal behavior in teens). Finally, last year, clinical findings were published showing a clear correlation, with a call for further study. The optimal “dose” was deemed to be 1-2 ounces/day of >70% dark chocolate.
      https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/dark-chocolate-depression

      I discovered chocolate by percentage while living in France in the mid-1990s. It took a while for it to catch on in the United States, no doubt because of the market dominance of Hershey and Nestle crap chocolate. I haven’t touched that stuff for decades. The alternative for me, however, is not gourmet nuggets from local chocolatier, which I can’t afford, being a senior on disability, and in any case contains added sugar and fat that can work against depression.

      It’s Aldi’s for me. Also, there’s a discount grocer, owned and operated by a local couple, that from time to time finds about-to-expire or overstock of Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Godiva. They just picked up a bunch, including Lindt 85-percent dark for $1 each. When I’m behaving, I can make a bar last 2-3 days, which is right in the range of the above study and works with my budget.

      Reply
    1. Lex

      Not shameless. It’s a great company. I’ve bought dozens of their bars and given them away, like for Halloween. (We get very few trick-or-treaters, so why not go full-sized!)

      Reply
  10. marcyincny

    Thank you for this post. I find any discussion of the day-to-day challenges of the ‘new normal’ helpful and comforting.

    “What petulant children we are!” Indeed, children conditioned to believe the natural world can be ‘controlled’ and that every want and desire should be satisfied. Doesn’t bode well for the impending disruptions…

    Reply
  11. Uhhh...

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news here on the chocolate front… you should know that child labour is still a huge problem in the industry. So please consider where the cacao actually comes from and not just the local maker of it. It’s been a dirty secret in the industry and they’ve been very effective at keeping it largely out of public awareness.

    For example
    WaPo: ” Cocoa’s child laborers: Mars, Nestlé and Hershey pledged nearly two decades ago to stop using cocoa harvested by children. Yet much of the chocolate you buy still starts with child labor.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/business/hershey-nestle-mars-chocolate-child-labor-west-africa/

    These are supposedly ethically sourced
    http://www.slavefreechocolate.org/ethical-chocolate-companies

    Reply
  12. Sutter Cane

    “What petulant children we are!”

    If there was a blizzard outside, and people were trying to “return to normal” by wearing shorts and summer clothes because they REALLY, REALLY WANTED IT TO BE SUMMER, we would rightfully think them insane. I think in the future people will marvel at the complete disregard for reality we are currently witnessing

    Reply
    1. JohnMc

      which ‘reality’ are we currently witnessing?

      i see madness in response to a disease where all the IFRs point to a lethality similar to seasonal flu.

      Reply
      1. Phillip Cross

        Similar only in that they both have a numerical value. e,g. UK deaths from seasonal flu 2017 ~500, UK deaths from Covid19 2020 ~50000 (and counting).

        Reply
      2. ProNewerDeal

        It is not a false binary death vs full recovery.

        Read about Long COVID, which UK experts estimate affects 10-20% of patients.

        Also, health vs economics is a false tradeoff. Australia/Korea etc have proven that suppression enhances both health & economics.

        Reply
    2. flora

      I don’t know about “petulant children.”

      After watching the politicals who knew by early Feb there was a serious problem and downplayed it until they sold their stock positions before they said anything to the public so they wouldn’t be hurt in the stock market fall; after watching the politicals turn what should have been straight forward health guidance into a political football; after watching the “leading experts” say no mask, mask, mask only indoors, mask everywhere; after listening to WHO say lockdown for health, don’t lockdown for the economy; after watching politicals rush to favor certain pharma companies with sweetheart guarantees and ignore other pharma companies; after watching the govt hijack PPE shipments and reroute them to their favored spots; after watching politicals rush to save Wall St. and let Main Street founder…. and much much more.

