A Very Important Poll That Will Make You Think About How Fragile and Beautiful the World We Live in Truly is

Prepare yourself. You’re going to have to make a hard choice here.

Explain your answer in the comments. If you dare.

236 Comments on “A Very Important Poll That Will Make You Think About How Fragile and Beautiful the World We Live in Truly is”

  1. Chocolate is the bacon of desserts. Caramel’s just a sticky gooey mess that adds nothing – the limp, wilted iceberg lettuce of desserts.

  2. While both are amazing, caramel compliments chocolate while chocolate is itself great.

    Or: you buy a Hershey bar, you get chocolate. You buy a caramello, you get caramel inside chocolate. Case closed.

  3. Keep chocolate. Carmel hurts my dental work. Actually, with all the orthodontic work I’ve had done, I’ve never developed the *attachment* to chocolate that other people have.

    Besides, there’s still taffy.

  4. Chocolate. I have found from personal experience that women prefer chocolate. So, you know, perpetuation of the species. Without chocolate, the men would all have been killed after screwing up.

  5. I have absolutely zero desire for caramel, but wouldn’t mind it if chocolate disappeared either. I didn’t vote though because someone would assume I care about chocolate, when I don’t.

  6. Since caramel is just heated sugar mixed with water…then wouldn’t the absence of any possible caramel mean the the absence of short chain soluble carbohydrates, and thus the extinction of a good chunk of all life on earth?

    And yet…chocolate…

  7. Caramel makes my teeth hurt. Dark chocolate makes my taste buds sing. Hullo, people.

  8. I’ve chosen death. For a world in which they cannot co-exist is an empty and dark place.
    Our taste buds does not deserve the freedom of choice?
    It’ll be death, but one which I prepare to earn by fighting for a world in which both exist.

  9. While I was tempted to select the “both or death” option, I realized that option opened up the potential of “neither”. As an existential matter, “neither” is unacceptable.

    My taste-buds might survive living without either of these delicacies. But the women in my life would not survive without periodic infusions of chocolate. Or at least, I would not survive them without such infusions.

    As a matter of personal safety, I went with chocolate!


  10. Chocolate of course. How is it even in question?

    (caveat: I might be biased against sugar.)

  11. Well, consider that caramel is made from sugar and milk. Sugar can be made from many different plant…sugar beets, maple trees, sugar cane…just to name a few.

    Chocolate, however, comes from one type of plant, the cocoa plant. This plant is EXTREMELY difficult to grow, and it’s very hard on the soil that it is grown in. It is also highly threatened by climate change.

    I find it much more likely that we will have to do without chocolate in the near future…or we will be paying such a high price for it that it will only be consumed on very special occasions.

  12. I can’t actually see the poll, but can’t I vote for both? Each has their place, and their togetherness is all kinds of wonderful…

  13. Caramel is lovely, but Chocolate is just so much more versatile. Besides, you can put just a touch of chocolate into a scorched stew to kill the slightly-burned-taste, and I would be super-sad to lose that trick.

  14. I know this may make me an anathema, but I’ve never been a big fan of chocolate. Thus this is a pretty easy poll.


    The Salted Caramel Truffle blizzard that DQ had for a while was the best thing they had ever made, ever. You’d have to pry the chocolate and caramel from my cold, dead hands.

    (Guess which way I voted?)

  16. I like both of these vital elements on their own, but the best way to have them is together. How can the world go on if these soul mates are separated forever?!

  17. Is the chocolate sweetened? If so, we have the most important ingredient for making caramel – sugar. I’m not sure this isn’t a trick question, Scalzi. But, either way, chocolate has caffeine and is basically a health food, with the iron and polyphenols and antioxidants and whatnot. Clearly it’s the superior choice for dystopian life.

  18. In a world where our candy options are limited, the sudden void will be met by an increased demand for other types of confections, which may cause a shortage of even the surviving candy.

    Therefore caramel. The lack of chocolate will free more sugar to be made into caramel, and more people dislike caramel, so I am less likely to have to go without. I will miss my theobromine, though.

  19. How does this hypothetical work for caramel? I get chocolate, some blight kills off all the cocoa plants. Caramel is sugar water that’s cooked for a while. Does sugar not exist anymore? Does the Maillard reaction now not work, but only for sugar?

