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[I criticize myself for publishing this article. (Too bad for you.)]

I’ve recently been labeled as a snob for preferring dark chocolate.

In my defense (the defense I used when called out at my friend’s home), it all began when I was a child and ate Andes free after-dinner mints. (Free?) I think so. I mean, I took them by the handfuls from the bowl at the restaurant exit.

I didn’t know that what was different wasn’t the mint or the fancy sandwich colors (glowing green between dark layers) but the bitterness. (A bitterness that would eventually get me to write this article.)

Next, Sno-Caps and popcorn. And this was before the sweet and salty option came pre-sealed with a bow in a video store. (A what, now?)

And I didn’t get around to reading the ingredients of Sno-Caps until I could drive. (I was shooting a comedic short film where I read the front of the candy box before discovering the contents had melted into one, solid block of chocolate.) This was also the first time I’d come across the terms “nonpareils” and “semi-sweet” (and probably “oz.” for ounces).

Nothing in my brain would click, awaken, or make the connection to my palate until I was in my twenties – most likely a realization adjacent to my body’s natural aging palate.

“Oh, so that’s why that kind tastes better than that kind.”

In my twenties, I wasn’t very apt at describing my observations (not that that sort of thing has changed much over however many years and whatever amount of time I’ve basically spent on doing that kind of thing).

Once Ghirardelli and Dove chocolates had become more popularized and readily available for the common folk, I realized the bitter was what I’d been missing from my sweets in my Halloween pillowcase. (Well, at this point in my timeline, I was ransacking my kids’ pillowcases of treats once they’d gone to bed. Like taking candy from a baby … which is what we were doing.)

The friend who ransacked with me is the one who’s now making fun! And for good reason!

“What happened to gobbling tons of Whopper packages of milk chocolate balls?” (This is an example of what he could’ve said, but I see why he wouldn’t have.)

“Well, milk chocolate is no longer satisfying, less healthy, and not worth the calories.” (I think saying this aloud would have banned me from any future gatherings.)

And what’s even more grating is the guilt I feel when preferring a high percentage of cacao instead of regular chocolate (to limit added sugars) ever since I heard about the deforestation of rainforests and the chopping of cacao plants. All so I can have a block of snooty candy? (Which I will only buy if on sale?)

(Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

What have I learned from all this?

Verbalizing your wishes, although healthy in theory, may leave you more vulnerable. Denying a friendly offer of a milk chocolate snack-size Snickers has equated me as a picky prude. Also, after hours or days of ridicule from my kids (now older and no longer carrying pillowcases with candy but bags of witty bricks for throwing), they claim I can’t take a joke.

And I can’t deny that that’s how I sometimes react, who I am, or my desire for quality (especially after writing this article).

Because …

Not only do I minus green onions from all foods and only crave Mom’s chili, I break the crusts off of my frozen Smucker’s Uncrustables Sandwiches. I’ll gladly watch a movie with you, as long as it doesn’t insult my intelligence and you shut the hell up during it! I’m not enamored with the images on your phone (boring!), but is it okay if I pull out my pocket-book novel while you answer your texts? I’ll sit on the floor of your living room but will not touch any of your door handles (a personal condition before Covid). I drive a small car because it’s the closest I can get to legally driving a go-cart on the freeway. (I’d prefer a world of bumper cars.) I criticize critics because of their lack of insight and the irony of that and don’t partake from a place of low self-esteem or lack of talent. (Wow. You sound like you have a god complex.) I’ll take that as a compliment. (Could you at least capitalize “god”?) I don’t think I need to. And it’s not like I’m capitalizing on his/her name brand.

So, before calling me out on my likes, make sure you’re up to my standards.

Because …

YOUR SNOBBERY IS BENEATH ME.

(This last line isn’t directed toward the friend. He and I were laughing at my nonsense attitudes and views, and after I said the quote above, he suggested I put it in an article. In fact, the line probably refers to my future self. And why the hell is it all caps, italicized, and centered? What an elitist.)

In closing, while opening a dark chocolate Kit Kat bar, I’m not saying to accept candy you don’t want (especially from strangers), but … what would you really do for a Klondike bar? (For me, it’d have to be double chocolate before I even considered the question.)

Side-note: Did you know the bitterness of wine is appreciated more as your taste buds die? Another reason to hold off on underage drinking.

Side-note: Check your spelling: palate vs. palette vs. pallet

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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