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  • Ashley Glassman

Just A Chocolate Girl In A Carob World

I decided it was time for a little light-hearted tongue in cheek blogging.  My love of health, and natural remedies and healthy food is no secret, but today is a day for some humorous reminiscing and exaggeration as I take a light-hearted look at days gone by.

I was driving home a few days ago when it hit me; whatever happened to carob?  Maybe it's just the part of the country I live in, maybe it's the phase of life I'm in,  Or maybe the fad has truly passed?  But whatever the reasons, I suddenly realized after all the craze about carob in the health food world back in the ’90s, the “anti-chocolatiers” have been strangely silent as of late…  


For those of you who have never lived in a world full of carob such as I am about to describe, you may not be able to relate to this post, or it’s horrors.  Those of you who's blood doesn't run dark with chocolate, may not understand.   But for those of you who lived through those dark, carob filled days and emerged on the other side still loyal to chocolate and all its goodness, you will resonate with the story I am about to tell.


Warning: I cannot be held responsible for any emotional outbursts that may be triggered by what you are about to read.  You may find yourself having flashbacks to a dark time in your own life, and may have a sudden urge to ingest large amounts of chocolate to help soothe and heal your PTCD (Post Traumatic Carob Disorder.)  Don't fight these feelings.  Real, rich dark chocolate is the only way to heal.  Embrace the cravings.  Now sit back with your chocolate and travel back in time with me...


It was a dark night.  Darker than the darkest chocolate.  The mounds of white flour had long since traded in their light fluffiness for dark, freshly ground, bran-rich hard red wheat flour.   It is believed this same flour was used by the Israelites to make bricks when they were forced by the Egyptians to build pyramids.  


It was a dark night.  The luminous white sugar bags had been traded long ago for gallons of blackstrap molasses.  This blackstrap "tar" was applied to the red wheat “bricks," but rather than nobly making a pyramid that could weather the storms of time as the Israelites did, we were given these bricks and tar as “dessert."


It was a dark night.  The darkest night this home school family had ever seen.  The night a traitor took from us our last and final tie to the bright and happy world of decadence, diabetes and rotten teeth.  A traitor that broke our spirit, and drained us of our will to live.  Carob.  This dark powder, claiming to have the flavor of chocolate but without the alleged "bad effects" of chocolate…  Woah, Woah, WOAH!!  Stop RIGHT there.  What bad effects of chocolate?   It's silky goodness?  It's rich creaminess?  It's much-needed caffeine boost to get you through a life of bacon-less cracked wheat breakfasts, or "delicious" vegetable pizza?  It's dark glory brimming with antioxidants?  THOSE BAD EFFECTS?  

Anyway, I digress…


We could deal with the heavy grains, and tar-like sweeteners, but carob was an especially sinister impostor.  It's light milk chocolate brown powder promised the robust full flavor we'd always loved and relied on.  Its chunky chips boasted that all you had to do to find real health and happiness was to trade one chip for another.  One powder for another.  You could still have the flavor.  The creamy goodness.  The angelic euphoria of chocolate on your lips. “You can have it all, and more health too!” the carob claimed.

We followed like sheep to the slaughter.  Blindly handing over our one last treasure for a promise of health. Most of us knew right away that our lives would never be the same. The silty, texture of carob in our teeth. The chips that seemed to be trained in a disappearing act when you put them in the oven, and you only discovered the disappearing chips once you bit into the cookie and found that there was nothing but a hole where the carob chip used to be.  The brown powder that settled to the bottom of what was supposed to be "hot cocoa" but turned into brown milk with a weird tasting sludge at the bottom.   We knew we had made a mistake.   We knew the horror that awaited us.   We begged for the return of chocolate, but the carob mocked us from the cupboards. "You can't waste me, I'm EXPENSIVE!" it taunted. "Once you use up the 38 lbs of carob powder you bought to stock up for Y2K, you can go back to chocolate..." it laughed heartlessly (Knowing no mortal could endure that much carob, and our frugalness would prevent any cacao purchases for years to come.) It seemed the sole purpose of carob was to rob all joy.


There were those who didn't understand.  Those who did not see carob for what it was; the trojan horse of the health community, but none the less, (either through ignorance or complete brainwashing) these people continued to proclaim the "superiority" of carob.  This rare phenomenon of true carob crusaders seemed to come in an all too predictable wrapper: they were almost always female, long denim jumpers were their garb of choice, and these sadly delusional women were often heard uttering phrases like "I brought chocolate chip cookies!" which would be met by squeals of delight, only to quickly turn into groans from those unfortunate enough to fill their mouths with the sickly sweetness of the wanton impostor carob chip cookies. Other phrases these delusional mothers were often heard chortling were:   "It tastes just like chocolate!  No!  REALLY it does!" Or  "Well you haven't tried MY carob _____ EVERYONE loves it!"   Their tall tales of grander were the poisoned apple for many of the simple-minded or outrageously desperate people. These poor sheeple blindly followed the claims that carob was indeed a “chocolate substitute” proving that "if you tell a lie long enough, and loud enough, the people will believe it."  

Little is known today about these denim wearing, anti-chocolate peddlers of carob.  Whether they truly believed their sad misguided message, or they were urged along by some dark unseen force, we may never know. Now, the years have gone by, and this trojan horse has slowly been stripped down and seen for what it is.  A hollow promise of chocolate that robs people of their will to live, and is perhaps single-handedly responsible for more young people throwing out the "health food baby right along with its wheat grass juice bathwater."


Now it seems the carob dust has settled, and the chips have disappeared from the cookies once more, leaving in their place only a distant memory. And now, at last, the sweet forbidden taste of chocolate is on our lips once again. Words like “fair trade” and “90% cacao, soothe our health egos as we gleefully embrace REAL chocolate back in the world of “healthy food.” Even many of the denim wearing carob peddlers have traded in their tall tales of glory for the real thing once again.  Chocolate.  Because the truth is carob DOES NOT taste like chocolate.  And in the end, the TRUTH will always prevail.


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