The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


July 18, 2012

BICKER: Wonderful world of cappuccino

CLINTON — There’s something different about me lately.

Over the last seven months, I have been transformed into a new woman. There’s a new spring in my step and a little swagger in my hips enough to rival Marilyn Monroe’s famous walk.

My senses have even been heightened to the point that my nose is sniffing to the tune of Handel’s “Messiah.”

So what happened? Well, the explanation is simple. I finally grew up.

I’m officially a big girl now. I’m going on the record for the first time to say that I love, absolutely love and adore, drinking cappuccino.

Yes, this love affair could definitely rival the love I have for SPAM. I feel like a traitor. I feel like hanging my head in shame. I never thought I could ever replace that lovin’ feeling I felt for that wonderful mystery meat gelled to perfection in an aluminum can.

I started drinking pumpkin spice cappuccino about two years ago. I couldn’t get enough of it. I craved it morning, noon and night.

Ever since I had my first cup, I longingly gazed at cappuccino makers in the store like a wide-eyed child on Christmas morning. It was like the Cabbage Patch kid craze all over again but with cappuccino makers.

And then on Christmas Day 2011, my wish came true. My parents bought me a cappuccino maker. My parents looked a bit stunned when my initial reaction mirrored that of a Publisher’s Clearing House winner.

Ever since that day, my house has been filled with the wonderful aroma of espresso. I have a new ritual every morning, which consists of rolling out of bed around 4 a.m., getting ready for work and then walking out to the kitchen to plug my cappuccino maker into the electrical socket.

I even love the humming sound it makes in the morning — just like a kitten purring at my feet. My dog usually participates in this ritual by watching my every move and patiently waiting for me to take her outside.

I’m sure Elizabeth Barrett Browning is probably turning over in her grave each time I utter these words in the morning after my first sip, “How do I love thee? Let me sip the ways.” I’m sure if she had been sipping cappuccino daily, this particular poem from “Sonnets from the Portuguese” would be entirely different today.

One of my favorite movies, “I Remember Mama,” focuses on the importance of coffee for Norwegian immigrants living in San Francisco around 1910. Mama and Papa, portrayed by Irene Dunne and Philip Dorn, were always drinking coffee and as a treat, Papa even dipped cubes of sugar into his coffee for his children to eat. His sisters-in-law balked at this because they vowed that coffee would make his children’s fair complexions dark.

For this Norwegian family, drinking coffee was a sign of maturity and their first step into adulthood. When their children consistently asked them when they could start drinking coffee they said, “When you’re grown up.”

In the 1948 film, the eldest daughter, Katrin, is presented her first cup of coffee, heavily doused with cream, when she exchanges her graduation gift for her grandmother’s brooch, which her mother had traded with a storekeeper. Katrin realized the value of her grandmother’s heirloom and decided the dresser set was not as important as she once thought. Having a little piece of her grandmother and mother meant more to her than anything.

When I was a kid, I watched my mother drink coffee and vowed I would never drink the brewed concoction. Boy, have times changed; my life has finally come full circle. Who knew that I would finally reach adulthood at the ripe old age of 36.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at

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