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Coffee-aholics Unite! April 8, 2011

Hi! I am Gr8ChefMB and I am a coffee-aholic! Yeah, I am one of THOSE people. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE coffee in all its forms. I have cultivated this love affair over many years. It didn’t start out to be that way, though. As a kid, we couldn’t drink coffee – it was a beverage only for grown-ups. At that particular time, my only vice was iced tea, until decaffeinated tea bags came out…LOL! I could drink gallons of tea, and probably still could if I didn’t enjoy my coffee and plain water so much…LOL!

When I got into high school, I tried coffee a few times, but it was more like, “Have some coffee with your milk and sugar!” I just couldn’t drink it black, or even muddy brown. It just HAD to be loaded with lots of cream and sugar until it was almost white. When I think about that kind of coffee, I think, “What was the point of that???!!!” Talk about a waste of coffee… I remember one of my best friends’ mom literally drank coffee from sun up to sundown. I did think that was a little strange…silly me!

After I got out of high school and dabbled with college, I started working full time. My first ‘real’ job was as the front-desk receptionist for an independent insurance adjusting firm. I sometimes carpooled with my mom and a friend. We would stop at Denny’s for morning coffee. I would still doctor it the same way. Because the company breakroom was stocked with free coffee, I started drinking more coffee. Of course, being a front desk receptionist, I didn’t have freedom to move about the office. I got two breaks and a lunch hour. If I needed to attend to other needs, I had to get someone to relieve me. I discovered it was easier to just pour and run; hence, learning how to appreciate coffee without a bunch of additives became my game. I grew to appreciate my coffee black. I started discovering that there were other varieties other than basic Folgers/Maxwell House/etc.

——The coffee angels start singing here: aaahhhhhh!—— 🙂

When I got pregnant with my son, all the medical pundits said that caffeine was bad for pregnant women and fetuses.  AAaaaarrrggghhhhh! I had to give up my beloved coffee……I can’t tell how freaking hard that was! Instant coffee at that particular time was crap…weak and bad flavor…didn’t taste at all like coffee. Folgers came out with instant coffee bags similar to teabags in a decaffeinated variety. I was absolutely so desperate for a cup, that I used those, but they really were quite awful. Still, it was better than nothing… Nowadays, apparently 1-2 cups are okay to drink during pregnancy. I wish they had come to that conclusion 18 years ago.

My love and appreciation for that caffeinated delight grew and grew. It got to the point where I was a coffee junkie…couldn’t function without that brew, especially first thing in the morning! Eventually, it got to the point where I was drinking a 12-cup pot (or more) by MYSELF! When I went for a physical one year, my doctor asked my about caffeine intake. Of course, I didn’t lie (probably should have, though!) and told him exactly how much coffee I was drinking at the time. My doctor is fairly easy going and nothing really seems to phase him, except for this bit of news. He absolutely BLEW A GASKET! I can’t recall ever seeing him that angry. He read me the riot act, especially because my cholesterol and blood pressure was fairly elevated around that time, hence the physical. I had to cut down on my coffee intake or I would die – his exact words. That kind of put the scare into me…for about three or four months… I did cut down to only 4-6 cups a day. Yeah, I know…that wasn’t quite what he had in mind, but, hey, at least I did cut down some.

When my son was attending Sunday school at church, they were desperate for volunteers. I decided to volunteer since I had to go there anyway to drop him off and I wouldn’t have to pay for tuition. Of course, those weren’t the only reasons…I really do LOVE to volunteer for various things. It’s a nice change of pace, something to do and I love to meet different people and learn new things. As I became more active in my church – I was born and raised Catholic – I started to adhere more to my religion, which means making some sort of sacrifice at Lent. I know you are probably thinking, “She really didn’t do it!” Yes, indeedy…that was my sacrifice. I gave up my caffeine for 40 days and 40 nights. My family and friends were incredulous and didn’t think I would make it all the way through Lent to Easter. My students were placing bets as to when I would crack…no pun intended. That was even more difficult than giving it up during my pregnancy, because this was VOLUNTARY! I allowed myself two cups of hot tea every day, but they were herbal teas, and I drank a lot of water and decaff iced tea. Whaddayouwant…at that time, caffeine was my only vice and thus, the only real sacrifice I could make. I couldn’t very well give up working…. 🙂 I actually did make it to Easter Sunday, but I had to wait until after Easter Mass for my first cup. Golly, Mass seemed to drag on for 3-4 hours…actually, not really; it just seemed that way. After we got home, I headed for that magical machine that puts forth that magical devil’s brew. However, my mother stopped me and said wait a minute… She gave a pretty new coffee mug in which to enjoy my first cup. It was kind of egg-shaped in a periwinkle blue with a cute little design painted all over it in a lighter color. (I still have that mug, too. The inside is cracked, so I can’t drink from it anymore.) That was such a sweet thing for her to do. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed and savored that first cup….aaaahhhhhhh! BTW, I had a checkup after that Easter, and my cholesterol had gone down drastically, so I guess my doctor was right. I hate it when that happens! I did give up caffeine every Lent after that and made it through 4-5 years until my brother-in-law passed away rather suddenly. That was such a shock, and it still is, even five years later. When we went for the viewing, I got such a severe headache from crying so hard and trying to comfort his family and my family…I ended up breaking my Lenten sacrifice. I feel pretty sure that God understood why…the grief we all felt was so overpowering. He was my youngest sister’s husband identical twin. It was such a waste because he was so funny and musically talented, but he had a problem he just couldn’t seem to overcome, no matter how he tried. I miss him, still… After that year, I did still make my annual Lenten sacrifice and made it for a couple more years, until another bad year…

After being overcome by my own problems last August, I was put on some medication that reacts badly when I imbibe too much caffeine. These days, I am pretty much limited to no more than two cups a day. It’s probably better that way, because my intake was starting to creep back up to ungodly levels again. Because of that, it is more diffficult to make that sacrifice. I do love my coffee and will drink it hot or iced. Sometimes, I do add a bit of cream; it depends on what variety of coffee I am drinking and what time of day. If I had unlimited funds, I would probably go to Starbucks every day. As it is, that is a once-in-awhile treat. My fave brand at home has to be Folger’s. They have really branched out and come up with some delicious flavors, including their Black Silk. In fact, Folgers has a give-away opportunity to win a prize package including coffee, a singnature red coffee mug, black silk robe, and biscotti. Visit http://www.themommy-files.com/2011/04/folgers-wake-up-with-black-silk-giveaway/ to sign up to win.

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