Materials Girl: ACS gives theobroma (food of the gods)

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[Posted on behalf of Materials Girl]

On Sunday, I mentioned via Twitter that the longest lines exist for free food. (I could start a blog on how to feed yourself at conferences without spending a dime, give or take a lack of proper nutrition.) In second place are the booths dishing out non-academic freebies, as if oversized t-shirts and logo-covered canvas bags are the key to happiness. On a similar note, the most crowded talk seems to be here, at the Everything You Want to Know About Chocolate program. The organizers knew what they were doing – aside from the obvious appeal of the topic, they will be raffling off at least two massive, 10 lb chunks of bittersweet chocolate [4.5 kg – NW]. “To encourage you to stay until the bittersweet end [of the talk].” Ah, the sneaky wisdom.

Amusingly, the male—female ratio in here has shifted in favor of the ladies. Personally, I’ve never been afflicted by the female mania for chocolate – but nonetheless, lectures on chemistry+food/processing are more compelling than others. This reflects a choice I’ve made for the meeting: I’m going to have fun. Few of the talks relate to my current research and my PI isn’t paying for the trip, so I might as well kick back and learn about completely new topics.

Coming back to the original thought, the close quarters in this room are a bit disconcerting – partially because moving an elbow makes you bump the adjacent person. However, it’s definitely fun to see such relaxed enthusiasm at a technical talk. The studies’ details are interesting, although in the end the message is the same: yes, cocoa-based chocolate is good for you, but no, not in unlimited quantities.

All of us dieters should already know that moderation is the key to success. (Unless you’re one of those scrawny grad students who never eats real meals.) As the saying goes, Il faut souffrir pour etre belle. We must suffer for beauty! Rather like how we must suffer through long hours in the lab for academic survival – if only my research involved food…