August 21, 2011

I Have No Clue Why I Don't Like Chocolate... And Neither Does Harold McGee

There's been a question I've had for a long time. It's been a question that has nagged at me since I was little. It nagged at me as the only kid at elementary school birthday parties not eating cake. It nagged at me as the kid who gave away half his Halloween candy. It nagged at me as the guy who turned down hot cocoa.

I don't like chocolate. I never have, and I probably never will.


Many people are shocked when I break the news to them, particularly the die-hard chocolate types: "You don't like chocolate?" they say in a disturbed and saddened tone, as though someone has just died, hand to their chest, jaw wide open.

"No," I respond. "It just tastes bitter to me. Sorry."

"But why?" they always ask, "Why?" 

For the most part, I've come to peace with my chocolate-hating-fate. I've let it go. I don't care that much. I've never known what deep pleasure chocolate brings and so have never regretted not liking it. My grandfather doesn't like it either, maybe it's a family thing?

But to get to the bottom of this, I decided it was time to email food scientist-extraordinaire Harold McGee. For those of you who don't know Harold - the Curious Cook - he's the author of the now classic food-science guide On Food and Cooking, food columnist for The New York Times, and all-around authority on all things food-science related.

I emailed Harold asking him why I don't like chocolate, and much to my surprise, he emailed me back (thanks, Harold!).

His answer: "no clue!"

So there you have it. If Harold doesn't know, nobody knows. Now when people demand to know why I don't like one of life's true pleasures, I can tell them that I have no idea... and neither does Harold McGee.

Though he does note that one day I might like chocolate. But I might not.

And I'm just fine with that.