Monday, April 14, 2008

Warm, cozy, and chocolate

Despite being mid-April, it is still quite chilly here in the northeast, particularly overnight and first thing in the morning. There are few things that warm one up more than a nice, hot steamy cup of hot cocoa. I am a big fan of hot cocoa. This past winter I discovered Dunkin' Donuts white hot chocolate. Good stuff. Those product developers knew what they were doing. It's a little sweeter than it needs to be, but I don't mind because the velvety texture and just the right amount of froth make it taste like a giant marshmallow that you can drink. Mmmm....

Hot milk based beverages are a classic evening treat for children before bedtime in India. Every child in India knows Bournvita, although whether you get it depends on your family's income level. My mom's family, for example, rarely got Bournvita but got Horlicks instead, also a malt based product, whereas in my father's family that's all they got. When I was growing up, Bournvita was hard to come by in the United States. Occasionally you would see a tin at the Indian store or at someone's house that they brought back from India. Most Indian families settled for Ovaltine. There simply was no American equivalent to Horlicks, so for people who grew up on that, there was nothing.

Fast forward to 2008 and rows and rows of Bournvita and Horlicks, as well as their competitors, line the shelves of the Indian grocery stores, which are starting to look more like American supermarkets each year. My daughter loves Bournvita almost as much as I do. My son, however, is not as keen on it and prefers traditional instant hot chocolate. My husband is not a fan at all and prefers Ovaltine as his chocolaty-malty milk mix in.
I love Bournvita on cold nights before bed, or first thing in the morning, or right after coming home from shoveling or playing in the snow, or when I'm cold, which is quite often since I am a figure skating coach. Seriously. Don't laugh. I swear it's a real job, although my husband might disagree.
Aside from being really good, it warms my heart to share something comforting with my kids that their grandparents enjoyed too. There's definitely some value in shared experience across generations and around the world. Drinking Bournvita makes me feel very Indian. Giving it to my kids connects them to their ethnic roots, even if they don't see it.

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