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I know, it’s been a competitive year for us all. Getting work, keeping work, working better, more with less, more more with more less.

If you think it’s bad for us adults, you just have to empathize with our kids. It’s a different world. One of Suzen’s friends has a second grader who was doing a kitchen project for school. He was home in Brooklyn and there was a problem, actually a kitchen disaster. Very upset, he called his mother , who was working with Suzen, and lamented that he was about to flunk second grade. I think if, at age seven, you are smart enough to call mom and articulate educational concerns, you are probably going to make it.

In Austin, our grandsons had a check list four years ago before starting kindergarten. You had to know the alphabet and be able to count to 100. Otherwise, you were rejected for kindergarten. It’s not that you flunked kindergarten, you couldn’t even start.

And now, it’s almost Christmas and each kid knows that Santa’s sleigh has a finite volume but there are more and more children around the world Santa has to serve. So kids are going to feel threatened. What if Santa has to cut back on presents for everyone, what if Santa runs late and never even comes, what if …

Here is my suggestion. Bribery and inspiration. This hot chocolate will put a smile on Santa’s face and give him the caffeine buzz he needs to make it to every chimney. You might want to double up here and make some for you, too.

Tell your kids you are doing this for Santa. They need all the reassurance you can provide.

Hot Chocolate Espresso

Yield: 4 servings


  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), chopped


Bring the cream and milk to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and quickly add the chocolate, stirring until melted and very smooth. Return to medium-low heat and warm until a bubble or two forms on the surface, about 3 minutes.

Pour the hot chocolate into 4 demitasse cups and serve immediately.

Source: Hot Chocolate by Fred Thompson