Man and woman: Traditionally, the man would open the door for the woman, and that's still fine to do but is no longer widely expected. Today, the one who arrives at the door first opens it and holds it open for the other person -- regardless of gender.
Man and man: Again, the person who arrives first opens the door and holds it, unless one of the men happens to be elderly or has his arms full with packages.
Woman and woman: Same as man-man.
Man who insists on opening the door for a woman: The woman might think the courtesy is dated, but it's still a courtesy. She should say, "Thank you."
Elderly person and younger adult: The more capable person opens the door.
Boss and employee: Rank does apply here. Junior executives open doors for senior executives. If your boss happens to reach for the door ahead of you, be gracious, don't fight over who gets to open the door and remember to say, "Thank you."Scenario 2: Revolving door
Man and woman: Traditionally, a man would let the woman enter a moving door first, enter the section behind her and push to keep the door moving. If the revolving door wasn't moving, he would enter first and push. Today, whoever arrives first enters first and pushes. If a door is heavy, the man might want to go first and push for the woman. But it's fine for women to go first.
Man and man: Whoever arrives first goes first. If you arrive together, the man who is younger would let the elder man go first, unless the elder man needed assistance with the door.
Woman and woman: Whoever arrives first goes first. If one of the women is elderly and needs assistance, the younger woman goes first to push the door.
Adult and child: The adult goes first.
Boss and employee: The higher-ranking person enters first.
the center to stage an annual Italian film festival (this year's is March 30-April 1.)
Then in 2009, she was laid off from Seagate, a casualty of restructuring. Again at sea, she decided to visit Italy, ending up in Romagna, in the north region, where on a damp, cold-to-your-bones evening, she decided, on a whim, to attend a chocolate tasting.
Questioning her sanity
"The chocolates I tasted were nothing I had experienced before," Bonavita said. In short order, she learned about chocolate's role in the world economy, its role in the fight to preserve and restore rain forests, its role in medical discoveries on the beneficial role of antioxidants. She began educating herself about some of the 600 flavor notes in chocolate -- wine, by comparison, has 200 -- by starting each morning with a chocolate-tasting, before her palate had been compromised by coffee, or even toothpaste.
Eventually, she met Gianluca Franzoni, an Italian who makes Domori chocolates -- a level of chocolate that inspires critiques such as having "extraordinary roundness and great persistence." He's also a rock star in the sustainability movement, in which cacao growers in Central and South America are allies in the fight to maintain biodiversity in the face of lumber, mining and oil interests. Bonavita's path seemed clear, albeit ill-advised.
"Sometimes I asked myself, 'Are you insane?' At a time when people are watching their budgets, I'm pushing expensive chocolate," she said. "But I have to do it if we are going to change into a better world."
She, Massimo and a friend, Ella Chamba, started Chocolate Bonavita in 2010, offering tastings and classes at the Italian Cultural Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., and even a tasting in tandem with a yoga class, believing that a calm mind is most receptive to the nuances of fine chocolate.
Chocolates are for sale on the center's website, www. chocolatebonavita.com, where a 1.75-ounce bar of the award-winning Porcelana goes for $17. Goals include a retail store and development of a curriculum for chocolate sommeliers, in the vein of those for wine or olive oil.
Heart health, brain health
People love chocolate. And while U.S. citizens ate more than 3.6 billion pounds of it in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, we are mere amateurs when compared with Europe, which has 16 of the top 20 chocolate-eating countries.
All predictions point to rising consumption, partly thanks to studies about chocolate's health benefits. The Harvard School of Public Health, in a survey of 65-year-old men, found that eating moderate amounts of chocolate was a factor in prolonging their lives.
Cacao is rich in dietary copper, magnesium and iron, and dark chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure, along with being a source of antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease, according to Boston University's School of Medicine and the German Heart Journal.
The most recent, and perhaps more controversial, study was published last month in the journal Nature, in which obesity researchers at the University of California argued that sugar is so perilous to public health that it should be regulated as a controlled substance in order to reduce overall consumption. Far from hearing that as bad news, cheerleaders for fine chocolate heralded the findings as another ally. Chocolate with high cacao content actually contains very little sugar, Bonavita said.
Yet it's clear that Bonavita's passion is less about health and more about a belief that chocolate is good for our brains and for the planet. (Ten percent of Bonavita's profits go to the Rainforest Rescue program.)
"The major problem in our culture is that we're constantly hurrying, so stressed out, even when we are in the presence of something exceptional," she said. "This is where I believe we women can be a force in the food revolution," whether in sustainable agriculture or in teaching children how to make wise choices. "Chocolate is just a great example of the need for change."
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185