Afternoon Coffee

The Mrs was on Facebook the other day and asked her MN home town purveyor of spirits if they carried Chili Chocolate Kahlua. The proprietor said they would have some in a few weeks and did she need it sooner? The Mrs said we would be moved back home in a month or two and it was no rush. The proprietor said she would hold one for us, which was very cool of her and quite indicative of small town courtesies. It also doesn’t hurt that you’re related to half the town and friends with the other half. We’ve been gone for dang near 2 decades and she’s got people holding booze for us.


Afternoon coffee is when Chili Chocolate Kahlua is typically applied. About an ounce in my coffee and since the wife is a bit leery of caffeine, she has some every once in a while. This is also when we have a delightful invention of my darling bride. Once upon a time, she noticed that we had some chocolate chips and bars of both white and dark chocolate in the fridge and got a wild hair of sorts. She up and melted them all together, added a bit of cayenne, dropped the melted chocolate onto some parchment paper and into the freezer. A little dollop of spicy chocolate to go with your zipped up coffee.

This is the part of the story when we have quiet chat about another addition to afternoon coffee. That being breast cancer and the prevention of it. The wife’s mother had breast cancer in the 1980’s and survived it, to the great joy of all of us. I didn’t even know her then and I was happy. Turns out, the story had an amusing irony to it. The wife’s mother had a mastectomy on one side and when she got home, her husband, who was missing several fingers on his right hand from a press brake accident many years before, was quite the amusing fellow. “Well dear” he said, “we are now a matched set.” I’ll leave you to ponder the said geometry of such arrangements.

Knowing that my wife has had breast cancer running in the family, and me being a sciencey sort of guy, with a predilection towards poking my nose into things, I would read articles about how breast cancer develops, what are the warning signs and such. A couple of years ago, around the time when pink ribbons were everywhere, I came to an epiphany of sorts. Women have been counseled that the way to prevent breast cancer, is to catch it early, by self breast exams and some other stuff. Well, my big idea was to take the burden of self checks off her hands and… let me put it like this, I got a dog, because I like dogs and I wanted to walk more. But, on my own, I would be good for a walk, for the first week, maybe 2 and then, dang I forgot, because of this or that and soon enough, I’m not walking. You get a dog in your life, an active dog, and the moment you stand up, he thinks we’re going for a walk. Every time you stand up, he looks at the door and starts dancing around. Dogs are wired to be on the job of walks and having fun. They don’t forget, they are never too tired. THEY ARE ON THE JOB, like you aren’t when it comes to walking.

You see where I am going with this. She is like me with walks, good for a while, but needs a backup plan. Chivalry demands that I step up to the plate, as it were. I will leave you to ponder the mechanics of how to incorporate this into your wife’s life. You may get cuffed upside the head a time or two, but just tell her you’re saving her life.

So now, when she delivers afternoon coffee and chocolate, um, you get the idea. The dog looks at me and gives me a wink. ON THE JOB.

Chili Chocolate


To make Chili Chocolate

2 bars white chocolate
1 bar 90% dark chocolate
1 bar 85% dark chocolate
1 bar dark chocolate with chili
2 tsp cayenne powder (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
Pinch or two of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Melt chocolate all together, stirring to prevent burning, until smooth.
Stir in cayenne, salt and black pepper.
Drop small spoonfuls onto parchment lined pans that have been in the freezer a few minutes.
Return pans to freezer for a few minutes to cool and set chocolate.
Place the dollops of chocolate in a plastic bag and keep refrigerated.
Serve with afternoon coffee.