One of my favorite places in San Francisco is a little chocolate store that we've been visiting on a regular basis for years. When we walk up to the store, Daisy runs ahead and leaps through the doorway. She's always greeted with a hearty Norm-esque "Daisy!" from the proprietor. He gives her a free piece of chocolate (dark chocolate because of her dairy allergy) and regales us with amusing stories from his life.
When we visited the store on Sunday the owner had something different to say. He explained that earlier in the day a woman had come by who was doing a documentary on chocolate. She was an accomplished documentarian and spent some time interviewing his customers. The store owner suggested that he had one more customer, a sweet and articulate 7 year-old girl, who would undoubtedly make for some great footage.
So, he hooked us up with the documentarian and we chatted on the phone earlier this week. Helping her with this project sounded like fun, so I cut out of work for a long lunch today and took Daisy down to the chocolate store to be interviewed.
First the documentarian wanted to get a bunch of footage of us walking down the street. She struggled to keep up as Daisy skipped along the sidewalk. We did multiple takes and Daisy hammed it up a bit with some faux enthusiasm about the storefront windows we were passing.
"Oh, daddy! Look at those great running shoes! You like running shoes!"
Eventually we got to the store and the documentarian interviewed Daisy about chocolate. She asked Daisy how chocolate makes her feel, and what she likes about it, and any other open ended question she could think of. I tried to stay out of their way, but occasionally I'd guide the conversation into a more fruitful direction.
After over 30 minutes of footage, including hearing Daisy describe how chocolate makes her feel about 10 times, I decided to put things in perspective for them.
"Hey Daisy," I instigated, "Tell her if chocolate is your favorite dessert."
Daisy smiled sweetly and shook her head. "Oh no," she explained, "My favorite is vanilla ice cream."
There was a brief moment of silence while the woman, who has bet the next stage of her film career on chocolate, absorbed this comment.
"So.... you prefer....vanilla? Over chocolate?"
Daisy nodded. I could almost hear the videotape screeching to a halt. Things wrapped up pretty quickly after that.
Afterwards I asked the woman if she'd like to hear my favorite chocolate story. I plopped down on a nearby bench with Daisy on my lap and told her of the time I was a student at Berkeley and one evening I had the....uh....munchies. I couldn't decide whether to eat a salty snack or a chocolatey snack. I pondered this and suddenly had an epiphany. I would have a salty chocolatey snack.
I got out the Hershey's chocolate syrup, a spoon, and some salt. I made a spoonful of syrup, sprinkled with it salt, and downed it. It was pretty good, but maybe a little too much salt.
I prepared another batch with a little less salt and downed that. It was even better, but still just a hair too much salt.
The third batch was the best yet, but it needed just a scooch less salt.
It took maybe five iterations of this before I realized that the chocolate was best all by itself.
I don't think the documentarian was impressed.