As this Monday morning welcomed me with the horror that I’d forgotten to stop at the store and pick up more coffee, it also welcomed me with this article from the Boston Globe that, contrary to popular belief, several new studies have concluded that while coffee may not quite be a magical health food, it does have many more benefits than detriments. These would include conclusions that it may actually help prevent diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Those who know me know how excited this makes me (almost as excited as the london telegraph’s glowing report on bacon that I posted about here a few weeks ago ), as I am known to regularly consume between 4-8 cups a day. This is on a normal day.
The funny thing about my coffee obsession is that I came to it much later in my life than most folks – I was practically 30 before I willingly drank my first cup of coffee all the way thru, and then repeated it, if not right away, then the next day. I’d been a caffiene junky for years, but hated the bitter taste of coffee and refused to consume something who’s flavor I would have to adjust to, or become used to. You know, like I did for dark beers (used to hate Guinness, now it is one of the most refreshing beverages I can drink), scotch, japanese food, etc.
Still my coffee and coffee-beveraged obsessed girlfriend would drag me to Starbucks, to Peet’s, to all sorta of coffee places, get some dark beverage, go on and on and on about how wonderful it was and bug me to taste it. Occassionally I’d grudgingly oblige her, take a sip and immediately make that face a dude makes on those rare occasions that ya smell an otherwise nice smelling gal breaking wind, and exclaim how awful it was and no matter how many times she made me try it, it would always suck.
Of course, reflecting on it I realize there was more to it than that. It was, in fact, on a Mother’s Day in the late 70s that my initial aversion to coffee first appeared. My parents, long addicted to the stuff, were especially avid drinkers then, requiring not just coffee in the morning but after every dinner as well. So on this Mother’s Day, being the dutiful son I once might have been, I was preparing the obligatory breakfast in bed. But they had a new coffee maker I wasn’t used to (or maybe it was the first time I’d used it), so I couldn’t figure it out at first. Took me a while to sort it out, but somehow I got the coffee made. And it must have been good enough to drink. Or at least good enough in that the junkies really crave it so no matter how bad it is, it’s needed so they’ll drink it way.
This last part is an important point, for the rest of the day went on without nary a hitch. Then came dinner (which I don’t really remember, but I’m sure my old man and I made some horrible barely edible delicacy for us all to enjoy) and the need for the after dinner pot o’ joe. But something was wrong. They stared at the machine, but nothing came out. At least nothing came out resembling the precious java, and my parents became more tense. Or they must have. All I really remember is suddenly being subjected to the grand inquisition and, under the threat of waterboarding, revealing how I made the coffee: it turned out my brilliant 8 year old brain had sorted it out in that the water was poured where the coffee went, and the coffee grounds were dumped where the water went. And it was this last part that seemed to trouble the machine. Troubled to the point of no more coffee. This being Massachusetts in the 1970s – when the blue laws were still active and almost nothing was open on sunday – there was no way to purchase another machine.
So, inexplicably – to me at least – my parents evolved into these crazy, ranting and raving maniacs, screaming at me and sending me to my room. I had no idea what I’d done – I just made breakfast in bed for my mommy is all – and couldn’t figure out how my parents had morphed into these gila monsters right before my eyes.
Years later, when I realized I needed caffiene but couldn’t handle coke anymore, let alone coke in the morning, and it was getting harder and harder to find caffeinated water (during that brief Water Joe/Crank 2O “craze” in the late 90s), I took the plunge. And then my parents freak out from a couple of decades earlier made total sense to me…
So here’s to you Ma, and here’s to Coffee!