If you are even slightly hormonal, I warn you: Stay away from the chocolate gelt. This holiday tradition is capable of turning women of a certain age…well, that’s just say peri-homicidal.
I know there are some countries that have the tradition of chocolate coins for Christmas, but living in New York, I know it as a Hanukkah tradition. I’m not Jewish, but chocolate eating is a nondenominational kind of thing for me. So I welcomed that cute mesh bag filled with shiny, foil-covered chocolate coins from Trader Joe’s.
With the craziness of the holidays, I never got to eat them. But there came a day in January when I eyed them on the kitchen counter and thought, tonight’s the night. The moon was rising, the hormones were surging. Chocolate for medicinal purposes it would be.
I settle on the couch with a New York Islanders throw. (This and things like bobbleheads I permit in my home provided they stay in the basement or family room. I can think of nothing more disturbing than sitting on my living room sofa, sipping tea from an antique, bone china cup while staring at a miniature Mike Bossy with a neck tic. But I digress.) The channel is set to Criminal Minds, because when you’re hormonal, watching serial killers is the next best thing to being one.
I pick up the mesh bag and begin to salivate just a bit from the anticipation of a chocolate coin melting in my mouth. I try to open it from the top, but the seal is impenetrable. No problem, I’ll just rip through the mesh bag, right?
You’re thinking, go get a pair of scissors. And normally, I would, but Hotch has just been served divorce papers. Apparently, the serial killers see him more than his wife does. Now he’s really never going to smile again. Bossy shakes his bobblehead slowly, knowing all that traveling he did with the team could have led to the same end for him.
I can almost taste that freaking chocolate and the bag still isn’t open, but I have wounds resembling paper cuts all over my fingers. My mind flashes an image of dolphins caught in mesh fishing nets. Whew! Where did that come from? Down estrogen, down girl.
I feel a mini-rage building, kind of like Dom Deluise in Fatso when he tries to rip the cabinets off the wall to get to the food. Finally, the bag tears. I’m so happy I could cry. My shaky fingers reach in and pull out the largest of the coins. But now I have to peel the foil off, and the nails on my nifty opposable thumbs aren’t up to the job. Have you ever tried to do things without the help of your thumbs? Every once in a while I tuck my thumbs into my palms and go about my regular chores. Hmmm, maybe that’s why my novel isn’t getting written.
I dig into that first coin using the nails on my other fingers like a handicapped raccoon trying to lift the cover off a garbage pail. I place the chocolate disk on my tongue. Mmmm. I want to let it melt slowly, but I end up chewing it like some big cat eating a baby zebra on the National Geographic Channel. It’s gone and now I have to open another.
Just then, a childhood memory surfaces—my Uncle Sal at Beefsteak Charlie’s. Remember that restaurant from the 1970’s with the unlimited salad bar and peel-and-eat shrimp? Uncle Sal would take a plate full of shrimp and sit and peel it all. Then, he’d transfer it to a clean plate, add some cocktail sauce and sit and enjoy them all at once. Really civilized. I envied him his patience. I just don’t have it when it comes to food. Still, I’m willing to try the peel-and-eat method with the chocolate gelt.
I sit and peel one after the other as my body trembles, a cacao addict in need. I make it to the end, but it’s no use. With all those naked coins sitting there in front of me, they’ll be no savoring the melting of each on my tongue. No way. I chow down, eating every last coin in 3.5 seconds. Hotch and his team have solved the mystery. They’re on the plane returning to Quantico. And Mike Bossy is sneering at me and nodding his head in a contemptuous way. That little bobblebastard.
Suddenly, furry ears pop up behind the TV. It’s Sweety and she’s eyeing Mike Bossy. Get him, Sweety! Get him! And she does. No, the National Geographic Channel’s got nothing on us.