Last week I bought something that looked magical: Trader Joe's peppermint hot chocolate, with little bits of real chocolate.
And how could I resist? From the adorable canister to the word "shavings," this thing didn't just call out to me, it taunted like a child who doesn't understand that their parent is ignoring them on purpose. "Want to buy me? Want to buy me? Want to buy me? Want to buy--" "For the love of GOD WILL YOU BE QUIET, MOMMY IS ON THE PHONE."
So I bought it. Brought it home. Tasted it.
And it was spearmint.
SPEARMINT? REALLY?? Really, Trader Joe's. I TRUSTED you. When you said pumpkin butter was good and I didn't believe you, who was right? YOU were. When you said I wouldn't notice how bad $3 wine was, who was right? YOU were. When you said chicken sausage should be available for the masses, who was right? YOU were. But now? Now I don't know what to think anymore. Will that box of organic vegan cookies be filled with worms? MAYBE! Nothing is right anymore! Up is down, left is right, PEPPERMINT IS SPEARMINT AND MY WORLD IS CRASHING AROUND ME.
Here's my other problem (I know, you're so amazed that I have this many things to complain about when it comes to cocoa): I have become unimpressed by powdered hot chocolate--NOW HEAR ME OUT. I recognize that if I melted down a bar, mixed it with some cream and called it cocoa, that it would be delicious.
But I'm talking regular ol' run-of-the-mill Swiss Miss. Is it me, or is it just not the same as it was as a kid? I mean, maybe it was the insane amount of marshmallows my mom added. Or maybe it was the fact that the cocoa was given to us after we came in from "hours" of "sledding" (aka "minutes" of "dragging my sister around on the sled like a dog because it's Illinois and our only hill is the converted landfill on the other side of town") but it seems like hot chocolate was just a million times more delicious than it is now.
I mean, hot chocolate used to be the saving grace in a world full of chaos. Adults got coffee at every turn, but what did we have to lift our spirits? A can-do attitude? Hardly. Because when your Indian Princess tribe (Another day. Another day.) is trying to sell Christmas trees to raise money for their next father-daughter bonding retreat and you can neither a) Pick up the trees because you are too little, b) Sell the trees because you cannot subtract yet, nor c) Play hide-and-seek amongst the trees because SOMEONE is an enormous party pooper, coughDADcough, you have one option: sit in the warm trailer and drink powdered hot chocolate through a coffee stirrer. It's not fancy, it's not made with a mother's loving care, but it does the trick. And it's why, whenever I burn my tongue, I hear the soft sound of Jingle Bells playing in the recesses of my mind.
But powdered hot chocolate just doesn't do that for me anymore. It doesn't entertain in the way that it used to. And even the Trader Joe's cocoa with its chocolate shavings, which sounded like the cure to my hot chocolate blues, seemed only okay.
Is it just me? Am I the only one who feels this way? Where has my childhood gone? Is it trapped, like a chunk of globbed chocolate powder in the coffee stirrer...of life?