  20. Chocolate. Specifically, English/European chocolate. American chockolate is.. well.. it’s not, really.
    As for caramel.. it’s ok, but it doesn’t hold a candle..

  21. See, I voted for chocolate because I can make caramel myself, assuming the continued existence of the ingredients of commercial chocolate. But now all the other commenters are like, major environmental collapse, so… Now I regret my choice.

  22. A rational part of my mind told me to do away with chocolate because of harsh farming conditions not just with the environment but the farmers as well. Doing away with the cocoa plant would open up fields for other crops.

    But the bigger part of my mind knows that chocolate is a much more versatile dessert option. And that is why I chose chocolate.

  23. Caramel is best ON chocolate, so obviously chocolate is the more important of the two. So much more versatile, too. Who gets a caramel birthday cake? Who drinks a hot caramel with marshmallows? NOBODY THAT’S WHO.

  24. So what’s wrong with putting both together? Desserts with both are better than desserts with only one.

  25. Chocolate! Chocolate doesn’t stick to my teeth, pull out my fillings, and I’ve also read that chocolate can help prevent cavities. Even if it doesn’t, at least, I’ll be happy while my teeth rot away. I can always just let the chocolate melt in my mouth then. I believe caramel is overrated, anyway.

  26. I vote caramel, only because my doctor has forbidden chocolate & I have to have SOMETHING. Sorry, chocolate lovers, but eventually you, too, will be able to make the substitution & enjoy the caramel.

  27. Chocolate is life itself.

    People can’t even agree on how to PRONOUNCE caramel.

    No contest.

  28. I’ve never found a caramel that I consider worth the calories. And the recent obsession with putting sea-salt (as distinct from other kinds??) on the combination of chocolate and caramel just plain baffles me. Gak, blech, yuck, ewwww, nasty stuff.

    Chocolate, on the other hand, particularly if it is dark as midnight and only mildly sweet, is a gift from the deity. Assuming deities exist, that is, which I am uncertain about – but the existence of anything as sublime as dark chocolate certainly supports the theory.

  29. Seriously, who are these infidels voting against chocolate? Chocolate is nectar from the gods, pure, silken indulgence, the very embodiment of soul-soothing wonder. Caramel is sticky, too sweet, and makes my teeth stick toghether. Besides, chocolate pairs in heavenly consort with that other life-sustaining nutrient, peanut butter. Caramel is only improved by either.

  30. CURSE YOU, SCALZI. WHY MUST WE CHOOOOOOOOOOOSE! Particularly when the two go so beautifully together.

    I must add that, as we speak, my daughter is at home making cream cheese ice cream and an apple-caramel tart. And this horrific future you posit would make my dessert tonight impossible. Grim, I tell you.

  31. I like both, but chocolate can be eaten on its own, and stored in paper wrapping. Caramel usually can’t, and it’s a bit messy to try.

    So, chocolate.

  32. Actually carob is sweeter than chocolate naturally and doesn’t have cockroaches and unhealthy effects in its prep/growth/what have you. I already won’t touch chocolate and there’s already a tasty alternative.

  33. Well, I chose chocolate, but I’m going to be honest here. I’ll probably be sneaking some contraband caramel from time to time. To hell with the consequences.

  34. I am going to go make caramel brownies in defiance of this poll. Surely there can be no greater travesty than a world in which one is forced to choose between the subtle bliss that is chocolate and the divine brashness of caramel.

    What are you going to do next, make us choose between blueberries and strawberries?

  35. This is an easy one for me. I adore chocolate. I find caramel too sweet (unsurprisingly, since it is more or less pure sugar). While a little caramel can be nice, in the right contexts, I’d much rather live in a world without caramel than without chocolate.

  36. Homemade caramel sauce on a slice of cheesecake with a sprinkle of salt is the most awesome thing ever in this world. QED.

  37. The sum of both is greater than the separate parts. I like both, but I like both of them together even more than apart. ‘nough said…

  38. I love chocolate, I really do. But Jennie’s allergic to theobromides (in the “this could easily kill her” levels not the “mild headache” levels), and loves my caramel concoctions. So while I’d prefer chocolate or both, she’d not miss chocolate and, well, I can live without.

