When the weather gets colder there’s no better treat than a mug of hot cocoa made extra special with a dollop of whipped cream. Actually, that last bit applies to a lot of treats as I love whipped cream. Sometimes, just a dollop by itself will do nicely. It’s still a little too warm here for a treat like this one, but the temperatures are already beginning to drop a bit. Soon a jacket will be required to go outdoors and it will be sweater weather again. A time when the side effects of indulging in a bit of whipped cream can be hidden properly. As a kid, hot cocoa was always served with little marshmallows on top. Usually just three, but it was enough to make things feel festive and fun. You could eat all of them first, or like I preferred, attempt to sip and save them for closer to the end as a bit of finale. This kind of drink was always made from a powder, which wasn’t the same as real hot chocolate. That’s a delicacy that I would only discover later in life and is still the kind I prefer today.
So many drinks came in a powder that you could mix with water or milk when I was a kid. There were packets in the cabinet for everything you could imagine. Red flavored drinks that tasted very red, and not really like a recognizable flavor, that would stain your tongue the same color. Of all the powder, my favorite was Strawberry Quik which came in a metal container with a pink bunny on it. It now comes in plastic with a brown bunny and has been renamed Nesquik, without the artificial flavor and colors. I’ve not tried it as an adult to see if it still tastes the same, but I’m fine just remembering it instead. I’m still not sure if I enjoyed the flavor as much as the experience of turning a glass of milk bright pink. That was the real fun. And though things processed into a powder were probably not very healthy, the fact that I could make them myself was really cool. It’s a ritual I still remember, after coming home from school each day, watching something on television in order to procrastinate or entirely avoid doing my homework.
Even without powered drinks and cartoons, I’m still rather good at procrastinating as an adult. A bad habit, that I’ll just go ahead an blame on that pink bunny with a strawberry hat. But the sheer wonder of drinks like these is the ability to simply sit, sip and enjoy without worrying about anything at all. I think, in the end, that’s what makes them so special. These days, you might find me curled up under a blanket in front of the fireplace during the winter. Cupping a warm drink in my hands and just staring at the flames. In this perfect moment, there are no thoughts of the laundry piled up and demanding to be done or the bills that need to be paid. No, in this moment, none of those tedious adult things seem to matter. I’m transported back in time to days far simpler when there wasn’t a care in the world. A happy break from the cold chill in the air, and the incredibly wondrous experience of spending time with just the crazy dreams in my head, and some hot cocoa and whipped cream.
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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Deep, Burnt Sienna, Perylene Maroon, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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