Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I was just in Tesco and saw this group of American girls standing in the chocolate section. They were all lined up in front of this one girl (their chocolate expert I presume) who (like a teacher standing in front of a backboard) was very patiently (and you could tell she was really enjoying this) pointing at each group of chocolates on display and saying a variation of the sentence, ‘This is nice.’ (This is nice. This is really nice. Oh this is very nice. This one also is very nice.) After a while the rest of the group could no longer control themselves and so they too started getting involved in all the pointing and touching.
Oh they looked so happy. ‘Like kids in a sweetshop’ they were, literally. And rightly too. Anyone who has ever tasted American chocolate knows what I’m talking about. Or maybe not, I don’t know; that’s actually what I was going to talk about.
Unfortunately I’m not really an expert on this subject and so unlike for example the padded-bra case (which I had actually done a lot of research on) or the bum wiping issue for Iranians abroad (which I myself had extensive firsthand experience on) in this case I can’t exactly say, yes this is the problem and here’s the solution. Because to be honest I haven’t tasted that many different American chocolates to feel like I can give an opinion on them.
I guess now you could ask, why not go and do your research first and then come and blog about it instead of wasting our time and your own with writing about something you don’t know much about? And I must say your point would be very valid too. However there is a small problem here; this is one subject that I am not actually willing to do any more research on than I already have because 1- I’m not exactly a big chocolate fan and 2- From what I’ve tasted, American chocolate, to put it mildly, (I already said to my taste, right?) tastes kind of pooie. And it’s not like oh yeah I’ve become a bit la-di-dah since I’ve moved to Europe sweetie darling and I only ever eat Lindt or Thorntons chocolates now, no, I remember even as a child growing up in Iran during the revolution and eight years of war where often the only sweet thing you could buy from a shop was a mixture of sugar and rosewater which you had the choice of purchasing either in boiled sweet or ice-lolly form, I was still disappointed when people brought me back chocolates from America or Canada! Oh henry for example! What on earth?
The thing is Americans have become an easy target now and I don’t really want to be another person that picks fault with them or makes fun of them but to be honest I’m just intrigued by this. Because really you can say anything you like about Americans but you really can’t pick fault with the way their food tastes. It might not always be nutritious but it ALWAYS tastes great. Their burgers are lovely. Those half a cow steaks they have are great. Those extremely tall deli sandwiches they have with five hundred slices of pastrami, turkey, ham and any other animal you can think of, shoved in the middle of two slices of bread, are fantastic. Their sweets are great too; their ice creams, their donuts, their cheesecakes, their milkshakes. To make a long story short, every kind of food they have is good apart from their chocolate which is…well disappointing really.
I guess you could say well this indeed is not something to get one’s knickers in a twist about, perhaps with this terrible obesity problem in the US, the fact that their chocolate isn’t exactly morish, is actually a good thing.
But when you think about it chocolates are a lot more important than that. They are kind of like the food ambassadors of a country aren’t they? Think about it this way; when a nation goes to war or tries to “free” another nation, usually during the fighting or freeing process, two things fall down from the sky: 1-Bombs 2-Food parcels. While the first one does a lot of damage and annoys a lot of people, the second one I guess is designed to make people happy and build up trust. And here’s where everything goes a bit pear-shaped for the poor Americans because they’re not dropping down In-N-Out burgers or New York Cheesecakes or pastrami sandwiches on people, they’re dropping bloody Hershey bars on them that even an Afghani goat would turn its back on! No wonder the people of every country that Americans go to free, rise against them. They think if this is how your chocolate tastes which is a luxury and should taste heavenly, then I don’t really want to know what anything else is like in your country ‘Get out’.
Think about it, does anyone ever want to fight the Belgians or the Swiss for example? The answer is, ‘No’. We love the Swiss so much in fact that we’ve said, ‘Our darlings, you don’t need to do anything at all; you just sit here and make your chocolates and just so you won’t feel left out, we’re going to give you all our money to hold as well!’
As I said before though, due to a delicate stomach, I haven’t done enough research on this so it’s possible that I’m completely wrong about all this and for example, I haven’t understood American chocolate properly and the people of the nations freed by
Americans are actually pissed off about something other than the chocolate bars that are dropped on them from the sky. So I would really appreciate it if some of you more experienced chocolate fans could help me out a little on this one.


Pedram Bayati said...

My dear that has to be the most enlightingly pointless and amusingly informative thing I've read all day. Thank you so much it's been a dull dull day. Now i wish someone would write my public law essay for me.



amanda kay said...

1. i see through your scam to get me to finally mail you something.
2. i would be angry about the american-bashing were it not coincidentally timed with the latest in shirin's persian cooking lessons, which i am eternally grateful for. seriously, you should write a cookbook with delightful digressions, which maybe would make people like me more keen to cook.
3. apparently, we can't all have cadbury flake. and oh henry is terrible.
4. may i remind you that you have a chocolate bar that reads 'not for girls'? i am offended.
5. i'm going chocolate shopping tonight. any else for the list?

Anonymous said...

eeem what was the post about? Oh yeah American Belgians who bomb Switzerland with padded bras; one of the injured, namely oh henry, asks an Afghani goat what his/her (to be gender just) name is.

asad said...

ahh finally something I feel I am a bit of an expert on. The reason American chocolate tastes like utter crap is because of the ingridients. You see in Europe you are not allowed to use genetically modified foods so when they make chocolate in/for Europe they use slightly different ingridients which is why the same brand of chocolate tastes a lot better in Europe than in the US.

As to why the other foods you listed taste good, In and Out actually owns their own butcher shops, the sandwich shops are mostly locals ( I am assuming that you were not talking about chains of sandwich shops) so they have more contorl over the food process and it doesn't need to be preserved as long as a chocolate bar.