  39. Chocolate must be kept. Caramel is significantly inferior.

    If either is banned does this mean we will have a sudden influx of organized candy related crime? Will this eventually lead to the NASCAR of caramel?

  40. What comes next in the category of unthinkable thought experiments? A challenge to the inevitability of binary gender? *gdrlhwswhwh* (that’s “while shouting woo hoo, woo hoo”… think Daffy Duck fleeing Elmer Fudd’s shotgun and you’ll get the picture)

  41. The TRUE 4 basic food groups that keep the world operating and the people from killing each other are:
    Because chocolate has all of the above, it is truly the perfect food! So cannot be lived without.

  42. Because caramel is just sugar and oxidation.

    Chocolate is for higher forms of life.

  43. Next you’ll tell me I have to choose between chocolate and peanut butter. You’re a madman, Scalzi.

  44. I very nearly went with chocolate, but then I remembered Milky Ways. I don’t think I’ve had any since last Halloween, but I thought long and hard about what it would be like to never eat another Milky Way candy bar.

    Oh well, death it is.

  45. I love caramel. My wife and daughters love chocolate. If we have to choose, SOMEONE’s grumpy. And I’m not “taking a Spock” on this one.

  46. Chocolate cake, milk, chips, sauce, brownies, fondue, dipped strawberries, Martinis…. Caramel, on the other hand, is just an additive. #TeamChocolate #NoContest

  47. Chocolate contains both caffeine and joy. Caramel contains less joy, no caffeine and a higher likelihood of ripped out fillings.

    Long live chocolate, which will be served at all memorials for caramel, to ease the pain of loss.

  48. I love caramel much more than chocolate but I had to vote chocolate because my husband and by that extension, the rest of the world, cannot live without it. However, I would burn the ever-loving crap out of all the chocolate in an attempt to make caramel again.

  49. There’s a lot more variety in chocolate than there is in caramel. Plus – it just tastes nicer. So choc it is :).

  50. I’m allergic to both, though I can eat properly dark chocolate. I have chosen death for the rest of you mortals, however.

  51. Heeeee. I chose the death one, because I love the melodrama of it, but if forced to choose it would be chocolate. For me, its consistency and ease of consumption is better than that of caramel, and I like the taste more.

  52. I’ve recently discovered how amazingly good salted caramel is, but I choose chocolate. Especially dark chocolate. The darker the better. Come over to the dark side…

  53. Since caramel is just heated sugar mixed with water…then wouldn’t the absence of any possible caramel mean the the absence of short chain soluble carbohydrates, and thus the extinction of a good chunk of all life on earth?

    And yet…chocolate…

    And yet, the chocolate will be pretty bitter without some short chain soluble carbohydates.

    The four food groups are sugar, salt, grease, and chocolate. QED.

    In Phil Foglio’s comic, Buck Godot: Gallimaufry, there is a species called Pogs. In the background of one of the panels there is a billboard for a pog-owned restaurant advertising a restaurant catering to humans. The sign contains the line: “sugar, fat, salt, and alcohol– we know what you like”. I might not have the order quite right.

  54. I mean chocolate is okay and all, but I’ve just never really understood the “hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt” mentality. I’ll eat it, and I like it, but I could also live without it. Caramel less so, but yeah, I could even live without that. Malt is where it’s at for me. If there were no more malt, I would be very upset indeed.

  55. A world without chocolate vs a world lacking only one of the things you can do to sugar? Easy choice.

  56. Not only is chocolate great by itself and fantastic with red wine, you also get savory dishes such as mole. A world without chicken mole is not a world I wish to live in.

  57. What the hell kind of caramel are you people consuming that’s pulling dental work?!? I’ve never even heard of this myth! Chocolate is good, but caramel is a gooey delicious wonder that improves more things than chocolate. I enjoy both but if I’m forced to choose it’s an easy one for Caramel!

  58. Caramel, of course. Then again I’m not a huge chocolate fan, so it’s a really easy choice for me. The only chocolate I really love is white chocolate, which my dark-chocolate-loving husband likes to tell me isn’t *real* chocolate. So I can have both my caramel AND my white chocolate. Bliss.

