Posted November 22, 2013
Excerpt from The Chocolate Therapist, A User’s Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate
Chapter 8 ~ Where Do You Hide Your Chocolate?
Now that you have a doctorate level understanding of the health benefits of chocolate, it’s time to move on to some of the more entertaining elements of the topic. Studying chocolate all day has often caused my thought processing to wander way outside the chocolate box. The results of a “Where Do You Hide Your Chocolate?” query I posted for an article was just too good to pass up.
I’ve edited the responses just a little but believe me, as you read through these you’ll understand I did not come up with these on my own. These brilliant solutions to combat potential chocolate loss came straight from the creative collective genius of authentic chocolate hiders. I didn’t even change the names to protect the innocent and contributors knew it. Apparently there is no shame in hiding chocolate, and that’s a good thing.
A few of the statistics stood out, summarized here for your reading pleasure:
We do in fact hide our favorite chocolates from our loved ones, or anyone else for that matter.
- To make up for any possible guilt over number 1, we place less expensive “decoy” chocolate on obvious shelves to pacify their chocolate needs and keep them from discovering the premium collection.
- The number one hiding spot among those who responded was the freezer. If you’re experiencing a chocolate emergency while at a dinner party, check here first—bottom left, under the peas and corn. Sometimes it’s in a single location, other times you’ll find it spread out in micro-baggies throughout the shelves.
- We often indulge in solitude, savoring the sweet decadence of a stolen moment with a single purpose—ME.
While each of us is certain our stash is the best, a quick review of your flavor-savoring cohorts will help expand your options in the devastating event your stockpile is ever discovered.
Joyce, Age 60: A lifelong hider, her creative style began in her early teens when the predicament of having to share a bedroom with her sister meant rotating the chocolate stash (tucked into a shoebox) between the center of the laundry basket and outside the bedroom window.
As Joyce matured so did the expansion of her stash, which extended beyond the bedroom and into every conceivable room in the house…primarily M & M’s in baggies including one pouch stapled neatly to the bottom of the couch. This spot was quite successful in the context that it had never been discovered, but the installation of radiant heat some years later proved to be a carpet destroying mishap. Not to worry–44 additional stashes were still intact.
Joyce maintains that over the years the stash count has been reduced to a single baggie hanging in the pantry amid extension cords and drills. But those of us who can relate to the extent of Joyce’s lifelong adventures in chocolate suspect there’s still something quite close to her pillow that she’s not willing to divulge. It must be from Belgium or Switzerland.
Heidi, Age 43: Heidi, a fellow writer, uses a similar technique to mine—a bowl of chocolate chips stashed by the computer to help ease the burden of an 8-hour writing day. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why we write—the perfect excuse to sit comfortably by a bowl of chocolate all day.
Heidi is also one of Lindt’s top customers, reportedly purchasing up to 10 bags of Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles any time they’re on sale. Each truffle is broken into four separate bites, she insists, to make sure it constitutes the sensation of a full chocolate meal.
Her “operating” stash is kept in a small mixing bowl in the kitchen, easily available should she be away from the computer. Obviously 10 bags of truffles would hardly fit nicely into a small mixing bowl, so the back-stock is bagged and properly disguised in the linen closet. Excellent work, Heidi.
Those wishing to discover a bit more about this chocolate-hiding-cohort can check out Heidi’s chocolate blog at: www.heidiashworth.blogspot.com, or invest in a copy of her snappy book “ Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind,” already in its second printing since its November 2008 release. Perhaps if we all ate more chocolate, we too would pen brilliant stories while surrounded by our beloved chocolate chips.
Lynn, Age 44: Hearts out to Lynn, who sacrificed several pounds of extraordinary truffles to a grazing boyfriend who mistook them for filler as opposed to the intimate, private moments of enjoyment they’re meant to be. Apparently there are those who embrace to the misguided presumption that “A truffle, is a truffle, is a truffle.”
This is what happens when you don’t hide your chocolate properly. Lynn had innocently put the truffles in the cookie jar. What kitchen-wandering-man wouldn’t mistake them for a low-budget cookie? This is just too obvious. I can only hope he enjoyed them with a fine quality light lager beer.
Fortunately Lynn assessed the folly of her ways and moved the truffles to grandma’s knitting basket before the entire lot was gone. It turned out to be an excellent alternative given its close proximity to her reading chair, not to mention a very low possibility that the wandering grazer would stumble into grandma’s knitting. After adding a glass of red wine and a curled up cat to the chocolate/chair combo, she quickly forgot about the missing truffles.
Michelle, Age 39: Michelle doesn’t take chances with just one location….she goes all out with a stash in the filing cabinet at work, a Tupperware container at home and thin mints in the freezer. To make certain the mints last as long as possible, they are individually bagged and scattered throughout the freezer. In the event of unexpected company, this strategy can help ease stress with a nice chocolate surprise while in a frenzied search for the warehouse-sized chicken pot pie.
Leigh, Age 34: Leigh wins the award for “best use of unusable glassware.” Her Christmas bowls and Valentine’s Day vases are not actually dusty as they’re filled with chocolate. While it might seem simple, there’s actually a bit of a balancing act involved as the stash must be moved out of the Christmas vase and into the Valentine’s vase during Christmas, then back again as Valentine’s Day approaches.
But Leigh’s balancing skills are clearly intact as she’s also the mother of two small children and she owns her own business. To all of us who have walked that wire, it certainly makes sense that she needs a chocolate stash. Leigh saves her chocolate squares for her mental health time block (20 minutes) that includes a quick peek at her favorite soap opera.