      I don’t feel petulant. I feel another word that starts with a “p”. (Sorry, had to get that out. Yes, I’m continuing the precautions that I think work from reading NC postings. )

      Time for a bit of chocolate. :)

      Reply
  13. RMO

    One thing I’ve learned from the pandemic is that I probably would have made a great astronaut (or any other occupation which requires constant adherence to safety procedures). I’m still observing all the precautions I started taking at the beginning of all this (N95 mask and gloves while shopping, everything that comes into the house gets cleaned, take out food is all re-heated in the oven, strip off in the garage on returning home and completely shower in the bathroom adjacent to the garage) and it’s become so routine that I think it will be difficult to stop doing all this when it’s over at some point in the future.

    Reply
    1. Josef K

      That’s a good point. Astronauts must have strong science backgrounds, thus good reasoning skills, and they’re smart risk takers–practitioners of the precautionary principle.
      As a long-time motorbike rider, it’s similar. Having discovered the hardest thing about riding–the pavement–I now practice ATGATT.
      The other day I was behind a young rider at 60-70MPH for about 30 minutes–her lone protection the legally-mandated helmet, only one hand on the bars the whole way. I hung back in case she made her own discovery that day.
      “What Me Worry” seems to be the prevalent attitude.

      Reply
  14. MIkerw0

    I can personally attest that chocolate and a good stout, Belgian ale if it’s dark chocolate, or a sipping bourbon are all great combos.

    Now my question. Which comes first, the chocolate or the drink?

    Reply
  15. a different chris

    > “If anything, there’s a lot of pushback against governments for not doing enough to contain the virus.”

    This illustrates the trick that unfortunately some smart jerk on the American right figured out a long time ago, I doubt it was Reagan but he was of course the biggest and most successful mouthpiece: In other countries, if the government doesn’t do useful things for society they get s-canned and another government replaces them.

    However in America, instead of telling us in any particular case that the “this government is doing a bad job solving this problem” they told everybody that “government can’t solve this problem” and that was that.

    Of course, said smart jerk needed a country full of imbeciles to accomplish this, but that’s what we seem to have.

    Reply
  16. run75441

    A nice post Jerri-Lynn. I will probably steal this and put it over at Angry Bear where I write and moderate unless you object. My wife and I spend a lot of time at home due to Covid. It is safer there.

    Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    Just as an off the cuff suggestion, Jerri how about a post some day on textiles? I’m sure that you could put together something fascinating about it and it would tie in with your interest in textile artisans.

    Reply
  18. ProNewerDeal

    “If the answer is you still want to avoid COVID-19, you must continue to do what we know for sure checks its spread.” Thanks, Jerri-Lynn!

    I feel I am more cautious than most people in my area, yet I am merely following the public health guidance.

    I feel most people are underestimating the risk of Long COVID symptoms.

    It also seems most goverments & individuals are not factoring the current COVID prevalence in to their behavior. A risky activity such as an indoor gym may be appropriate at 7/100K weekly prevalence but not at 50/100K.

    Reply
  19. Henry

    If you dare, you might try the drink of the gods: xocatyl
    (For royalty only!)
    Boil 1 chopped green chili seeds and all in 1 1/2 cup water ~ 10 mins
    turn down the temp then strain out the chili.

    Add another ~ 4 cups water and mix in the best unsweetened cocoa you can find (less chance of mycotoxin contamination)
    until it dissolves completely.

    Turn off the heat and add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or if you wanted to be really authentic you could have added a chopped up a bean with the pepper initially).

    Put it in a closed shaker and dance about until you get a nice froth forming and cools to room temp
    or
    put it in the fridge for a bit then get your slave to whip it into a froth. I use a blender, but if you don’t have a slave, a whisk works well also.
    Enjoy.
    Note: many will want to add a tablespoon of honey, but don’t expect hot chocolate flavor, its more like drinking a black coffee type of experience. Hence the name bitter water. You also can try it with a bit of cinnamon. Try to avoid adding dairy as that negates the beneficial effects of the flavanoids in chocolate. Also note 1 cup cocoa has ~ 39% RDA for zinc.
    Here is a link to some history and a more contemporary recipe:
    https://vidyaliving.com/dia-de-los-muertos-raw-mexican-spice-hot-chocolate/

    Reply

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