  59. As we’re about to cross the 2,000 responses threshold, I’ll note that if I had to choose, I’d go caramel. I like chocolate just fine. But I like caramel more. Yes, I’m in the minority here. We few, we happy few, we band of caramelers!

  60. I would have expected a writer of your abilities to devise pejorative terms for each side to use to describe the opposing view. e.g. Chockers Stickies

  61. How can one live in a world without Mars Bars? THE CARAMEL IS A CRUCIAL INGREDIENT IN IMPROVING THE CHOCOLATE. Death before dishonour.

  62. Chocolate.

    Because there are other sweet gooey foods around that can sub for caramel. But nothing else is chocolate. (Carob is edible, but it’s no chocolate.)

  63. While I like caramel more than chocolate I also like it most when it’s combined with chocolate. If I have to choose one or the other I choose the death of all existence, followed by chocolate.

  64. I need caramel. I would just miss chocolate. Drinking caramel is the food of heaven.

  65. Provided you leave peanut butter out of it, I’m happy with your poll. And since chocolate pairs nicely with peanut butter, but caramel does not, the choice is easy.

  66. Chocolate is overrated. I actually prefer white chocolate, and since that isn’t really chocolate at all, it will still be around. Win-win.

  67. I feel the need to defend caramel. A quality salted caramel is better than chocolate any day – even dark chocolate. I am not, of course, defending that crap they call caramel you can buy at a grocery store and I’m sad for anyone who has not had the benefit of tasting a truly superb caramel.

  68. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, beans are vegetables. Therefore Chocolate is one of the 5 portions of vegetables that you should eat every dayIt follows that the correct answer isChocolat!

  69. They can take our lives, but they can never take…OUR CARAMEL!!

  70. Chocolate. Because Toblerone is made from Chocolate and Toblerone it the perfect food.

  71. Mr. Scalzi, you are a science fiction writer, so this is just a cruel and interesting thought experiment? And not that you and your book publisher are the sole human contacts to a formless alien civilization currently co-existing with us on Earth and hoping to slowly be introduced to society through a media personality, who would have to break it to us that in exchange for their advanced tech, all your chocolate are belong to us? (Cuz I’ve always wondered if you had a sequel in you for that one — unless its real, and then please tell them to take our caramel instead.)

  72. I don´t really fancy either. But I have voted to keep caramel and ban chocolate from our streets. Chocolate is a sex surrogate, so I say let’s get rid of that toxic brown stuff and get on with the real sexing!

  73. Chocolate = proof there is a God.
    Same holds for cheese.

    Caramel is just… caramel.

  74. Caramel is sugar. No caramel, no sugar. Chocolate is then inedible. With sugar, many things are possible.

  75. Not a difficult decision for me — dark chocolate is a necessity of life, but the flavor and texture of caramel is revolting (last year I learned I’m allergic to natural vanilla as well as dairy. I assume caramel is triggering histamine reactions somehow.)

  76. I decided not to treat this as a trick question. I adore chocolate so I voted for that. If there were no chocolate, I would eat less desserts which would be good for me… If there were neither, perhaps I would substitute broccoli, so that would be good for me…

  77. Give me the caramel (even though it tries to pull my teeth out and has, on more than on occasion, succeeded). I’m from another planet where chocolate doesn’t exist and I never learned to like it. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.) Many years ago, I bequeathed my life’s allotment of chocolate to my friend Leslie.

  78. First off, there is a real dearth of good chocolate in the world. I love good chocolate – good, rich, well made dark chocolate is heaven – but it is hard to find. Yes, even at Whole Foods. (Best chocolate I have ever had was at a small shop in Bruges, Belgium. Dumons. You should go. All of you should go. Now. And bring me back some while you’re at it.)

    But caramel? Hard to find bad caramel. And bad caramel – still pretty darn good. Salted caramel is food of the gods, yes. But even just plain caramel is happiness. So Team Caramel (assuming that “team fill in the blank” is still a thing.)

  79. I voted caramel, because a) salted caramel is perfection in a sweet, but also b) while I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like caramel, I do know some people who aren’t excited about chocolate. I had to vote for the greater good, as much as it pained me to do so.