But all is not lost there are groups fighting to change this.
Here are some links for people wanting to learn more about chocolate




Behrooz said...

Ahaa! Finally something I don't know anything about it!!! I am no fan of any kind of choclate. Sometimes I can bear After Eight. But to be fair I am no fan of eating generally. So I am out.

Winston said...

Happy 4shanbe soori

marieh said...

According to your war and peace making-theory, I dont think the australiens would be a good allie for the americans. Their cadbury is horrible. simply because they changed the recepy so that it doesnt go bad in the hot weather. Chocolateeaters can be glad that UK is mild and rainy. but honestly I prefer icecream to choco and it should be italien...

Shirin said...

Hi Pedram and welcome. Public law essay, ey? I guess reading this post must have really helped you then. Feel free to use quotes from this blog in your essay Pedram jaan if you fancy. I’m all about education, me.

Yes akg, it was very diplomatic of me to time this post with sending you that Loobiapolo recipe ;-) It must be the British in me starting to show itself!
About the Yorkie’s ‘Not for girls message’, yes I guess it is kind of offensive. ‘You ‘as to be a bit ‘ard to eat those’ apparently.

By George, you’ve got it Anonymous, By George, you’ve got it! I was getting a bit worried about this post to be honest thinking that maybe I had made it too complicated but my day was definitely made when I read this fantastic comment of yours in which you have so skilfully summarized my ramblings in the most artistic manner. I salute you Sir/Madame. I salute your well-filled noggin.
The goat’s name was Erik by the way in case you ever bump into Oh henry and he asks again, the forgetful muggings that he is.

Asad, thanks a lot. That was really very interesting and I studied those links as well. The reason for American chocolate tasting so different is probably the preservatives they use then. Do you actually know any American chocolate brands that taste really good? I’m just curios. I know they’re all different and all that but are there any that are a bit less wax-like than Hershey ones?

Seriously Behrooz, ‘you’re no fan of eating’? Unbelievable! Now I know I must get you over here one day and cook you something nice to get you back into eating again ;-)
Weird, suddenly the image I always had of you has completely changed and now you’ve turned into this scrawny little guy!

Happy Charshanbeh Soori to you too Winston :-)

Marieh, yes I prefer ice-cream to chocolate too, definitely. So the Australians have gone and ruined their Cadbury then! But yes in that heat they probably have to add something like the opposite of Antifreeze to it to stop it from melting.

GazanKhan said...

Shirin my dear you did it beautifuly this time, again in fact. I specially liked very much indeed the clever smooth way you say what really you want to say without offending anybody. In fact it's said so beautifully and intellectualy and peacefully and lovely that some may even miss the point and think it's just about those chocolates!No problem though, after all this is actually the big difference between an artist and an ordinary writer, isn't it?
By the way I think what our dear a.k.g has suggested is a great idea: "COOKING while LAUGHING." how about that? You can make people do both quite easily and in an artistic way too.

AA said...

I've just received the book. http://www.shirinadl.co.uk/il_sell.htm

Many thanks. Looking to forward to coming back with a review of it!

Behrooz said...

Even if scrawny in trunk, as you now like to visualise me, I have a quite well-fed top (in fact it never stops munching)which is now beeping crazy at the prospect of a very good meal in Oxford. When you are in 'Little Britain' 'you are worth it', so I hear this voice: "The computer says YEEEES!".

Omid DI said...

This Blog was like awesome and stuff.

jarvenpa said...

Okay, I smiled wryly (a change from today's useless, useless weeping over the new bombing my country is doing at the moment). And...I was desolated when Cadbury was taken over by (was it Nestles? Hersheys?) cause when I lived in England I lived on Cadbury's fruit and nut bars.
Some good chocolate in my country though. Expensive stuff, fairtrade, all that: Dagoba. (at least i thought it was made here, might, for all I know, be Canadian. Must check next time I save enough to purchase a bar).

Asad said...

Well you can buy good chocolate in the US but they can be pricey. IMO the best american chocolate is www.ghirardelli.com they are not that pricey a bit too sweet for my taste but a lot better than Hersheys other big brands. The big brands all suck and outside of Ghirardelli I haven't found any decent chocolate in the US.

My personal favorite is
Côte d'Or
. Not that pricey and better than Godiva and a lot cheaper.

asad said...

oops I meant to say better than Hershey OR other big brands, Ghiradeli is not a Hershey brand.

Shirin said...

Thanks Gazankhan, my number one fan ;-) A funny cookbook sounds great!

That’s great AA :-) That took ages though, didn’t it? I was getting a bit worried about that. Well it’s good that you’ve received it now anyway. Happy reading

Hee hee that’s funny Behrooz. She’s one of my favourite characters in Little Britain. Dafid Thomas is the best though ‘Only gay in the village’

That’s like totally brill that you thought that Omid di ;-) Welcome and keep it real m’ main man.

Jarvenpa, are you sure Cadbury was taken over by Nestle? I had no idea. I knew that some of their products (Quality Streets for example) were now made by Nestle but I didn’t know they had been taken over by them completely. Now that’s bad news.
I really hope you’re feeling better now and have stopped crying. This whole thing is definitely very sad and I really hope it all ends soon.

Oh I love Cote d’or Asad. I’ve never had Ghirardelli though. Must keep an eye out for that one. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh God...., you said that there were no sweet for kids during Iran and Iraq war?!?!?I don't know where are you from, but I think are not from a city or your not under 80 years old, I think you wanted talk about The world war II. didn't you?!?! Say funny things but Do not be a jocker.