Thursday, May 20, 2010


Every time I do this, I have good intent-(bangbangbang - oops, that's the guys putting in the new windows, just igbangbangbangnore them). I mean, I renounce things. Not sex or anything (praise God!), but foods.

Certain foods become Franken for me. Not frankfurters (a furtive Frank, for sure). No. But I mean, what could be a more insidious Frankenfood than Gummi Bears? Made of nothing but sugar and goo and artificial this 'n' that, (and forget about that "made with real fruit juice" garbage, it's a corporate lie so mothers can plug their kids' mouths with a gob of high fructose corn syrup without guilt), they can be easily inhaled, first one at a time, then three or four, then - . After a while the head spins, the eyes unfocus, and the entire body
succumbs to sugar coma.
Right. I gave those up, gave 'em up when I suddenly realized that I liked the queasy feeling of skyrocketing glucose. So I self-righteously swore them off and started eating. . . something healthier. Much healthier. Pretzels! Not just any pretzels but Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks, crisply varnished
and crusted with salt.
I have a history with Rold Gold. I used to buy them as a child for five cents ("Fi' cents," Mr. Mardling of Mardling's Groceteria use-da say), in a little box wrapped in cellophane. I don't mean a normal snack box. I mean a flat little box less than an inch deep, shaped sort of like a pack of cigarettes. It was wrapped so that you could see the pretzels lying there in a neat little row, just waiting to
be devoured.
Rold Gold. Pretzel Sticks. These had no fat in them, none whatever, so I could insert them into my mouth one after the other while watching Hoarding: Buried Alive until I looked down and realized that half the bag
was gone.
I don't know what happened with the pretzels, but one day I just didn't want to eat them any more. I began to lose weight, then more weight. I began to eat like a human being. It was amazing. Maybe my binge days were over.
So when did the Nips come along?
I've always had a thing about cheese, you know, orange cheese. I don't know if it goes back to my mother, who was a walking refrigerator emotionally (at least to me - she loved my sister without reservation), but baked
extremely well.
After making one of her impossibly delectable pies, Mackintosh apple or sour cherry (from the tree in the back yard, the one that leaned against the white picket fence so I could neatly vault over into our neighbor's yard and feed the pigeons) or maybe even rhubarb which stripped the enamel off your teeth, there would always be some pastry left over, the trimmed-off bits.
Sometimes she rolled these out again, sprinkled the surface with grated orange cheese, rolled it up, folded it over and rolled it out again. She then cut them into strips and baked them: cheese straws. This method created flaky striations of cheddar that melted in the mouth. The pastry sort of puffed up and formed crusty, crunchable browned bubbles.
Dear God.
I can't fool myself that Cheese Nips are anything like that. They aren't. But every once in a while I get a box that's a little more browned than usual, probably some minor mistake in the factory. And Oh God. I have been Nipped again!
I imagine the postage-sized squares with the cute little hole in them are cubes of cheese pastry magically conjured from my childhood, pulled out of time and plunked down in front of me.
Before I know it I'm 2/3 through the goddamn box. And I feel guilty as hell,
because I've done so well with my weight loss lately
and it could all come back to me just like that.
And probably will.