  80. Chocolate has more beneficial health benefits so I’d have to choose that even though I prefer caramel. Imy willing to sacrifice for the greater good.

  81. Chocolate has many varieties, can be blended many ways, has many options… caramel is burnt sugar. Also, as others have mentioned, most people I know would be insufferable without regular chocolate infusions.

  82. I voted chocolate, because there’s still nougat, and chocolate + nougat is delicious, but caramal + nougat is still missing something.

  83. Look. Look. Here’s the thing. I know where we get caramel. It’s from butter. I have to assume that if we can’t have caramel, we can’t have butter. And that is way, way worse than not having chocolate. It’s not having chocolate, plus not having basically everything else I like, too. So I’m sorry. But chocolate had to go.

  84. Here’s why I think that caramel should survive: If the world loses chocolate, that’s one species of plant that’s fallen off the Earth. This could potentially have a large-scale ecological impact, but if caramel doesn’t exist then it reflects a much bigger issue. Caramel usually consists of butter, cream, sugar, and vanilla. So, if caramel doesn’t exist for whatever reason, then it probably means that one of these ingredients has also disappeared. While there are other ways to harvest sugar other than just sugar cane, and dairy that doesn’t come from cows, losing any one of these ingredients (expecting maybe vanilla) would have much larger implications. I can’t live in a world without sugar. I don’t want to live in a world without cows. Thus, I voted for caramel.

  85. While I do love caramel on occasion, many know I will kill for all things chocolate…. plus ya know, Baily’s and Hot choco is a staple for us North of 49 :)

  86. Caramel and chocolate are both wonderful separately, and combine beautifully. To lose either would be to lessen the world immeasurably, and I will have no part in it.

  87. Ach! No!

    But while chocolate is delicious, caramel is divine. And I say that as a woman, despite the many previous comments asserting my utural predisposition… (A woman *on her period*, no less!)

  88. I can tolerate fake caramel (butterscotch) but I cannot pretend that “chocolatey goodness” compares to chocolate.

  89. Of course it’s chocolate! Real chocolate, not nasty imitation. Also, I was given a box of Godiva for my birthday and if I’d voted for caramel I’d have to give them back…

  90. The Four Basic Junk Food Groups:

    The answer is obvious.

  91. Hard as it was, I had to pick chocolate. Chocolate has so much more variety, and there’s nothing quite as good as letting some really good European plain chocolate melt on your tongue. Except, perhaps, cheese. (And anyway there’d still be toffee if I needed that caramel taste.)

  92. Eh. I don’t like caramel. But the new trend of caramel covered in chocolate with sea salt sprinkled on top is edible.

  93. Both are good. Both are necessary to make “Cobbers”[1]. A world without Cobbers is a world I don’t care to live in.

    Oh gods, I just realised: losing one of either chocolate or caramel also means we can’t have Fantales[2]! Or Caramello Koalas[3]. Or Mars bars. Nooooooooo!

    Pass the cyanide.

    [1] Translation notes for non-Australians (poor benighted creatures ye are!): Cobbers are basically little squares of very hard caramel coated in chocolate, which used to be a regular feature of corner store lolly bars for years. Guaranteed to extract fillings (and loose teeth) or your dental work back!
    [2] Fantales: square of vaguely hard caramel (softer than Cobbers, less likely to lead to extractions) coated in slightly better quality chocolate, and wrapped in a wrapper which has cinematic trivia written on it.
    [3] Liquid caramel in a chocolate shell which resembles an anthropomorphic cartoon koala.

  94. I like both, but if forced to choose, chocolate.

    Of course, if we can’t have caramel, we’d be reduced to unsweetened baking chocolate, so maybe I should rethink that. (This question does kind of fall apart if you know how to make caramel.)

  95. I firmly believe that the salted caramel trend is what led to that thing which should not be aka Vegemite chocolate.

    If losing caramel will save future chocolate from such disasters, then it is a small price to pay.

  96. I chose caramel, with the assumption that white chocolate did not constitute chocolate and could continue to be.

    If white chocolate were also proscribed, I would have chosen chocolate.

  97. caramel is just sugar heated up. chocolate is nutritious and a mood-enhancing drug..

    salted caramel is an US abomination, to be expected of a country that puts sugar in salt too – look at the list of ingredients on a can of Morton’s Iodized Salt, sometime..

