The Great Chocolate Debacle of 2015

It started with an article in Vanity Fair magazine entitled The Bitter, Not-Sweet Cadbury-Chocolate War.  From the May, 2015 issue which I read…probably mid-July.  The summary reads, “British-expat enclaves across America are furious over a recent move to halt the import of U.K.-manufactured Cadbury chocolate, the nostalgic English childhood treat. The villain? Hershey, which licenses the Cadbury name for chocolate made in the U.S.”

In the article, a British-expat running a small tearoom/British grocery in New York is interviewed.  She says, in short, that American chocolate is crap and Hershey’s in particular is like biting into a bar of wax.

A few weeks later, I was craving chocolate at work, so I picked up one of those little Special Dark bars from a lady who keeps a permanent stash at her desk.

It was like biting into a bar of wax.

A week or so later, I was having lunch with a couple of colleagues in a strip mall that also contained a Fannie May candy store.  Lisa hadn’t had…something in awhile, so we went in and she got me an almond cluster.

It tasted waxy.

I walked over to Lisa’s desk, wondering if I was just so terribly vulnerable to the power of suggestion.  Lisa said that her chocolate also tasted wrong and are they going cheap since they re-organized a few years ago?  And it all went downhill from there.  She said that even the baking chocolate she has used for years (famous brownies) tastes wrong.  We speculated about the coming global shortage of cocoa beans.

We have vowed to find the solution.

The Rest of the Aurora Teagarden Series, by Charlaine Harris

Books 58 – 63

I said after A Bone to Pick that I really hoped the series would get better, and it did.  The idea that there were so many, many murders in small town Georgia is laughably improbable, but Harris makes a running joke of it to demonstrate that she is in on it.   It was a shame when the sheriff was killed, as he was the primary  voice of “You, again?” whenever Aurora happened to discover a dead body.

In the third book, we have the realtors getting killed in the houses they are showing.  That was kinda cool.  In the fourth, Aurora and her new husband move into a large house on the outskirts of town that is famous because its occupants disappeared one day about ten years before.  By the end, Aurora was renewing a relationship with the mystery writer from the first novel and her little brother – age 6 in the first novel – was a teenager that had run away from home.  The latter made me wonder if Harris meant to stop there, or if these characters are still brewing in her brain.

Overall, quick, fun reads.

Besides the rest of the vampire novels, there is one more Harris series I haven’t read yet.  Next year, I imagine.

Walking the Bible, by Bruce Feiler

Book 20

Bruce Feiler has written several books about the Bible from a modern perspective and this is the first I have read.  He thought it would be cool to visit the geographical places (that could be identified) in stories from the Old Testament.  While mapping it out, he focused less on the sites that could be determined with (relative) certainty and more for the general places noted in the best stories.  So..landmarks in Turkey, Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

The book was a bit heavy on Feiler’s spiritual journey.  I remember his complaining that people who tried to find a scientific basis for things like the ten plagues of Egypt were missing the point.  He said that if there is a scientific basis, it takes the magic out of it.  The point is that God made it happen. So if there is a scientific basis, it means God didn’t make it happen?

I dunno, Dude.

He talked a lot about God’s covenant with the Jews and the different branches of Abraham’s line as the beginning of the modern religions.  That was cool.  I particularly appreciated the WTH moment he had with a Muslim companion over a difference in understanding regarding the fate of Moses.  His observation was that the Jewish text and the Muslim text could not be talking about the same guy.

Overall, it was a decent read.  But I’m not sure I am diving into the next one.