The Toblerone | April 12, 2023

The Jewish holiday of Passover kicked off last week.  Passover was my favorite holiday growing up because my parents would replace the living room furniture with stacks of card tables and invite over as many non-Jews as the house could hold for our annual family seder.  Passover is a great way to introduce interested Christians to the Jewish religion because there’s lots of wine, lots of food, lots of goofiness (we sing a song about a goat), and very little praying.  Every year, I say to my (Catholic) husband, “Next year we’re going to bring back the Silverman seder.  Next year I’m going to get my act together and do it up.  For sure next year.  FOR SURE next year.”

You’ll be unsurprised to hear that this 3,000-year-old holiday really sneaked up on me for the eighteenth year in a row.  I blame my ill-preparedness on the fact that I bought all of my Passover matzah like two months ago and then had no reason to think about it again.  Passover is the celebration of the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt, and we commemorate the occasion by eating a cracker called matzah for eight days.  I am picky about my matzah – I prefer a certain brand of egg matzah – and since North Dakota isn’t exactly awash in Jews to necessitate the grocery stores bringing in more than one flavor of matzah, if I want my special egg, I need to remember to buy it on a trip to Minneapolis.  Which is what I did, and then promptly put the whole thing out of my mind.

As Passover came out of nowhere, I decided to keep up the Amanda Kosior seder tradition of hosting my husband and two children.  And, because it was only the four of us, I decided to do away with the typical Passover desserts and just do candy bars.  If you’ve been reading North Dakota Nice for a while, you know that I LOVE food.  LOVE food.  Except for Passover desserts; I hate Passover desserts.  HATE THEM.  I’m sure there are a lot of wonderful homemade Passover recipes that I can find with a quick clickity-clack-clack of Google; however, as a person who can barely get her act together to make Passover dinner itself, I buy (and hate) Passover desserts.  The two “most popular” pre-made Passover desserts are macaroons that come in a tin and these gummy fruit-shaped things and both are somehow equal parts wet and crunchy, which is exactly what you want in a gummy and/or macaroon.

Anyway, I bought candy bars; and one of those candy bars was a Toblerone.

Kyle and the boys were hanging out in the basement when I returned home from purchasing said candy and so I marched downstairs and said,

“I bought these candy bars for Passover.  Don’t eat them.”

“Okay,” my eleven-year-old said without looking up from whatever he was doing.

“Got it, eat the candy bars,” Kyle said because he’s soooooo funny.

Our seven-year-old popped up from a pile of toys.  “Is that a Toblerone?  I LOVE Toblerones.  I’ve ALWAYS WANTED a Toblerone and I’ve never, ever had one.”

“I didn’t know you wanted a Toblerone,” I said.

“OH, YES,” Seven said.  “I LOVE them.”

“How do you know you love them?”  Kyle asked.

“Because,” Seven said.

“Well, you’re in luck,” I said, “Because we’re having this one on Passover.”

“Let’s just eat it today,” Seven said.

“It’s for Passover,” Kyle said.

“Awwwwww,” Seven said, with the type of awwwwww that can only exist when having to wait two whole days to eat a Toblerone.

Seven, who normally takes anywhere from one to four hundred hours to consume a meal, scarfed up his dinner that night.

“I did great eating,” he said, showing off his plate.

“You sure did,” Kyle said.

“I probably deserve a treat for all of that great eating,” Seven said.  “Like a Toblerone.”

“Dad got ice cream,” I said, referencing Seven’s typically-favorite food.

“I don’t like ice cream anymore,” Seven said.  “I only like Toblerones.”

“Well, we don’t have any Toblerones for this dessert,” I said.

“Awwwwww,” Seven said, dropping his forehead to the table and flopping his arms down at his side in the deepest of disappointments.  Kyle put a bowl of ice cream in front of him.  Without raising his head, Seven reached up and felt around until he found the spoon.  He brought the spoon to his mouth, licked it, and sighed.

“Maybe you’re too sad for ice cream,” I said.

“No,” he said, sitting up.  “But I am REALLY SAD.”