  98. Thankfully, the wrongheaded caramelites (including the proprietor of this fine site) are being voted into oblivion by the right-thinking and morally upstanding chocolate majority. Should this distressing choice ever need to be made in reality I, for one, will welcome our new chocolate overlords and not miss for a second the chewy, sticky hot mess that is caramel.

  99. Life, cruelly, has decreed that eating chocolate will give me a headache, so caramel wins by default.

  100. Chocolate is a migraine trigger and NOT worth the price I have to pay.

  101. Give me death. Chocolate and caramel are at their best working in unison, to remove one would cripple the other.

  102. Chocolate.
    Because I have a plan that will make me Walter White wealthy: I know how to cook potatoes with onions, chipotlé powder and salt until the sugar in the onions is lightly caramelized. I’ll just leave out everything but the sugar. What could go wrong?

    PS: I just finished watching Breaking Bad about an hour ago. ;-p Is Game of Thrones any good?

  103. Yes, GoT is quite good, compelling enough even after I’d read all the extant books (motivated by the appearance of the t.v. series). Also, it’s just possible to imagine the various entitled nitwits of the Seven Kingdoms contesting over the Chocolate Throne. The Caramel Throne? Not so much.

  104. Chocolate is wonderful and caramel is meh. And now I have a vote! Bwa-ha-ha, I am letting my voting rights go to my head!

  105. And now I see that 66.4% of Scalzi’s readers are pure evil. That’s good to know.

  106. My own preferences give caramel a slight edge over chocolate, but the fact is that when combined, they become a magic substance that is ten times tastier than either is on its own, the lack of which would be truly tragic. Plus if I picked caramel I’d worry about the horrifying backlash I’d receive from angry chocolate-lovers. Rather than deal with either of these eventualities, I went with death.

  107. Milk, dark, Mexican, chocolates can stay. Gonna play the race card and say white chocolate has gotta go.

  108. Easy. Chocolate gives me migraines, so being rid of the temptation would be a net positive.

  109. Valor has it exactly right. Caramel is a basic commodity you can make in any kitchen. It’s just dehydrated sugar. Chocolate requires cacao, which is a highly specific plant and thus needs to be sourced in a way that sugars don’t. Caramel cannot be effectively banned, but chocolate could be.

  110. Chocolate forever.

    And several of you have erred in describing the four major food groups. They are (according to my sister):


    And therefore the Most Perfect Food is BBQ flavored potato chips.

    Here endeth the digression.

  111. Simply put, even bad caramel is still good…but there is a lot of bullshizz trying to pass as chocolate these days.

  112. I enjoy chocolate more than I enjoy caramel, and if caramel were eliminated, I would not have to put up with the travesty of caramel-infused chocolate brownies, which one of my favorite lunch places have now instead of the sensible chocolate-only brownies previously available there.

  113. Caramel, meh. Having suffered through those horrid caramel-on-a-stick bars as a kid long ago, I’ll stick with good dark chocolate.

  114. Rolos aren’t particularly my favorite candy, but I don’t think I should have to live in a world where it’s not possible for them to exist.

    “First they came for the caramel, but I didn’t say anything because I like marshmallow better anyway.”

  115. Scalzi, I demand a book about the desert wars of the dystopian future. Where the chocolatiers have taken control but the caramelers are fighting a slow and delicious insurgency.

    Dulce et decorum est por Caramel mori!

  116. You can caramelize anything with sugar in it using a source of heat, but you can’t chocolatize anything except chocolate. So chocolate it is.

  117. I’m still mad they took out the caramel apple place from Centre House. For that matter, I’m still mad they renamed Centre House back to “The Armory.” Fffft. IT’S SEATTLE CENTRE IT’S CALLED CENTRE HOUSE FOR A REASON WHAT IS THIS ARMORY ARE THERE GUNS THERE ANYMORE NO NOT SINCE THE 1950S OKAY THEN IT IS CENTRE HOUSE NOW PUT BACK THE CARAMEL APPLE STORE.

    These two changes happened at the same time. Coincidence? I think not.

