Being nuts about plain chocolate

By Carolyn Marsh | Apr 24, 2011

I spent some of a recent weekend putting pockets in my yoga pants. To be perfectly honest, I spent a large part of that time trying to thread a needle with the bright-red thread I use for basting (though what connection big sprawling stitches have with roasting a fowl I do not know), and some of that time trying to figure out which end of the needle the eye was in. My new sewing machine (100 percent plastic and a big step down from my wonderful old Singer Featherweight) has an automatic needle threader — well, it’s automatic about one in every 10 tries — which is a very good thing because there is no way in the world I would be able to thread the needle on that machine, considering that I cannot get my head in the little space between the needle holder and the body of the machine and cannot even see the needle, much less its little bitty eye, from farther away than that.

I have a passion for pockets in pants, and I will not buy any that do not have at least one suitable located. (I have been snookered a couple of times by flaps that looked like pockets but were really faux, in which instances I have had to put in real pockets, for which I find old pillowcases very handy, as I have plenty of them from never throwing anything away if there is a ghost of a chance that it might be useful someday, and also because two sides of them are already sewn for you if you cut them out of the bottom corners, as I do.)

To get back to my yoga pants (which I do not use for yoga, as I do not do yoga, but for my stationary bike, which I do use because the doctor who gave me a new knee the other year told me the best way to avoid having to get another new knee — in the other leg, of course; I am assuming my new knee will last as long as the remainder of me does — was to ride on my stationary bike 30 minutes a day five days a week), they were, when I bought them, a little too long, so I had basted them up, as I was prone to do before I discovered instant hemming with Gorilla Tape, and when I unbasted them I found that I could harvest two little strips of cloth that I could cut into three pieces each and cobble together for a couple of pockets.

As I stitched away I thought about where pockets came from and knowing from my copious reading of historical novels that pockets used to be separate items carried in the hand it came to me in a flash that someone someday must have had the brilliant notion of sewing the pocket to the garment and voilà! The pocket! The pockets I put in my yoga pants (actually I put them on my yoga pants, in the back, because I really did not want to try to put them onseam, as all the descriptions of pants with onseam pockets say) turned out to be quite distinctive, patched together as they were with the logo of the brand of yoga pants they are in the middle of one of them and the hemming that I ripped out with a great deal of effort before I realized how nice it would look on a pocket in the middle of the other.

One of the things I sometimes I wish I were is an engineer, as perhaps then I would be able to look at a seam in a garment, as I looked at the original hem in my yoga pants, and know if there was any stitch a sewing machine could make that couldn’t be pulled out ZIP! once you found the right thread, so it ended up taking some time to find the rip cord, which I really didn’t except for when I was very close to the end, though lord knows when you are actually wearing pants or a skirt the hem comes out instantly and all by itself. But despite my best efforts and most fervent prayers the hems had not come out of my yoga pants, which is why I had to take them out manually to make pockets and also to make the pants the length of my legs, an outcome devoutly to be desired when you are talking about wearing pants, as unlike Phyllis Diller’s my legs do go all the way up (you had to be there) or down, if you prefer.

At any rate I now have pockets in my yoga pants, as I said (or did I?), and they are very useful for carrying around Kleenex, my addiction to which is almost as strong as my fealty to pockets — so strong, in fact, that I sometimes forget where I have stashed a piece or two in a pair of pants until they come out of the washing machine looking as though they had suddenly developed a case of rather large dandruff, which luckily comes almost completely off in the dryer.

One of the things I love most is Cadbury’s Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut bar. While dark chocolate is very popular in this country, it seldom comes with fruit and nuts (that is to say, raisins and chopped almonds and what the label sweetly calls “other tree nuts”), though I do know of a very nice chocolatier online who makes a dark-chocolate fruit and nut bark, but bark is not very handy for sticking in a pocket or a purse unless it is lined with waxed paper, and much as I love pockets I have not yet tried lining them with waxed paper, or any other kind of paper for that matter, and in the case of Cadbury’s dark-chocolate bars that is fine because they are seldom around long enough to need to be stored away in a pocket, or a purse).

In any event, my friend Graham, who is Scottish and who travels often to London (he does not travel to London because he is Scottish but because he has business there; if he were traveling on account of his nationality he would probably be traveling to Edinburgh, or even Glasgow, but definitely someplace in Scotland), could always be relied upon to return with six or eight or more big Cadbury Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut bars for me. That’s what I call friendship.

And when I visited London I would stock up on them, which got a little challenging when Sainsbury’s stopped carrying them and I had instead to buy the Waitrose brand at the eponymous supermarket and was obliged on more than one occasion to hop on the tube and go several stops to find a Waitrose that actually had the plain (as the British so oddly call it; well, perhaps not so odd, as it does not have milk and could therefore be considered plain, though coffee drunk without milk or CoffeeMate or one of those disgusting powders that is supposed to make it taste like a $10 cup of coffee at the Ritz — which, take it from me, is not so ritzy as it used to be — is called black. I do not think I could succeed in persuading a whole nation — of shopkeepers, as the British were once classified — to alter one element of their lexicon, a word I sometimes use in place of “vocabulary” but have not until now wondered what the difference was. Let me include nomenklatura, which has always seemed to me to go well with apparatchik and ukase. Well, you could look them up) chocolate fruit and nuts.

Happily for me, I can now get Cadbury’s dark chocolate fruit-and-nut bars from Canada, as I discovered one day by typing “Cadbury” in a search engine and finding several places in Canada that ship them. Moreover, they are little bars (42 grams, with 28.349523125 grams equaling one avoirdupois ounce and 31.1034768 grams equaling one troy ounce, and what the difference between avoirdupois, which I always though meant chubby-ish, and troy is I do not know, neither do I care).

What matters is that one small bar can be eaten in one sitting, precluding the need for pockets, onseam or otherwise.


Carolyn Marsh is communications director for the Picker Institute in Camden.

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