Sunday, October 30, 2011
I love chocolate. Like, a lot. I eat it on a VERY regular basis. The picture above is at a chocolate store in San Francisco, it was great. I think that there will be a special place in heaven that looks reminiscent of this. Bu, before this past week I ate my Dove chocolate pieces or my favorite Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate & Caramel Squares in complete innocence.
Yes, I was naive of the fact that slave child labor is used to harvest cocoa from plantations in Cote d’Ivoire, where 40% of the world’s cocoa is produced. Just in this region there are hundreds of thousands of children smuggled across the border from neighboring countries, lured by the promise of making money and safety. Yet, the children are never paid and some are less than 10 years old. People in the area know that this is happening. Some turn a blind eye, others participate in the lucrative business, and others like bus drivers and community members actively work to save children from traffickers. The movie “The Dark Side of Chocolate” was definitely eye-opening and even revealed how reporters trying to tell these stories are risking their lives to bring awareness to this issue.
So, what are companies doing to stop this? Well, the video shows that some cocoa producers choose to simply ignore the problem. In 2001, the Harken-Engel protocol was signed by many of the major chocolate companies. In this agreement, they all agreed to start sourcing cocoa responsibly. Yet, as of now Hershey’s has done nothing to move towards this goal. Mars, Inc. is taking steps to have 10% of their chocolate reliably sourced and in nine years to be completely sustainably sourced. Ben & Jerry’s already incorporates fair trade chocolate into many of its ice cream flavors. By 2013, this benevolent company will become fair trade certified in as many ingredients as possible. This is no small feat and shows that all companies can take employ better and more humane practices just through buying power. For now, try to limit buying Hershey’s chocolate and instead go for some ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s that is).
And please don’t judge, the Hershey’s bar above was given to me I did not buy it.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Thankfully, I survived my fast yesterday. It actually wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it would be. Oh, but this is true for so many things in life. I was probably being a bit dramatic about it in the first place.
I broke my fast with a nutritious and wonderful meal in Commons, our cafeteria. They even had a new item called Mediterranean Rotini. It was rotini with olive oil, feta cheese, black olives, and green onions. The toppings were a little skimpy but it was still delicious. Even better than the food, everyone that had partaken in the fast ate together which made for a great community experience. I got to break bread with people that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. It was funny to hear their personal stories of the day so far and see just how much food everyone ate. Everyone definitely made up for their fasting.
To break up this “hump day”, I will share what a friend surprised me with on Monday. A friend on my hall is Indian and she had gone to an Indian store this weekend and gotten some desserts. We had had previous conversations about food and especially about desserts (this seems to be a recurring theme, huh?). Monday afternoon when she told me that she had brought me one I was thrilled. Was I hungry? No. Had I already consumed several desserts that day? Yes. But, when my friend gave me the dessert it was an easy decision to go ahead and eat it.
The dessert is called soan papdi. This particular one was the original flavor, almond and pistachio. It was beautiful. It reminded me of something that should be eaten with a cup of tea since it was so dainty. I was too lazy, but it was a good thought. I had never tried an Indian dessert so my eagerness restrained my love for tea.
If you ever get a chance to try this Indian dessert, it is definitely worth it. The texture is very light, similar to cotton candy in the airiness. It is a dessert for people who like very sweet things. I assume that this is why the squares are small, one is just right. The almond slivers provide a slight crunch and a textural contrast to the flaky sweet. Happy hump day! I hope all this talk of dessert makes your day even better!