  118. I voted for chocolate, but then I started thinking : what about the pets? If I’m going to accidentally drop something on the floor and they scarf it up before I can pick it up (I am a slow picker-upper), I’d rather it be a chunk of caramel than a chunk of dark chocolate. Admittedly, caramel might not be great for them either, but at least all the pet books aren’t warning you against letting them eat it.

  119. Caramel is carmelized sugar, sometimes with milk added to make candy. Most forms of chocolate are made with sugar heated with the cocoa liquor and solids. So technically, caramel is in chocolate already.

    Caramel is one flavor that is only mildly varied (burnt sugar.) Chocolate is done in lots of flavors in terms of percentage of cocoa.

    More importantly, I enjoy caramel but I can live without it. Living without chocolate, however, means that I and 75% of the population with previous access to chocolate would go crazy and bring on the apocalypse. So chocolate wins!

  120. The Girl has purchased many boxes of salted chocolate caramels, and apparently forgotten about them in the garage fridge, so I’ve been slowly eating all of them. It is a fine thing, and every bit worth the explanation I’ll have to come up with later if she ever remembers they existed.

    However, as for “Surely death is preferable to a world where we cannot have both” – the problem I have with death is that it seems kinda final. If I were left ALIVE in a world where we cannot have both, perhaps I could bring about a scenario in which we COULD have both. I have a lot of faith in my own abilities to make stupid things happen, and a not insignificant amount of experience with same. So if there was some stupid chain of events that caused either chocolate or caramel to cease to exist, I believe I am capable of whatever equal-but-opposite stupid thing that could bring one of them back. So let’s put ‘death’ down as option #3. And I like caramel, but I like chocolate better.

    Ergo: chocolate wins in the short term, and long-term, I will- …I dunno, boil condensed milk with a shitload of sugar in it, or something stupid like that. C’mon, we can do this. We’re not total idiots. We’ll figure it out.

  121. It would pain me–yea, PIERCE ME TO MY CORE, I SAY–to have to lose salted caramel ice cream.

    But it’d hurt worse to lose dark chocolate lightly dusted with sea salt. We have GOOD chocolate in these parts.

    My choice, it is clear.

  122. I’m allergic to chocolate, so I’m afraid this one’s a no-brainer. Caramel is my only consolation in a barren chocolate-less world.

  123. Losing chocolate means a plant dies out. Losing caramel means losing the glucose molecule or losing the ability to heat things. It sounds like picking chocolate to save means we all die anyway. Caramel is the only choice for survival.

  124. I like ’em both, but obviously there’s an entrenched chocolate majority using chemical warfare to maintain their superiority – why, Our Very Own Host wrote about it 20 years ago! (Google “scalzi wife chocolate” and see his old Fresno Bee article from 1995 entitled, “Chocolate”). So I have to put in a vote for caramel, no matter how underdog it may be, no matter how lost the cause is; I cannot let this Invasion of the Body Snatchers-esque situation go unchallenged.

  125. If we have to choose then we have bigger problems. And chocolate is the better survival food.

  126. Chocolate is a migraine trigger for me. Caramel wins by default. Curse you monstrously debilitating pain!

  127. Chocolate, obviously, since caramel is really only good with lots of nuts surrounded by chocolate.
    But as people are pointing out, practically, if you have chocolate, you must have the things you need to make caramels, so it must be political reasons that there’s no caramel if chocolate wins. In other words, the food police will be breaking into your house and throwing you to the floor and beating you with batons any time you start to make caramels.
    This sounds to me like a horrible idea, but therefore Chocolate needs to win because we’re already pretty experienced at fighting the food police.

  128. Well, considering I write stories about wizards called “Theobromancers” who use chocolate to perform magic . . . you can see where this is going, right? Chocolate wins, for the sake of the world as well as my stories. high quality dark chocolate has many health benefits that science is still exploring. Got to love those endorphins! Caramel . . . not so much.

    Sorry, caramel. I’ll miss you.

  129. I mean chocolate is pretty clearly the more “elemental” of the two flavors. That’s like asking if we could get along without oxygen or gasoline. As though the two are comparable. Of course they’re both important, but the fact remains that we would be dead in minutes without one and could technically scrape by living a sort of half life for centuries without the other.

