Monday, September 29, 2008

Not Chocolate!

British candy icon Cadbury has had to announce a recall of chocolates made in China, because the confection may contain China's insidious bane, melamine.

With all the problems in this world, with fears of nationalistic and terrorist aggression, economic and environmental collapse, now we can't even trust the premier comfort food? You bastards! How could you let this happen?

Not that China ever springs to mind after one hears the word chocolate. Belgian chocolate, Swiss chocolate, Mexican chocolate, French chocolate, even Hershey's chocolate, sure, but Chinese chocolate? It doesn't fit in with either the Westernized fare of the so-called Chinese restaurant or the much more alien cuisine some of us have experienced and others can only imagine, in which all sorts of unusual animals and vegetables repose in strange sauces.

In the consumer goods department, China is synonymous with quantity more than quality. No doubt this is an over-simplification, but everyone has to admit that we don't build factories over there for the legendary craftsmanship. We do it because they can master production techniques quickly and for less money than anyone else on the planet. Some of the stuff is quite good. Some of it is not. My new Chinese violin, made on a pattern drawn from a Czech copy of an Italian classic, has not passed my mentor's standards yet, but it's pretty and it's very loud. We'll see whether a little sound post tweak tones down its alarming blare. If not, I can use it to antagonize the neighbors when they play their radios too loud. Hmm. More Chinese-made weapons.

Meanwhile, read your chocolate labels carefully and check the provenance on all your comfort consumables. Maybe your favorite laughing juice has been jobbed out across the ocean as well.

You can't be too careful.

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