Friday, February 3, 2012

The hottest trend for Spring: NEON Colored Saliva

Reader AKM, who may be the most wonderful person who has ever lived, alerted me to the fact that you can purchase Cry Baby Tears on Amazon. Why I have not looked there is beyond me. No one ever said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer. The last time I found them was in a seaside candy store in Monterey, CA, and the whole thing was kind of charmed, like running into your kindergarten boyfriend and realizing that you share a love for baby hippos and pizza with pineapple on it and that he looks like Morrissey in his prime. I figured there had to be a little bit of special in the air for me to be reunited with my childhood favorite candy. Turns out there just needs to be a little bit o' Amazon.

So while I was sitting here, trying to debate if $23 for candy comes out of the "food" budget or the "fun" budget, and, more importantly, how many Weight Watchers points one box would come out to, I read the comments from other orderers on Amazon. One person noted that they made his/her teeth hurt and tongue bleed. And that is when I remembered the pure, masochistic joy of this candy. Yes, aside from the weird effect it had on my saliva, I distinctly remember eating so many that my tongue bled. And that the mixture of the salty, metallic blood and the tangy remnants of Cry Baby's was oddly good.

Oh, you're stopping reading now?

I grew up during the halcyon days of the late 80's and early 90's. My mom was a hippie parent compared to most around us--she wouldn't let me drink soda until the tumultuous day when my dad and step-mom gave it to me, and the only fruit roll ups I got were these weird ones that were sold in big baskets at the front of the Food Lion and had pictures of fruit on them (they were basically fruit leathers). [Note: I once got tragically and horribly ill on Gushers that I had snuck into the grocery cart, and my mom basically "I told you so'ed" at me while I was puking.] Still, there weren't a whole lot of rules about my food intake. I got to go to McDonald's when I wanted, and my favorite treat was getting to go to Applebee's and order about 15 lemonades and slurp them all down. For instance, every day when I got to my mom's office after school, I bought a Mello Yello and a honey bun. Think about how much sugar is in that. I did that EVERY DAY for years, saving my change and buying it on the sly while my mom did taxes and probably worried about taking me home to feed me a balanced dinner.

Now, there's the obesity epidemic and the president is telling us all how we should and should not eat. We get mad at Paula Deen because she pushes fatty food while knowing the consequences such a diet can bring. And we look at our children, and we all monitor everything they eat. We worry about developing their palates, about making sure they are getting a variety of colored vegetables. I have sat up at night and worried over my son Sam, because he doesn't like soup. SOUP. How will that affect his daily life? What if he gets a wonderful job but is fired for not eating his boss's chili? What if he becomes homeless because of it? What will he eat because HE CANNOT GO TO A SOUP KITCHEN??!?!

I'm not saying we should all go back to not caring what our kids eat. But it does help to think in terms of moderation. Sure, you should expose your kids to a healthy, wide range of tastes. But when I think about those moments of sitting in the back of our SUV on our way to somewhere or the other, munching on so much brightly colored candy that it caused my mouth to declare war on itself, I can't think of a better memory. I kinda hope that my kids have their own special things like that. And if it is a vegetable that they remember so fondly, I think I'd be a little sad.

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