My love/hate relationship with chocolate.

Envision a world without chocolate. A world in which young women– in the absence of men and/or physical affection– resort to the consumption of orange peels instead of a processed version of the cocoa bean. A world in which monthly hormonal imbalances do not generate cravings for calories, but for human contact or communication. A world in which my immense distaste for the brown sugary substance known as the human-hips-expander is not an exception to the rule, but the norm.

While I recognize that not everyone shares my disdain for chocolate– and that the prospect of its disappearance from our consumer culture could seriously jeopardize the economy– I sometimes wish it out of existence. Particular now, at the start of the holiday season, in which food of all sorts of caloric varieties begins to appear in large quantities. Chocolate, compared to the carbtastic goodness of a good old fashioned potato latke or jelly doughnut, is simply a waste. Why have the Chanukah gelt (chocolate coins for my non-Yiddish savvy speakers) when you can enjoy the miracle of oil that lasted eight crazy nights?

I’ll tell you why– because it’s there. I have a horrible tendency to eat something simply because it is occupying space in an area near my vicinity. Why did I consume 11 portions of raw cashews yesterday? Because the jar sat tenderly on my desk, begging for some of that aforementioned human contact. With the advent of Chanukah tomorrow night, I am bound to encounter those chocolate coins– and despite my obvious disdain for them, to consume them, as I do all food items that manage to find a place in my room.

Furthermore, finals period has just about begun. With a slew of final presentations, papers, and fellowship applications to complete, I require additional fuel. Given my high consumption of caffeine, coffee alone may be insufficient in generating the necessary energy boost. Chocolate, however, with its embedded sugary goodness, offers such a potential. This is why I have taken a lesson from the lovely lady of Cupcakes and Cashmere, and resorted to a happy medium between healthy living and hip-hugging reality: Chocolate-Covered Orange Peels.

I may even use them in my upcoming Chanukah holiday gift exchange: the annual Shafer Mysterious Maccabee. After searching for some delicious Chanukah-themed cocktails, they may provide a good balance to the Wednesday night celebration.

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