The Smell of Chocolate Is Brain Therapy


Our family is addicted to chocolate!  Not just chocolate, anything sweet will do, but chocolate is our favorite.  It’s Mother’s fault!!!  It’s her fault because she consistently filled the air in our home with the aroma of  all things yummy.

Homemade fudge was one of her specialties.  She made it in an iron skillet.  Once the butter, sugar, chocolate, and vanilla blended and heated, it emitted a smell that lodged in my brain when I was a young child, and it is there it has remained.  The hint of the smell of chocolate, takes me back to my mother’s hip, where I stood and, she stirred the heavenly concoction. She would pour it onto waxed paper to cool.  “Who wants to lick the spoon?” she would call out.  That generated a flurry of activity as we scurried to the kitchen, often pushing another sibling aside, to be the first to get to get there.  If there were several of us at home, she was careful to leave enough in the skillet so that we could all have a taste.

On rare occasion, there would be a box of store bought chocolates in the house.  “You can have two pieces per day.” she instructed.  She attempted to teach moderation with sweets, but they were a weakness for her, too.  She was the guiltiest of the whole bunch of us.

Mother had a habit of applying a thumb print to the bottom of the pieces of chocolate.  The purpose was to discover what the filling was, prior to committing to the entire piece.  I tended to take my chances and dive right in.  Suz would do the same, except that if she didn’t like it, she returned it to the box and continued to sample other pieces in the same way. “EEWWWHH! You ruined it!” was the response to that antic.

Forrest Gump was right when he coined the phrase, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re going to get.”

I learned from the box of chocolates that:

1. Testing the water before diving in is probably wise.

2. Diving in head first, and committing to it fully, will get the job done, and with some degree of satisfaction, but not without a few bumps and scrapes.

3.  We should be willing to share good things with others.

Jeaneane just sent me Mother’s fudge recipe, so here it is:

1-1/2 cups milk
2-1/2 cups sugar (mother’s recipe called for 3 cups, but I think that’s too much)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 stick margarine
1 tsp vanilla
Chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients and stir.  Cook over medium heat until boiling (bubbles should become small).  Test by dropping a small drop of mixture into a cup of cold water.  If it forms a ball, remove from heat and place pan in cold water.  Immediately add margarine, vanilla, and nuts.  Stir quickly.  As soon as mixture begins to harden, pour into a glass container that has been greased down good with butter.


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10 Comments on “The Smell of Chocolate Is Brain Therapy”

  1. Debbie Stevens Says:

    Wow, so now I understand the bigger “Payne-picture”…looking at your mother’s [lovely] picture, and seeing all those ‘goodies’ spread-out, I see where you inherited your many talents!!

    I too, am a lover of chocolate, & LOVE making chocolate cakes and sweets. Licking the spoon was always a tradition in our home, and even today, there’s a fight for the spoon!

    Keep the stories coming……love’em!

  2. Oh, Pam, I can just picture you standing next to your mom eagerly waiting to lick the spoon! My mom wasn’t a cook so I don’t share those particular memories. But I do share a love of chocolate.
    I often made homemade fudge but only as a holiday treat. The recipe I used was from an old “Home and Gardens” cookbook from the fifties and was called “Heavenly Fudge.” Yep, it lived up to its name and you could almost hear the angels sing when you took a bite!

  3. Walethia Aquil Says:

    Pam, I LOVE Chocolate, and what a beautiful table.
    The Man of War cake sounds so gooog, do you make that?


  4. Rarely a day goes by without me eating at least a small piece of chocolate.

    Now I know why its Brain Therapy. I also think its good for the heart (or heartaches).

    Thanks Pam!

    Heidi Richards Mooney, Publisher WE Magazine for Women

  5. Oddly, I have not been into chocolate like many of my friends are. I do recall craving it when I was PMS but now that those days are gone, I don’t have a desire for it. As a matter of fact I don’t like chocolate cake or ice cream. Maybe I NEED brain therapy 🙂

  6. Suzie Payne Williams Says:

    Mother created the most wonderful environment in the kitchen. It seems that daily we would arrive home from school with stomachs growling and as we opened the front door, OH MYYYYYY, the aromas were divine! Store bought in our home? A rarity. The treasures she left in our hearts and memories are insurmountable. Thank you Mother.

  7. Suzanne Says:

    Oh, I just love the smell of chocolate — its relieves my stress!

  8. Beth Says:

    I love the smell of chocolate too — the only other thing I love as much is the smell of baking bread!

  9. rosie Says:

    I am a late chocolate bloomer. But seems like I am trying to make up for lost time. Yes it is good brain therapy!!!!

  10. It’s amazing how strongly smell can tie to memory. I know exactly what you mean when you say a hint of chocolate takes you back to your childhood!

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