Chocolate For Breakfast
There used to be an unwritten law that one does not start drinking before Noon. This silent law was usually acknowledged by the semi-serious question, "Is it noon yet?" Sometime in the last three decades of the 20th century that unwritten law was re-written to push noon back to 5pm. The push back came along with the end of the Martini lunch.
I received a book in the mail yesterday that focused my mind on these sorts of unwritten rules: "Chocolate With Breakfast".
This beautifully produced and subversive cookbook puts chocolate in the context of the one meal where it is usually excluded and silently acknowledged to be inappropriate. Though having dove down into the possibilities that this book offers for morning culinary delights, I've recently become a convert to the chocolate-for-breakfast mind-frame.
There are other unwritten rules where drinking and eating are concerned that probably should be broken and great effort has been put into breaking them. The Champagnois and other producers of sparkling wine have for ages been trying to place their drink in the context of everyday dining, rather than just for special occasions. They been successful with a few brave lawbreakers, but not enough.
The idea that red wine is for meat and white is for fish (or at least for non-meat plates) is another unwritten rule (actually, I'm sure it is still written somewhere) that many have tried to dispose of. They've convinced me, but not a lot of others.
But in this day and age, there is still something about starting the day with a chocolate treat that probably seems way too indulgent for most folks. The author of "Chocolate with Breakfast", Barbara Passino, provides a number of ways that chocolate can be introduced into recipes that does not SEEM indulgent, but is rather just another ingredient. But she isn't fooling anyone. The entire books revolves around the enticing premise of breaking the rules. And that's one of the reasons I like it.
I rarely break the newer "not before 5pm" unwritten rule. Though occasionally I'll have glass of wine or a Manahattan with lunch. But it's almost always just one. And when in Mexico, the rules don't count since it's a vacation and rules concerning drinking and the clock are way too limiting where good tequila and cerveza are concerned.
But I do recommend "Chocolate For Breakfast" for anyone in the mood to break an unwritten rule. It feels good.