Why not drink some hot cocoa when you wake up, instead of coffee? I make a pot every time my kids sleep over, and it tastes and feels good. We have to get up really early, and this is also a nice and efficient way of waking both them and me.

According to my much enjoyed Oxford Companion to Food, when the conquistadors hit the mainland of America, the people already living there made a drink of cocoa which was so strong, also from added chili, that you would lose all interest in the outside world when you drank it. You would have the feeling that you had been moved to another world, and only your inside world would be of interest to you.

The food encyclopedia quotes Emerson, the American philosopher and poet, on this. It may be a fairly obvious point that the aim of every piece of art, light or heavy, is to offer a break into a world of its own, moving you away from everyday life. Emerson left a position as a pastor because he couldn’t believe in the (holy) communion to be just that, a sacrament, meaning also a dive into God’s world, whatever that may be, for a believer or non-believer. Could be an interesting point when talking about Emerson, and maybe an interesting parallel anyway.

I’ve never been to any part of America, north or south, but descriptions and pictures of nature there seems to tell that it can be absoutely overwhelming and also give precisely a feeling of being in another world. Many Europeans consider Americans crazy by definition, which in itself can be both charming and demanding. If nature is really insane too, that may contribute to an explanation of the feat.

Our morning cup of cocoa is not in the same end of reality as strong chili, it is a fixed point of mild cosiness, helping you to avoid the socalled facts of life for a little while, as they may appear after breakfast.

Still, the fact of the cup, I guess, is the same, for us and the “Indians” in the 16th century. A break is still a break, filled with something you need, hopefully.

Maybe make sure that there is some chili in the lunch or dinner menu too, then, to match any troubles collected during the day, in addition to mildly soothing them.

Or next time create an instant counterpoint of strong and weak, and make your own ready-made – add some drops of chili into your cocoa, and see what impression it leaves on you.

If you need a quick recipe of the normal stuff, this is it:

Two tablespoons of sugar
One tbsp of cocoa (unmixed, no ready-made stuff if you want it to taste real)
3/4 l of milk

The easiest way is to make the powders and just a little milk into a little batter, then add the rest of the milk, mix well and heat it as much as you like it.

This posting has been edited after publishing. One litre of milk is obviously too much, it will leave you with something tasting only of milk, hardly any cocoa.