I asked myself if a person can actually watch only 20 minutes of a soap opera. And then I realized if you can eat just two squares of chocolate daily while raising two young children and managing your own business, you could easily tear yourself away in the midst the average soap opera travesty.
Kathryn, age not disclosed: Kathryn represents an example of where we’re all headed in this great big chocolate adventure. At the time of this writing, Katherine reported a stash of 21 bars in a “little” cubbyhole at her desk, although she maintains at times there has been more. Somehow I don’t see 21 bars of chocolate fitting in a “little” cubbyhole, but apparently it can be done, so this is good news. I imagine one gets to a point where they learn to pack the bars perfectly to fit many as possible into a single location.
Kathryn’s response was especially close to my heart because after listing the brands in her stash, I realized she should probably have them in a vault as opposed to her cubby, due to the value of her collection. And she wasn’t overly snobbish about the percentage of cocoa either. This woman just loves chocolate, from chocolate soup to chocolate covered nuts. Her stash ranged from milk to 88% cacao, some of them pure and others infused with wasabi, chili peppers and lemon rind.
And kudos to Kathryn, who is out there working for us. She eats ½ ounce of chocolate after lunch every day and blogs about her discoveries at http://leighwantsfood.blogspot.com/search/label/chocolate. Now we don’t have to work so hard to find the best!
Marlise, Age 45: Unfortunately this woman was not able to divulge her real name for fear that her stash might be outed, leaving her chocolate-less in a dire emergency. I changed both her name and her age to protect the innocent, or perhaps more appropriately, to protect her as-yet undiscovered stash.
Before I tell you her exact location, it’s important to understand that Marlise uses chocolate for depression and stress. She actually said she’d have to move out if anyone discovered her hiding place, and of course I didn’t want that to happen. (Now you begin to see why its location is Level 5 security.) To make sure she doesn’t suffer the same fate of Lynn’s wandering grazer, Marlise places regular “decoy” chocolate in plain sight for her husband and son. With the naïve boys satisfied, discovery of her prized collection is far less likely.
Here’s the kicker: While Marlise thinks this is a safe hiding place, after doing the research I can assure you that quite a large number of people hide chocolate in Tupperware under their winter sweaters. In fact, this location might come in at number two behind “in the freezer”. I’m going out on a limb here to suggest that Marlise is subconsciously worried about her stash being discovered because she actually hasn’t hidden it well enough. Perhaps she’ll be prepared to use her real name without fear of discovery after reading this section.
Stacie, Age undisclosed: Stacie uses the strategy “when the going gets tough, the tough eat their chocolate stash.” As the mother of three small children and a chocolate-obsessed husband, you can only begin to imagine the wall of potential conspiracy she is up against to locate a safe place for her chocolate. But Stacie’s creativity runs deep, assuring her chocolate will be safe for decades. In fact she may single-handedly own the top three spots in the world.
- In the Always box in the bathroom closet. True brilliance, not to mention perfectly appropriate for the occasion.
- In the box that contains her wedding album. Where else could you possibly hide chocolate from a chocolate-obsessed husband? I’ve personally never seen a man reminisce through a wedding album and I’d be willing to bet money it’s happened less than ten times throughout history. Very clever.
- In a shoebox at the top of her closet. After all, one can truly only expect to find an old pair of ladies shoes, right?
Diana, Age 45: Diana didn’t actually disclose the exact location of her stash, although she did tell a very sweet story about how she and her six-year old daughter fight over the stash (OK, “fight” might be a bit dramatic). She mentioned that she keeps a large bag of chocolate chips in the pantry with the baking goods—“decoy” chocolate, I presume.
I had to put this story in because it reminds me of what happens when you ask your kids what they’ve been doing and instead of answering, they ask you how your day was. It’s not that they really care how it was–it’s just that they don’t want to tell you what they’ve been doing. Likewise, when a hider won’t anonymously divulge where they’re hiding, it’s safe to say we have a true hider.
Tracy, Age 43: Tracy is a freezer-hider, but considering she’s the mom of two teenage sons, she definitely doesn’t have to worry they’ll be looking in there any time soon. In fact they may not look in there until their mid-30s, when their wife leaves home for the first time on a business trip. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing and Tracy has capitalized on it nicely.
Actually there’s a little more to her story that’s worth pointing out. Tracy discovered that while her sons inherited her brown hair and brown eyes (she suspects this is where their love of chocolate stems from), they did not inherit her love of vegetables. It’s highly unlikely her sons would ever think to even touch a bag of peas or corn much less move them, unless of course they were sitting on top of ½ gallon of chocolate ice cream.
Tracy is optimizing a technique I call “using idiosyncrasy to your favor.” If you know your potential targets would never cook a thing, a kitchen-focused location is destined for success. Won’t do clothes? The laundry room. Not a tea drinker? The tea canister. Not a knitter? The knitting basket. Well, you get the point.
Christy, Age 28: “Guilty pleasure” is a term often associated with chocolate indulgence (although hopefully not after reading this book), and Christy is the quintessential example of this. She hides her chocolate in her workout drawer right next to her gym clothes, requiring her to carefully assess just exactly how bad she wants her chocolate. In case the answer is yes, she keeps two different bags flattened neatly under the short and t-shirts. This keeps her options open while giving her enough room to stow both the chocolate and the clothes and still close the drawer easily.
——-continues in book ———-
Enjoy more stories from Chapter 8 in the book, “The Chocolate Therapist, A User’s Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate”