Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Morphine and Chocolate

Well, maybe just chocolate.

I wanted to go to Starbucks for hot chocolate this morning after I dropped Liv off at band practice. It was dark and cold and just felt like a hot chocolate sort of morning. But then I thought about the price tag on a cup of Starbucks hot chocolate and thought - "that's something I should indulge in with someone, as a treat, not take home and drink alone."

So I came home and made hot chocolate from scratch. Because I wanted to. Because I wanted the whole process. Because, I found, I didn't just want hot chocolate. I wanted to make hot chocolate. I wanted to measure ingredients and stir them over low heat. I wanted to smell the chocolate as it heated up. It took a long time. And as I'm enjoying these first tentative sips, I'm appreciating it much more than I would be if I'd just picked it up at the drive-thru.

And here's the kicker: It's really not that good. I made it with skim milk. I used cheap cocoa. It's - mediocre at best. So why am I enjoying it so much?

I think it's one of those 'everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten' things. Sometimes the process is more important than the product.

A couple years back I visited the Crayola factory with my family. Lea was a pre-schooler and Liv was barely a toddler. At the end of the factory tour, they had different stations set up to play with Crayola products, old and new. At the time, ModelMagic was new. Lea made a few things, smashed them, started over - in a word, she played. I played, too. No, I didn't. I worked. I started making this elaborate little sculpture. I was meticulous. When Liv started to cry and Tom suggested we move on I became very irritated. I'm not DONE! It wasn't that I was having so much fun with the process, I became quite obsessed with the product. Which I wasn't going to keep anyway.

How many times have we seen a child work for a long time (in child years) coloring a picture, only to casually throw it away when they were done? Our adult response to this is that they're not taking pride in their work. We retrieve it and carefully smooth it out and tell them how pretty it is. We ask them to tell us about their picture. The truth (more often than not) is that they're just done coloring. The process is over. The product never really mattered. And we are annoying them.

That's a difficult concept for success-oriented adults to wrap their brains around.

But I can wrap my cold hands around a warm cup of mediocre hot chocolate.

That'll have to be enough for today.

18 comments:

Tsquared417 said...

Now I'm craving hot chocolate...and I don't have any mediocre cocoa!! Great thought-provoking post!!

MiMi said...

I love home made hot chocolate. I love making it! It's so cozy. :)

carma said...

When you started describing it I thought - Oh, Tammy sounds like a gourmet making that hot chocolate - I bet she will say it was awesome :D

I always love your honesty! Mediocre is mediocre.

I picked up a package at the local grocery store 10 packs for $1.46 with the mini marshmallows. VC thought it was good. And that's about the extend of my hot chocolate making ;-)

Katie Lane said...

I agree, sometimes it is just the process that matters. Enjoy your cocoa!

Sandy said...

How did you type and keep your hands wrapped around your cocoa?!

Brandy said...

Homemade hot chocolate? That didn't come out of a packet? Even if it was mediocre, I'm impressed.

Pam said...

Another thought-provoking post by Mommakin! I've never even thought about this process vs. product way of thinking. I think I'm a product girl through and through. I dislike any process that takes more than 15 minutes. I'm a "get her done" kind of person. Not very zen, I know. Maybe I need to meditate on this whole idea. OK, "meditate" might not be in my bag of tricks, but I sure do need to think about what you've written here.

mama-face said...

Okay, I am on the verge of sobbing which I can't cuz I have an app't with the school therapist, but your words about 'our' children...

It's always kind of a bummer when we go home to re-create something yummy and realize the restaurant doesn't use skim milk. :)

You are wonderful.

blueviolet said...

I had to kinda sit here and think about this for a minute. I think one of my kids is about the process and one is about the finish line.

This was so much more than hot chocolate! Loved it!

Mammatalk said...

Keep seeing your smiling face all over the blogosphere. So, I decided to say hello. We must have the same taste in blogs!

Love your post! I can relate.

Unknown Mami said...

Graet now I want to go make hot chocolate. It's funny because when you started off saying you thought of going to buy some I thought, "But making it is so much better."

kys said...

I never make homemade hot chocolate. The instant is fine for me. I guess I'm not at all about the process.

otin said...

You are so right!! I made popcorn a few weeks ago on the burner, with oil and a pot. I burned some of it, but it brought back a lot of memories.

Sir Hook of Warrick aka "David K Wells" said...

I'm still waiting for the Morphine! LOL! I guess Hot Coco will have to do.

Childlike wonder is a the key to open the Creative doorway. Like the Crayons, when play becomes work it's time to move on.

Always enjoy your writing.

Sir Hook El Coco Kid of Warrick

Gibby said...

I don't know...I just made coffee at home and tried to use a pumpkin creamer hoping to create a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and well, it's not the same and the work didn't satisfy me. LOL!

However, I just wrote a post about my daughter who loves to write and starts a bunch of stories but never finishes them. Of course I overanalyze this way too much, but now I wonder if it is just the writing that she likes, it doesn't matter if she finishes. I mean, cripes, she's only 8. I'm 37 and I haven't finished a book yet, either!

Great insight!

BONNIE K said...

I was really enjoying reading about this til you said it didn't taste too good! That's not the proper ending!

The Grown-Up Child said...

Reminds me of something I tell myself regularly:

Enjoy the walk, not just the destination.

The process is so important.

Vivienne said...

I think you should change all of your "random" post tags to "thought-provoking and insightful things that you readers out there have never thought of."