Let Us Help You Make Hot Cocoa That Is Both Tasty And Not Evil

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I live in the Midwest where we now only have negative temperatures, which means that we are in hock to the thermometer. If I’m going to keep us out of temperature prison, there has to be hot cocoa. Has anyone ever turned down a cup of hot cocoa? Not in the history of God and ever.

Pro: Warm, delicious, sweet and tastes like everything right in the world.

Con: Turns out that most commercially available cocoa has dangerous levels of child labor and slavery per serving.

How in the hell did that happen? Permit us to get wonky for just a moment. We'll get to your hot cocoa recipe when we're good and ready.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, West Africa produces most of the world's cocoa beans. Big Chocolate -- every name brand you can think of -- gets cocoa beans from Africa. They may fudge their recipes a bit with cocoa beans from other regions (trade secrets mixed with denials of sociopathy), but math don’t lie. Most cocoa comes from Africa. As is the custom in this part of the world, labor comes cheap and the working conditions are poor. Who will work for nothing and is too scared to complain? Little kids. Children work on the cocoa plantations, because little kids there have to work to help support their families.

Would you send an 8-year-old up a tree with a machete, or make him or her handle toxic pesticides? If so, I would call Child Protective Services and I would leave my name. Guaranteed! When you get out of jail, I would bash my shopping cart into yours every time I see you at the grocery store, just to make sure you know I’m still watching.

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