What’s happening at the Library: Hot cocoa

Published 3:59 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

Get ready for another article about food, everyone.

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I figured people knew this was coming. After all, it’s the holidays, the season that gets the most blame, whether deserved or not, of expanding waistlines and a sudden surplus of both sweet and savory treats. From gingerbread houses to fruitcake (I mean, fruitcake is technically edible), there are many kinds of treats that people make that not only are delicious (even fruitcake), but actually serve a function other than filling our bellies. There are many different kinds of food I could discuss, but I won’t be technically talking about a kind of food. Instead, I’ll be discussing one of my favorite beverages that happens to get some well-deserved love during the holidays. What other drink is so synonymous with winter mornings than a steaming cup of hot cocoa?

Okay, one of the reasons I’m discussing hot cocoa is National Hot Cocoa Day is Dec. 13th, but, as Tim Allen says in “The Santa Clause 2” (DVD Comedy SANT), “Cocoa is the superior beverage.” At least for holiday fun. One big reason my brain connects cocoa to the holidays is not just Tim Allen, but because of my wife.

I wrote once about Jolabokaflod, the best holiday that consists of chocolate and reading books (if you had yet to experience this holiday, this Christmas Eve is the best time to start that tradition). My wife was the one who introduced me to this holiday, a holiday that consists of exchanging books and then reading said books in comfy pajamas while drinking hot cocoa. For me, hot cocoa is spending quiet moments with my family. The warmth in my tummy upon drinking the cocoa, along with the chocolate on my tongue, translates to warmth in my heart.

If you’re eager for warmth in your tummy or heart this holiday season, the library has some resources on how to make your cocoa memorable. Our own reference librarian, Rachel Piercefield, has collected some cocoa recipes if you want to go beyond just adding marshmallows, such as adding a smidge of cherry Kool-Aid power to create chocolate-covered cherry cocoa or spice up your cocoa with a Mexican blend using cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt. Natalie Wise’s “Hot Cocoa Bombs: Delicious, Fun, and Creative Hot Chocolate Treats” (641.6374 Wise) takes the family fun to the next level, showing readers how to make hot cocoa bombs: chocolate truffles filled with hot cocoa mix and other ingredients that melt in a warm cup of milk. The different ingredients in these cocoa bombs range from crushed peppermint candies to orange zest.

Hot cocoa, like most holiday foods, goes beyond warming just the tummy. Such treats, whether they are savory or sweet, can help create new traditions and new memories, and the library can help you create them.

Here are some programs that can also create new memories:

On Tuesday, Dec. 12th, at 6 p.m., Ron Kibbey’s Comedy Classics will show a holiday film starring the comedy duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Stannie Dum (Laurel) and Ollie Dee (Hardy) rent rooms in Mother Peep’s shoe in Toyland. When Mother Peep can’t make her mortgage payment to evil Silas Barnaby, he demands her daughter Little Bo-Peep marry him. Stannie and Ollie offer their assistance to Mother Peep and Bo-Peep. Preceded by a classic cartoon. Popcorn and drinks provided.

This week’s Kentucky Picture Show feature, premiering on Dec. 13th at 2 p.m., is a beloved holiday classic starring Jimmy Stewart. An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman (Stewart) by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. Rated PG. Popcorn and snacks will be provided.

On Saturday, Dec. 16th at 1:30 p.m., the library invites Dungeons and Dragons players to our holiday one-shot called Holiday Havoc. A dark entity has been released and its influence is spreading across the land. It promises one’s fondest desire, but wishes, even holiday ones, come with a price. Now a group of level 15 adventurers must venture deep into this corrupted landscape to banish the evil there. Those new to Dungeons and Dragons, as well as experienced players, are welcome to attend. Characters will be premade and chosen the day of the event. Registration is required. Contact James Gardner at jgardner@clarkbooks.org or 744-5661 for more details.