As the Europeans pillaged their way through, they took this treasure, along with the gold, back to their homes. Sugar was added, and cacao slowly became one of the world’s most prized confection as our chocolate. Competitions are held to see who can perfect its taste, design, and texture. Kitchen artists concoct recipes both simple and complex to utilize its versatility, as their taste testers await the results with drool pooling ever so slightly (or sometimes not so slight!) at the corner of their lips.
The Aztecs, however, sat back with a puzzled look, and tried to point out to the stupid Europeans that they forgot an integral part of the magic that comes from this chocolate. It’s spice. You see, the Aztecs figured out that taking the innate sweetness and adding some heat, whether gentle through cinnamon, or maybe a little stronger in cayenne, adds layers of complexity to the flavor of chocolate. They knew that by itself, chocolate is delicious, but when that unexpected elements appears on the palate, the experience becomes sublime.
Why then, is this so fervently eschewed by so many? Why do people wrinkle their noses in disgust, cringing at the idea of that heat? “Ewww! Why would you ruin perfectly good chocolate by adding cayenne to it?” They have never had the experience themselves of that layering of flavor, and so they automatically assume that the concept is just wrong. Their grandma’s chocolate cake was just perfect as it was, and there is no reason in this world to alter that recipe no way, no how. Interesting, that.
So the Aztecs shrugged, shook their heads at the narrow-minded absurdity of the people who cannot see beyond what they grew up knowing.
Look inside for your inner Aztec. What preconceived ideas can you challenge yourself to explore? What other flavors could you bring to the table of your relationships? Maybe it’s time to shake up the kitchen a little.