[Disclaimer: Alternative titles for this post included: "so you think you know Nutella?" and "what do you mean, Nutella isn't pudding you eat with a spoon?!"]
Is it possible to both love and hate something equally? Bah, oui. Nutella is one of, if not the most deliciously disgusting things I have ever encountered in my twenty-some years of existence. Scientific research should be done on it's ingredients because I am 99% sure that there is something being withheld from the label that will inevitably kill me. I'm talking street drugs. It is impossible to limit yourself to a single serving, it may as well be renamed 'addiction in a jar.'
Nutella is available on the shelf of any major American grocery store, but there does not live the obsession with it at home as I've found to exist throughout Paris. One night I decided to ask a friend about the French and their obsession with Nutella. His answer was frighteningly simple: Nutella is not chocolate--it is it's own category of food, and exists alone. Chocolate comes in many different textures, flavors, consistencies, brands...yet there is only one type of Nutella and it's taste cannot be duplicated.
And so we fast-forward to last Thursday, when the children, tired from a long week of school, came home to find the Nutella jar completely empty, scraped bare by a starving, sugar-deprived addict. The realization that the boys were stuck in a house, sans Nutella turned out to be too much to bear--the next half hour was full of tears, screaming and frantic searches through the pantry shelves in hopes of finding a secret stockpile. Yet, there was no Nutella to be found. Naturally, the boys started pointing fingers, blaming each other for single-handedly devouring an entire jar in less than a week. The groceries, they were beginning to realize, wouldn't be delivered until Monday. Eventually the youngest boy was chosen to be the cause of the problem, the Nutella addict who lacked the self-control to keep from making an extra tartine et chocolate for gouter each afternoon.
Except, with each minute of argument, I became more sure that the Nutella addict was me. The life of an au pair can be lonely, especially on the Thursday and Friday nights of obligatory babysitting, alone in the house with nothing to do once bedtime has come and gone. Being used to free access to the well-stocked snack shelves of American households, my only source of late-night snacking lay in the jumbo jar of Nutella, housed on the kitchen counter.
Perhaps those bites had put a bigger dent into the jar than I had expected.