C-o-f-f-e-e, coffee is not for me,
It's a drink some people wake up with,
That it makes them nervous is no myth,
Slaves to a coffee cup, they can't give coffee up.
Those are the lyrics to a childrens folk song I learned in grade school. (I tried to find the author to give credit here, but the best I can do is give you the website at which I found the lyrics: http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/usa.html).
This blog is basically a rant against coffee. I hate coffee.
My earliest memories include those of a bleary-eyed father who stumbled his way to the dining room and the coffee pot which occupied a place of honor on Mom's beautiful antique sideboard. Dad worked shift work so his first coffee of the day was sometimes in the late afternoon. His eyes as droopy as his saggy briefs - the only item of clothing he ever wore in the house unless we had guests - he would pour the dark, bitter liquid that had been steeping in the carafe since the day before, shuffle to the kitchen microwave to heat it up, and ease himself into the living room recliner until the coffee began to take effect. We knew to disperse when the bedroom door creaked open, because he was always very, very grumpy when he first woke up and he always controlled the television remote any time he was awake. That is the way it was back then; the father's choice always superseded anyone else's. Company was always an excuse to rinse out the pot and brew a fresh one because no one else in the world could tolerate the thick goo that dad would drink.
In the world of my childhood, men drank coffee and alcoholic beverages and smoked and women did not. That was my limited understanding based on the fact that my dad enjoyed all three vices and mom didn't. Funny how a kid forms ideas about the rest of the world based on observing the behavior of her parents.
I have tried to drink coffee. Honestly. I have. Friends and family members have doctored it up in all sorts of ways in an attempt to make it more palatable to me, but all have failed. I remember being shocked to discover someone invented coffee flavored candy. Even the memory of that unpleasant experience makes me want to throw up so I am cautious about trying new candies if they are coffee colored. It took me a long time to figure out that "mocha" meant "coffee-chocolate flavored", but I still cling to that morsel of information as the life raft which protects me from a sea of sweet, frothy, shiny, deceptively yummy looking confections which turn out to be - not sweet - but bitter. In my nearly 50 complete revolutions around our sun, I have managed to choke down TWO half-cups of coffee. I am not kidding. I did however learn that Costa Rican chocolate covered coffee beans are tasty; and they give a pretty good buzz, too.
I have been an enabler. I admit it. I have catered to others' addiction to coffee. For Christmas last year my husband requested two items from anyone who asked: coffee and honey. I think he ended up with 8-10 three pound cans of coffee. It is tough to find storage for so much coffee, something you would not know unless you have had to try it in your own kitchen. The year I traveled to Costa Rica I brought home jewelry made from tiny bits of colorful native woods for the girls, hacky sacks for the boys (what? I know! but it was all I could find that I thought the boys would like), spicy lisanno sauce for me, and coffee for the adults. Lots of coffee. And each and every trip to the grocery is accompanied by a request for another coffee accoutrement: filters, additives, or coffee itself. I feel terrible that I have actually assisted in feeding my loved ones' addictions!
One of the nastiest effects of coffee drinking is the dog breath it gives. Let me apologize to the pooches; coffee breath is much, MUCH worse than dog breath. What on earth makes coffee drinkers think they can start their day without breakfast and without tooth-brushing and yet insist on that cup of joe? I am convince within myself that if they would choose an occasional glass of water rather than another cup of coffee, just the act of hydrating themselves would positively affect the coffee breath issue. One time, (true story, I swear!) I was donating blood at church and the nurse had trouble getting blood out of my friend; turns out she was so dehydrated they couldn't draw the blood through the IV. Can you believe that? She never drank anything but coffee. It is amazing that she is alive today because I cannot imagine the strain her heart endured with every pump trying to force mud through her veins. And have you noticed the coffee breath at church seems more repugnant than elsewhere? It sure makes me wonder about the wisdom of setting up those trendy "cafe's" in church lobbies. I believe those are intended to attract new folks and show them how cool and friendly we are by offering a doughnut with flavored coffee and lattes, but in reality I am afraid they are chasing people off with their stinky breath!
Okay, so I think you get the idea that I don't like coffee. To me it is a waste of time and money, it is addicting, and it makes people smell bad. But the reason I have set all this up is to explain my pet peeve which is the altar established in every household to honor the coffee gods.
In our home the coffee pot and all it's accompanying gadgets occupy the middle of the most precious real estate in the entire house; I resent this fact. In every house we have ever lived in I have tried to tuck the coffee pot into a neat little corner out of the way. But it never stays put there. For some reason, the coffee drinker in the family believes the kitchen is there for the express purpose of making coffee. The coffee pot must be located near water, so it is in the middle of the hardest working area of the counter top. I have purchased all sorts of containers to corral the sweeteners, flavors, filters, mugs, extra carafes, etc into a cabinet handily accessible above the coffee pot, but that just won't do. Except for the dairy creamer, which of course must be kept refrigerated, every single item must be kept out on the counter. I have purchased pretty trays to contain all the containers, to no avail, for each item must be placed in a row - like toy soldiers at attention- against the backsplash on either side of the coffee pot so each item can be identified and inspected from across the room. To add insult to injury the central fixture of this shrine, the coffee pot itself, leaks. I did purchase a cute little metal tray to catch the offending puddle that seems to ooze out from it each time a cup of mud is poured, but someone seems to think one side or another of this tray should be propped up at all times by a soiled paper towel. Rather than fixing, this only seems to aggravate the leakage problem, yet it must be done! Thus the only area of the kitchen which is suitable for food preparation is stained by the rust and coffee drips, is sticky, and is covered with used paper towels (aka "spoon rests"). It is, in a word, disgusting. All this to make a pot of coffee every day, one or two cups of which will be imbibed. Yet somehow all ten mugs will end up in the sink by day's end.
I have been getting lots of complaints that I don't cook like I used to. Hmm. Quite possibly, the loudest complainant might get supper cooked for him tonight if he would tear down that shrine to his addiction and make some room for me to work some magic.
The one bright side to this saga is, thankfully, no one in this house has a capachino or espresso machine.