"Happy February, fellow coffee lovers! February is a wonderful month, with lots of celebrations---Black History Month, Valentine’s day, Purim, and, at least this year, a flurry of snow days, with lots of sledding, get-togethers, and coffee-drinking.
I am pleased that my daughter has chosen to focus on Martin Luther King, Jr. as the subject for her Black History Project at her elementary school in Montclair, NJ. Making good use of a silver-metallic blendy pen, black poster board, and wikipedia, she has put together an interesting project focusing on Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, his civil rights work, and the fact that he was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received in 1964. A month ago, when we hosted our annual MLK, Jr. coffee-drinking party, she was responsible for hanging up peace-signs everywhere (her idea). Not surprisingly, her MLK, Jr. poster is festooned with peace insignias and happy faces.
Apparently, Dr. King was a coffee-lover. That is a documented fact. I can imagine that during sit-ins, when waiting to be served at racist establishments in the deep South, he may have requested a cup of coffee. Whether or not he got that cup of coffee during a particular sit-in—he knew that his wife Coretta would gladly place a steaming mug of lovingly brewed coffee in his waiting hands when he finally came home and took off his suit.
This year’s coffee-drinking get-together was bigger than last year’s and the coffee and hot chocolate were well-received. Though we focused on a nice Starbucks Pike Place blend, we also brewed Sumatra for a smoother option. Some attendees chose a mixed blend. Nice choice….especially when they sat down in the front of the fireplace where eco-friendly Javalogs were burning and subtly emitting the smell of fresh-roasted coffee.
Our friends were generous with the lovely desserts and other treats they brought. We had a nice loaf of babka, gluten-free chips, a large fruit salad, blue chips, and an old-school yellow-cake-with-chocolate-icing fave that really went down well with the coffee. By the time we descended to the play room, we were feeling remarkably energized by chocolate, coffee, and sweet sundries...all the better to watch our children perform for us by dancing, doing flips, and (with the help of Lindsey) reading text from “I Have a Dream.” Then we came upstairs to eat more cake and drink more coffee.
To be quite honest, though we are all fairly fitness-oriented, the drive for sweet treats is so intense during winter months, that sometimes eating a granola/ dark-chocolate chip cookie almost feels like a predestined fate. Fortunately, there is a strong base of clinical evidence that shows that coffee consumption decreases the risk of diabetes.
In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in December 2009 (2009;169:2053-63), international researchers, including researchers from Sydney, Australia; Paris, France; New York City; and Utrecht, the Netherlands, conducted a meta-analysis of 18 individual studies that included data on 457,922 participants. It turned out that for each cup of coffee consumed the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was reduced by 7%. The data showing that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes is not new---what is new is the amount of available data. There is a great deal of funding and attention directed towards continuing to clearly eludcidate the pharmacologic benefits of coffee. That’s a good thing, a very good thing....
Oh how sweet it is!