As you can see by looking at this corner, this page is framed by BUTTER, written in yellow around all four sides. The drawings I made that first week were awkward, but soon I started to have fun. Colors and words began to crowd onto the paper.
Butter. I do love butter. In things, on things. Anything is better with butter and it once seemed impossible for something to have too much butter. Fry or scramble eggs in butter. Buttercream frosting, butter in cookies, butter in oatmeal (just a tiny pat) or spreading soft butter on an already buttery scone or croissant. Butter on toast has always been a reliable comfort food. It just doesn’t get much better than butter.
Here on page one, beside the popcorn, the word CHOCOLATE has no drawing. I played with the letters of the word, building out, scrabble-style, adding Cookies, oreOs, iCing, maLt balls, NutellA and fudgE. All delightful, but I think fudge (another use of butter) may be my number one chocolate choice. Maybe. Chocolate as a hidden treat goes back to childhood. My mom always had a chocolate stash. Always. In a drawer in her bedroom, in the freezer, secreted here and there. We always found it.
When we were little, Mom carried sour balls in her purse. At some point she switched to red and white striped mints. But chocolate was her at-home, reliable treat. And I have embraced that habit for many, many years. Chocolate is handy. A chocolate bar, or a bag of chocolate candies, are easy to tuck away in a drawer and grab when you “need” them.
As I write this, there is chocolate in the drawer to my right: a bar (or two) of dark chocolate with candied ginger. Of course, they say that dark chocolate is healthier, it has good stuff in it. An acquired taste, since the sweeter milk chocolate (and once upon a time, the achingly sweet white chocolate) had been my preference.
Dark chocolate with ginger, (which is also ‘good for you’), doesn’t need to be hidden, because one member of my family doesn’t like ginger and the other doesn’t like dark chocolate. No risk they will take it. So, I can eat it more openly, without fearing loss and with less shame. Sometimes I take a piece, one small square, and let it melt in my mouth and really enjoy it. Other times I chew away at it, without tasting it, or actually, tasting chalk, cardboard or plastic. What’s going on then? There is also a bag with a few malt balls. Malt balls are an old favorite. Sweet malty center, with a ‘Proust-ian madeline’ quality. If I close my eyes, I can see the corner candy store of my childhood, Breslows, where we would buy them.