valentine’s day

What Not to Buy Me for Valentine’s Day


Lovingly-made brownie. I hear it tasted good.

I have a confession:  I don’t like chocolate.  There, I’ve said it.  Feel free to brand me with a scarlet “W” for Weird.

The Crazy Situation that Turned Me Off Chocolate

It wasn’t always this way.  When I was younger, I loved chocolate as much as the next person.  My favorite birthday cake was yellow with chocolate frosting.  I adored Whitman’s Samplers and chocolate chip cookies (especially fond memories of Hardees’ Big Cookies); I saw those giant heart-shaped boxes of candy in the store around Valentine’s Day (or the day after Christmas as it happens now), and I dreamed of having a boyfriend give me one.

It all changed when I was in the 9th grade.  My classmates had been giving rave reviews on the cafeteria’s chocolate chip cookies and one day, I gave in and decided to try one.  Later that night, I was sick.  I wasn’t majorly sick, but it was enough to make me dislike chocolate forever.  Was it the chocolate chip cookie?  Probably not, but it was the only thing outside of my routine that day, so my brain projected my nausea onto the poor cookie.  It probably did not help that my duties for the newspaper staff meant that I worked in a room in which those horrid chocolate bar sale kits were stored.


I’m 34.  I was 14 in 9th grade.  That means that for the last 20 years, I have not eaten chocolate.  I can’t stand it.  Any desire I had for it was killed.  The only other food I’ve had this reaction to was Doritos when I was 6 years old and licked too many (still can’t eat or smell them to this day).

I do cook with chocolate.  Jimmy loves chocolate, and I will bake cakes and cookies for him.  I made chocolate souflees for a dinner party a few years ago.  However, I violate the main rule of any decent cook: I don’t taste my food.  I can’t.  I can’t taste the chocolate and evaluate it impartially.

That means no Whitman’s Samplers for me for Valentine’s Day.

Poor Me

It’s very hard being a non-chocolate lover in a chocolate-lover’s world.  Consider the desserts on most restaurant menus.  If they have a non-chocolate option, it’s usually cheesecake or something with apples.  That’s nice, but cheesecake gets old after a while. Fun fact: if you’re dieting, not eating chocolate is a great way to avoid dessert.

Petite Chocoholic

Daniel likes chocolate.  He had his first take of chocolate ice cream on Ocracoke Island just after his first birthday in 2010.  He has since explored and enjoyed Oreos and Kit Kats (thank you, Halloween).  We occasionally buy him a piece of cake from our local bakery and give him tiny bits from it over the course of a week.  He devours all chocolate eagerly.

Or so I thought.

After having some disappointing reactions to some homemade non-chocolate sweets, I thought that I couldn’t go wrong with brownies.  We made brownies last weekend, and Daniel helped by adding the water and oil and trying to stir the thick batter.  I had high hopes for this treat.  After lunch, I served him a tiny bit of brownie and he…rejected it.  He acted like I had tried to get him to eat brussel sprouts.  He wouldn’t eat the brownie.

Heartbreak.  My little boy will freely and happily eat store-bought cake but not brownies made at home by his mommy?  Ouch.  Rejection.

He’s 2.5. I know that can be an exceptionally picky age, and we’ll keep trying.  I love baking, though, so I’m suddenly afraid he won’t want what I can make.

Asserting himself already.  I guess I’m sort of proud.