I must be the luckiest intern in the world because the hot chocolate that happens to be a staple in the office pantry tastes like a vacation in Europe (not that I would know since I’ve never been there). It dispenses from a futuristic coffee machine that sits beside the sink, with possibly a hundred different buttons and a million variations of coffee to suit the needs of the fickle. It’s a pretty noisy machine, because when you finally find the right button to press (the one that says “Hot Chocolate”), it makes a horrific rumble and terrifying roar before a deep dark liquid pours out below.
It’s a very intense thing. Drinking hot chocolate. It smells like heaven and it looks like heaven…but it’s burning like hell. You can’t resist it though, because although you know it’ll scald your tongue and make you blister, you cannot resist a taste. Just a small sip. But the moment it touches your tongue, there’s no going back.
What does it taste like? A million different pralines melted and mixed with only the milkiest milk in the world (Milkiest milk…like sweetest sweets and saltiest salt). It’s bloody hot, but at that moment, you don’t even care. All you want is to taste the creamy sweet taste on your tongue and the smooth silk down your throat. There’s nothing like it really. Quality hot chocolate is like a pool of warmth, happiness and joy—it’s divine.
But wait a minute. After the third, or maybe the fourth gulp, you realize that the fifth tastes a little different from the rest. Perhaps the chocolate has cooled too quick in the stale office air. Perhaps it’s been tainted. Oxidised? There’s something a little off about this mouth and you cannot really tell why. You risk another sip, eager to know if it’ll taste the same. There’s a little too much chocolate at the end, you can see it clinging to the cup and marring the taste. You look at the cup in scorn and in disdain. There’s no way you’re drinking this last mouth, so you tip the cup and empty its contents into the pantry sink, the dark brown liquid staining everything in it’s way.
There’s no love like hot chocolate. Love me like hot chocolate?
“Oh, with food like this, who needs anything else…”
“Then you eat alone lor”
Some might seem adamant when this topic floats to the surface of an outrageously satisfying dinner, some may choose to defend (in futile may we add), but nobody can ever deny that food, is sometimes/most of the time/all the time, better than love.
They say love is life’s greatest mystery, the only thing that leaves even the most enlightened crumbling upon their knees. It captivates, enchants and makes you feel euphoric then suddenly devastated in a matter of seconds, like the victim of your own psychological distress. But when love fails you? It’s only a good ol’ tub of extra sinful chocolate ice cream that can soothe your burning soul. Because what’s the worst thing a bad meal can do to you? It might disappoint, fall short of your expectations or in worst cases, leave you lying in bed with an upset stomach. But a relationship gone haywire? Broken, shattered and relegated to being voluntarily crippled. Food won’t make you cry like your heart’s been ripped out of your chest, it won’t make you heave in the sadness of a relationship’s premature death, nor will it intentionally deliver a paralysing squeeze to your gut.
Who need’s first loves when McDonalds introduces a new burger every festive season? Who needs to hear a lover’s carefully whispered words when you can listen to the sizzling of meat set upon a heated grill? Who needs gifts when you can pay for pralines every time you walk past a chocolate shop? Who needs the hots and colds of a relationship when you can have chilled lobster set between two slices of toasty-warm sourdough bread? We sure don’t.
So this Valentine’s day, give yourself a break and go out with someone that doesn’t care about what you wear, how you behave or what you say during dinner. Give your heart to someone that you know damn well won’t break it. This Valentine’s day, give in to that glorious looking steak that’s sitting so contentedly upon your plate and give food a chance to prove to you that it can be so much better than love.
(Supposedly written for work, but ended up here instead. Furnished with photos from my home-made Valentine’s Dinner. 🙂 )