Coffee is my go-to beverage in rain or shine or when it is hot or cold outside. After giving up flavored coffee creamer last year for Lent, I do confess to having a once-a-week coffee indulgence of one cup of Hills Brothers Cappuccino. I save this treat for Sunday afternoons when I can relax and sip and savor each frothy mouthful. My favorite flavor is English Toffee, and while enjoying its exquisite taste and foamy bubbles, in my mind I am quickly transported to an outdoor café, nursing my steaming brew and watching the world go by on a picture-perfect day. The moment for me is always over too quickly. I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of joe and my love of coffee began when I was a little girl and my mom would dribble a couple of teaspoons of her coffee into my glass of milk – “beige coffee-milk” she would call it. Hey, it made me feel like a big girl, with my own grown-up drink. My father was a tea drinker and didn’t like coffee at all, and in later years my mom suffered horribly with heartburn so reluctantly her drink of choice became tea with alot of cream in it. I, however, never acquired a taste for tea – too weak for me and if you drink it white, I find it very blah and I really don’t like the smell of tea either. Every so many years I’ll see or hear a story about the benefits of green tea and once again I’ll buy a box and barely get through two or three packets then abandon the green tea project. My apologies for being a tea basher and disparaging that nice cuppa that all you tea drinkers out there so enjoy. When I worked in the Buhl Building, the downtown workers were elated when Starbucks moved into the ground floor of our building. Every morning when I got off the bus at the Buhl Building, I’d make a beeline to get my Grande, filled to the brim with one of their brews of the day – the darker and earthier roast, all the better. Never mind that I could get a cup of coffee from upstairs at the Firm for free, because it just paled in comparison and often tasted like a handful of coffee beans ran through the pot of water. Starbucks’ freshly brewed coffees were guaranteed to get you revved up and humming along until at least mid-afternoon. I never caught the fever for Starbucks’ popular signature beverages like the lattes, mochas, nor even their caramel macchiatos which my co-workers streamed downstairs mid-afternoon and queued up to buy on a daily basis. I found them way too pricey for me, and almost sickening sweet, even though I now look forward to my weekly cappuccino treat. The frothy taste reminds me of the same sensation of sweet sips of hot chocolate … the real stuff, made from scratch with cocoa powder and hot milk. It seems to me when I was growing up, Winter playtime always ended up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Post-play session, while I was casting off all my snow-tinged or wet outerwear, a saucepan was warming up milk on the stove. While my mom kept one eye on the bubbling milk, she was doling out an assortment of cookies to nibble on with that beverage, since I usually had built up an appetite while playing outside. As soon as I emerged in PJs or inside clothes, the saucepan was whisked off the stove and Nestle’s Quik stirred in. We’d each have a cup of hot chocolate and share the plate of cookies. The bag of mini marshmallows was handy, with marshmallows spilling out of the bag and rolling onto the tablecloth. I always insisted on layering a couple of dozen mini marshmallows on top of the chocolaty bubbles to make a sweet pillow. When I blew on my drink to cool it, the marshmallows would sway back and forth in the cup, creating giggles on my end, plus a sinkhole up top to dunk the cookies in, then watch them quickly dissolve and disappear into the bottom of the cup. I guess this is just another Throwback Thursday memory from the memory bank, though I wonder … didn’t they have Carnation or Swiss Miss in the large containers to just scoop out the powder to make hot chocolate back in the late 50s and early 60s? I know, after I got older, we never made hot chocolate from scratch, but merely spooned it out of the tin and added some boiling water from the kettle. Even the marshmallows were mixed right in the powder. My friend Carol makes her own marshmallows. I must be lazy as I’d never make any of these treats from scratch … it’s a good thing I never had kids.