For the next twenty-four hours, Seven did absolutely everything in the universe to legally acquire that Toblerone.  He functioned as a normal human – brushing his teeth, putting on clothes – without being asked.  He vacuumed the floor.  He avoided fights with his brother.  However, because the only adults around were his crappy parents and not his whatever-our-sweet-darling-wants-he-gets grandparents, all of his good deeds went un-Tobleroned.

Passover morn dawned.  Kyle and I were awakened bright and early with a little face proclaiming, “Happy Passover, Mommy and Dad!  It’s alllllllmost Toblerone time!”

Finally, it was Toblerone time.  I slid the gold foil out of the package as Seven regaled us with an encyclopedia’s-worth of Toblerone facts (for example, did you know there is a bear in the Toblerone logo?!).  I split the bar into four and gave Seven the first bite.

“Here is how you eat a Toblerone,” he said, cracking off one of the mountains.  “Doing it this way makes it taste SO GOOD.”

I was still handing out candy when I realized Seven had already finished his Toblerone(s), so I offered him mine.

“No thanks,” he said, reaching across the table for some licorice.  “I don’t like Toblerones anymore, now I like LICORICE.  YUM YUM.”

“Did you like the Toblerone when you were eating it?”  I asked.

“Did you know there is a bear in the Toblerone logo?”  He replied, his mouth full of licorice.


The photo above is of a Toblerone.


I received the nicest email last week from a Manvel-er/Wolford-er named Mike Humble.  I loved it so much that I asked Mike if I could publish it here (and kindly agreed – thanks, Mike!), which I decided to do in lieu of the news.  Happy reading!

***

Amanda,

I stumbled upon your website thanks to my Google news feed on my phone, specifically the article about the father-son hockey game. Apparently, the algorithm figured that I googled enough hockey things recently and since I live near Grand Forks, it was reasonable that your website would be a good fit. The algorithm was correct.

I grew up on a farm outside Wolford, ND and left the state for college and the Army in 1998. During those 21 years, I met and married a girl from New Jersey and we have two sons who have lived in Alabama, Germany, Missouri, California, and Kansas. I returned to ND in 2019 to finish my Army career in the Army ROTC department at UND and my wife got to fully experience ND. When I retired from Active-Duty last fall, I started teaching in the Aviation Department and as a result, have found myself with more free time than I did while in the Army. I’ve filled that free time with hockey, both as a youth hockey ref, and as a Mite coach in Manvel.

And Manvel is the reason for my message. When the COVID lockdown forced me to teach from my dining room and my sons to transition to on-line learning, we had to do something to stay sane. That something was skating. I hadn’t spent much time in Manvel that school year, but volunteered to help with kid wrangling when the PE teacher, Vikki Fruetel, had curling for the 5th and 6th graders in February 2020. That was the day I discovered the Jason L. Stadstad Arena in Manvel.

When we couldn’t go places in March 2020, we went to the rink in Manvel. My 5th grader and I had just started skating and were both really bad. He had a head start as Vikki took the Manvel 5th-8th graders skating for PE. We both fell, a lot. But we persevered and met some truly incredible people that were the reason the rink is what it is today.

Russ Hatt, the late Jason Stadstad’s uncle, is one of those people. Russ’s son was a Squirt this year and I coached his daughter on the Manvel Freeze Mite team. He, Mark Gerszewski, and a small group of volunteers take care of the rink. Russ taught me how to run the Zamboni, and how to make ice in the rink. Russ is more than just a hockey dad. Without him, the rink in Manvel wouldn’t be what it is. (If you haven’t visited, I encourage you to do so. We usually have ice from early December until the end of March, and it’s a no-cost facility that is open 24/7, though you do have to pay for lights after 9pm.) Russ is responsible for new my winter hobby: youth hockey. He told me a couple of seasons ago that I should start officiating. I told him that I needed to learn how to stop first. Well, I kind of learned that last year so I made good on my commitment and became a youth hockey official in Grand Forks. I also volunteered to co-coach the Mite team in Manvel with Alex Johnson and my now 8th grader.

The crew that supports the arena in Manvel, in my opinion, is the definition of North Dakota Nice. Heck, the Ralph crew comes up and paints our lines every year (https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl7EYfxvhh0/). Elementary, middle school, high school, and UND students all come up to skate in a youth sized rink supported by a small group of dedicated volunteers.

– Mike


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