  130. Push that button Scalzi and you’ll find that there ain’t any red licorish to be had for love or money. Kobayashi Maru!

  131. I like caramel okay, I guess. And perhaps choosing chocolate means that we don’t get toffee anymore? Which outcome would make me sad.

    But I don’t see how anyone could choose caramel over chocolate, and the results thus far seem to support that sentiment.

  132. As I am now allergic to dairy (apparently have been all my life and finally diagnosed) this was an easy one :)

  133. Scalzi’s just trying to stir up a hornets’ nest again. Is there not enough outrage for your outrage monkey already?

    Obviously the bees made him do it.

  134. Chocolate comes from the tree Theobroma cacao. The genus name means “food of the gods”, and is a translation of the Mesoamerican equivalent. Need I say more?

  135. No. I refuse. No more hyper-intelligent bees forcing me into a Sophie’s Choice-type situation.

    The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!

  136. “survive: If the world loses chocolate, that’s one species”
    Wrong. Dead wrong. That’s all of you; chocolate is the one thing that keeps me from a world spanning rampage of destruction. I have the power, you all know I do, deep in your hearts. Keep chocolate, keep life.

    The fact that Scalzi can ask such a question just proves he is a commilibrulatheisticalsoshuljusticewarriorlizardpersonelitistlibrulagendaforcer. S’there.

  137. Ok, I prefer caramel, but!

    I really don’t care that much, and I know far more people who would be seriously distressed by the disappearance of chocolate. Therefore, I’d get rid of caramel, despite my own mild personal preference.

    I mean, I don’t know anyone (not even those few among my friends who actually hate chocolate) who would commit suicide because caramel no longer existed. I don’t think I can say the same about chocolate. The needs of the many….

    (As for the whole “this isn’t possible, because caramel is just burnt sugar” argument: this is an SF writer’s blog, so I think we’re allowed to assume Sufficiently Advanced Technology. Thus, perhaps, you can cook the sugar, but the alien suppression field prevents the molecules from transforming appropriately, or makes the results teleport away as soon as they’re ready.)

  138. Caramel is merely an accessory to chocolate. Nice but not necessary.

  139. I must have both. with a touch of kosher salt (for the large-grain crystals, mind) as a sprinkle.

  140. Caramel wins hands down. I can share my caramel with my furry cat and dog friends. Share your chocolate with them and they can die. That should tell you right there that chocolate is just wrong!

  141. I’m very, very fussy about chocolate, to the point where I’ve had to admit to myself that I just don’t like it very much. On top of that, many a dessert has been advertised to me as a caramel (or toffee) based dessert and then some git has gone and hidden chocolate in it or covered it in chocolate sauce. Caramel all the way! Down with the chocolatey oppression!

  142. If you do a grep (or trawl) of my comments, you’ll spot one about chocolate. Hat tip to the host for some brilliant satire.

    (Then again, sugar plantations aren’t fun either… loaded dice and all that. Sure you’ve not been talking to the opposition?)


  143. Caramel. Because caramelization of so many other foodstuffs to make them yummy. My logic is that eliminating the one would also eliminate the other. Chocolate’s good, but as other posters have pointed out, it depends on a single plant rather than just being the specific case of a process.

  144. @ Cthulhu (SJW TINGED)
    So primitive. You must be using a caramel based OS that doesn’t support chocolate quality browsers that support just typing in the char string and hitting F3 for the next instance. You have my sympathies on having a ‘puter that can’t run anything as advanced as the chocolate steamies that are IE3 on Win9X.

  145. Caramel is simply a reduction of sugar, so this hypothetical would require the loss of sugar to negate it’s existence; which IMHO is the greater of the two tragedies. I could abide the loss of Chocolate, but no more Crème brûlée would be like getting that Alpha-Gal red meat allergy from a Lone Star Tick…

  146. Chocolate. No contest.

    Chocolate partners with so many things that are not caramel—mint, peanut butter, nuts, cherries, coffee, cinnamon—and can also be consumed as a hot or cold beverage. I understand that it can also be used in sauces.

    Caramel is not as versatile, or as yummy.

  147. I chose chocolate, then the first comment reminded me of salted caramel.
    I am now terribly conflicted and might want to change my answer.

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