[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]

I was going to McCaffrey’s again. It’s the anchor supermarket in the Princeton Shopping Center. To keep afloat with a Whole Foods in the neighborhood, McCaffrey’s gives a token nod to contemporary concepts like organic (two shelves in the produce section), some eggs from cage-free chickens (but not from pasture-raised ones) and some meat from animals raised without antibiotics (but not from grass-fed ones). Otherwise, it’s your standard American supermarket, only a little classier and pricier.  [The rock-bottom prices are in Montgomery and West Windsor.]  I shop McCaffrey’s for paper towels, toilet paper, paper napkins, baggies and baby wipes (easy on aging behinds) when I have no time to make expeditions to adjoining towns. Why are we always running out of paper towels?

“Would you bring me an O’Henry bar?” asked Bill plaintively.

Bill used to be the Great Vegan health guru; when I met him, he was surviving on oatmeal; green salads with chopped vegetables, olive oil and vinegar; and the occasional bowl of whole wheat pasta, very lightly salted. Candy of any kind, even so-called “healthy” candy, was not on the menu. His dietary principles have evolved since then — they would have had to, if he wanted to live with me. But this sudden yearning for a boyhood memory?  It must have been a function of increasing age.

There was no O’Henry in the whole McCaffrey candy aisle of American crap.  Phased out. Butterfinger and Almond Joy were still around. And Milky Way and M&M’s.  After much thought, I chose Snickers as a near O’Henry facsimile — in the “Save One for Later” double package containing 48 grams of added sugar. (20 grams is the current suggested daily limit.)

“I love Snickers!” declared the checkout youth. “It’s my favorite. I could live on them!”

But for how long?  The label said Bill would be eating (in addition to chocolate and peanuts) — and just this once, I hope — added lactose, milk fat, corn syrup, palm oil, artificially hydrogenated soybean oil, artificial flavor, more lactose, salt, more artificial flavor. He tore open the package without reading any of that. He said I was a sweetheart.

Does love mean giving them what they want, or talking them out of it? One more thing I don’t know.


13 thoughts on “WRITING SHORT: 42/50

  1. We give them what they want. We never try to talk them out of it. But when they’re feeling good, and under no kind of pressure… when it’s not a momentary crisis, or a need for a quick fix, we can discuss our thoughts on any subject… even our desire for company as long as possible in this quick stream of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually (though it may surprise you), Bill is thin because — unusually — he really does always “save one” for later. He’s certainly not a member of the clean plate club, and never has been. So yes, he did gobble up (with appreciation) only one of the two pieces within, and stuck the other piece in the kitchen drawer containing place mats, where he will probably (but not necessarily) forget about it now that his boyhood craving has been satisfied, while I have to go on looking at it every time I set the table. And don’t tell me to throw it out. If I did, he might remember the other half in two weeks or so, and ask where I’d put it.

      At least one other reason for the “save/share” packaging and marketing must be that it permits the manufacturer to comply with federal labeling requirements while lying. The package announces its contents in terms of “one serving (2 in package).” Thus the purchaser reads of 240 calories (when there are 480), 24g. of sugar (when there are 48g). And like that. Oh the games we play!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jools

        That kind of labelling is a very cynical approach, isn’t it? Still, I salute Bill for his impressive self- control! 😀


      • Cynical? How so? Candy manufacturers are in the business of building profits and keeping shareholders happy. Where regulations hamper unfettered capitalism to any extent, corporations will find a way of complying that protects the company’s profit picture as much as possible, and to hell with the consumer’s benefit. I’m sure 9 out of 10 customers don’t read fine print carefully, and that’s what the Snickers manufacturer (the Mars corporation) was counting on by dividing the contents inside the wrapper in two so that the “bad” information per “serving” looks somewhat less harmful, and then making the two pieces a selling point to distinguish Snickers from one-piece Milky Ways that would have to be broken in half to, haha, save or share.

        I would like very much to convey your salute to Bill, but he doesn’t deserve it. He has no self control at all about the things for which he has boundless greed — books, art objects, baskets, containers. By contrast, with food his appetite is small, and he stops, instinctively, when it’s sated. “I’m stuffed!” he declares, after half a slice of roast beef. “Just a tiny portion,” he instructs the hostess. Jack Sprat needs no compliments from you or me. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jools

        ‘Cynical’ because they *know* that most people don’t read labels properly. Buyer beware, though, is the mantra. These days, the buyer must be the cynic, must expect that the manufacturer is going to try and sneak a sneaky one by them. Then it’s just a case of finding the sneaky.

        I envy those people who are not tempted by excess food. I have a friend who can eat half of a 25g bag of potato chips (that’s about 6 crisps) and save the rest for later.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a tricky question you ask. I often ask myself the same question. Now, if asked, I’ll purchase what has been asked for, but try to make up with wise choices at meal time… Life is too short and must be enjoyed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Snickers Bars are so delicious! My favorite candy bar – even when O’Henry’s were around. I don’t think anyone who enjoys them thinks about those calories, fat and (ugh!) hydrogenated soybean oil until they’ve discovered themselves obese at the age of 45 and their life insurance goes up accordingly!

    Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.