Archive for June, 2011

All or Nothing?

June 13, 2011

Perhaps the only criticism I’ve received for running this project is that it’s too difficult for most people to change everything all at once. “Sometimes I don’t have time to drive across town for ‘special’ chocolate chips.” Or “What if I’m at a friend’s house and there’s chocolate cake and I don’t want to be rude?” Or bigger than that, “If I start to buy fair trade chocolate, don’t I have to start caring about fair-trade everything? Isn’t that too overwhelming?” are some of the questions I’ve fielded from friends and family over the last couple of years.

For some reason, many of us are inclined approach making changes in the things we buy and the routines we carry out with an all-or-nothing attitude.

When it comes to chocolate, though, every dollar spent on fair trade or ethically produced products helps grow the market, making fair trade chocolate more accessible to smaller grocery shops, and more convenient for people to choose. It also provides opportunities for more growers in cacao-producing countries to get great jobs. Sure, you can be a fair-trade chocolate purist with some planning and effort, but don’t be so overwhelmed by the task of monitoring every bite of the stuff you put into your mouth such that you ignore the idea of fair-trade entirely.

I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, about her family’s experiments in eating only local foods for a year. In it, she confesses to a few slip-ups, a few packets of Easy Mac now and then, but doesn’t feel as though a bowl of cheesy noodles offset her entire year’s efforts:

“I share with almost every adult I know this crazy quilt of optimism and worries, feeling locked into certain habits but keen to change them in the right direction. And the tendency to feel like a jerk for falling short of absolute conversion. I’m not sure why. If a friend had a coronary scare and finally started exercising three days a week, who would hound him about the other four days? It’s the worst of bad manners- and self-protection, I think, in a nervously cynical society- to ridicule the small gesture. These earnest efforts might just get us past the train-wreck of the daily news, or the anguish of standing behind a child, looking with her at the road ahead, searching out redemption where we can find it: recycling or carpooling or growing a garden or saving a species or something. Small, stepwise changes in personal habits aren’t trivial. Ultimately they will, or won’t, add up to having been the thing that mattered.” 

Shaman Chocolates makes the list!

June 2, 2011

Bake it Forward is very excited to share a new (at least to us) chocolate company with you! Shaman Chocolates

As of today, their website is under construction, but there’s a nice little description of their product (as well as a shopping cart) at Eco-Express:

“The Huichol, Maya and other indigenous peoples of Mexico believed the cacao seed was the bounty of the gods, a gift from Paradise. To the Huichol, who have used it in ceremonies since time immemorial, leaving offerings of chocolate to show their love for Mother Earth, this “Food of the Gods” is for everyone to enjoy. Now, you too can experience the Shaman’s Secret.

Shaman Chocolates help support the Huichol’s economic and cultural survival. This small tribe of approximately 15,000 living in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains near Ixtlan are perhaps the last in the Americas to have retained their pre-Columbian traditions. With each purchase of Shaman Chocolates you help them to preserve the ceremonial traditions, rich mythology and magnificent visionary art that compliment Huichol culture. Savor Shaman Chocolates knowing it is not only the gift of the gods, but delicious, organic and tastes heavenly too.”

So far, we’ve tried the dark chocolate with ginger and green tea, and the milk chocolate with macadamia nuts and pink sea salt.

Delightful.