Thursday, March 4, 2021
March 4, 2021

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Check It Out: Sweet reads for National Cocoa Day

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Today is National Cocoa Day — sweet! Chocolate really does make everything better, so I’m tickled that even in 2020, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, I can celebrate something good and delicious.

My chocolaty reading recommendations include two titles for kids, who, as I happen to know, like chocolate, too. I could have included adult fiction books with a chocolate theme (of which there are many), but I decided I didn’t want to read fictional stories about chocolate; I want to eat it, and these books will make sure I do.

I know not everyone loves chocolate (unbelievable, but true), so I’ll keep an eye out for other food-related celebrations to balance things out. National Bean Day is just around the corner in January, and National Cabbage Day has its party in February, so hang in there — oodles of fun ahead.

• “Chocolate: Sweet Science and Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat” by Kay Frydenborg. How is chocolate made? Who discovered chocolate? And why is there controversy surrounding the production of chocolate? The answers to these questions and many more will be found by young readers in this historical and cultural review of chocolate.

• “Chocolate is Forever: Classic Cakes, Cookies, Pastries, Pies, Puddings, Candies Confections and More” by Maida Heatter. If you’re like me, you must eat chocolate. Really. And homemade chocolate treats are the best, so dive in to Maida Heatter’s “Chocolate is Forever” for divine, decadent and delicious recipes.

• “Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight: New Science Proves You Should Eat Chocolate Every Day” by Will Clower. Although some call chocolate a junk food (boo!), it does have dietary benefits such as antioxidants which can boost the metabolism. I’m not a fan of diets, but I’ll make an exception for a chocolate diet. Because chocolate.

• “Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, from Farm to Family” by written and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. As a little girl and her father make a birthday cake together, the father tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao who had a cacao bean farm in the country of Ivory Coast. It’s a lovely multicultural picture book about family relationships filled with evocative illustrations.

• “Great Moments in Chocolate History” by Howard-Yana Shapiro. Chocolate has been around for a very long time which means it has a well-developed history. This entertaining book reveals many fascinating facts and tidbits about the world of chocolate, including photographs and yummy recipes.

• “Le Cordon Bleu Chocolate Bible: 180 Recipes from the Famous French Culinary School” by Cordon Bleu. Don’t be discouraged by the Le Cordon Bleu name: this cookbook has recipes for every skill level. For the true chocoholic, this “Chocolate Bible” is a must-read (and a must-make).

• “Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts” by Fran Costigan. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy these recipes, so broaden your chocolate viewpoint by trying something new. A “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie” or an “Orange-Scented Chocolate Cheesecake” might be just what you need to get through the rest of 2020.

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