Friday, April 3, 2009

The Snack Desperation Zone

It’s 9 o’clock at night. The TV glows and while none of my favourite shows are on, it’s too early to go to bed, and the images of those lions and hyenas on the Discovery channel have planted a seed in my brain.

As I’m saying to myself “Hey those Sham Wows sound like a pretty good idea,” my stomach lets go with a gurgle that saves me $19.95 plus shipping and handling, and might have awakened the kids upstairs.

“Time for a nibble” I think. No not that kind, and my wife has left the room anyway.

It is not a full blown, out and out, “When’s supper?” kind of urgency. More like the memories of supper are fading and now I’m restless for a little something extra. Kind of like that lion on TV lolling around in the dirt, pondering that fourth gazelle leg.

The trouble is, our pantry is seriously nuked. There is nothing good there – no chips, no cookies, no licorice, not even any of the bad-for-me crackers I like so much.

The shelves are as empty of good stuff as that vacant-looking, trollopy reporter’s head is, promoting some bit of twittery from Hollywood. “The latest at eleven!”

Air is not what I seek, unfortunately. Caveman Thag hungry now!

Boring stuff taunts me, as if it knows what I want and is deliberately hiding it from me in my hour of need. Slowly it dawns on me. I am entering…the Snack Desperation Zone.

The partial sleeve of soup crackers does nothing. I stare at the lonely box of Graham crackers for several minutes, dithering, but ultimately know they won’t do it.

Lack of good stuff somehow makes the yearning stronger.

I need to feel the rush of something bad for me. I need salt in copious quantities. I need sweets. I need grease. I. Must. Have. Calories.


Like a bear in a campsite, my nose starts to sniffle through forlorn bags of month old, stale cereal, but turns away, unsatisfied.

Hands shaking now, TV long forgotten, the fridge light dazzles my eyes as I root through the shelves, hunting, seeking, thirsting. I know it is in there. Where is it? I shove aside the old jar of pickles and... Yes! It IS still there!

With mounting excitement I lunge for the container of cake frosting from those cupcakes we made last month.

The last time I snuck a spoonful was two weeks ago. I almost got busted that time but my spouse didn’t realize what I was doing, huddled behind the fridge door, spoon in hand, a look of guilty pleasure washing over my face.

As my prying fingers scrabble at the lid, thoughts of mold or staleness flit through my mind and are dismissed as quickly as an original thought might flit through the head of the nitwit on TV.

I open to reveal – crunchy, dried out crumbs. And a snarky Post-It note saying “Ha!” from my wife. Busted after all…

Remembering the cupcakes, an evil, Grinch-like smile slowly appears on my face.

I slink to the pantry again, but this time I know exactly where to reach.

I’ve succumbed to the last resort of the serious snacker.

The baking stuff.

Cake sprinkles? Not bad. Sweet, but ultimately unsatisfying. Like living on a diet of hors d’oevres. Plus those little silver balls almost knock out my fillings.

I need the snack equivalent of meat.

Spices? Shredded coconut? Nah. Keep digging – you know they are in there.

Ahhhhhhh yes! There they are. Come to Papa…

The twist tie around the neck of the bag is no match for my probing, grasping fingers. Quickly but with practiced skill I hold open the bag and pour the sweet elixir straight into my mouth, a moan of pleasure and satisfaction escaping my throat as the tiny chunks of splendor spill into my grinning, greedy cheeks.

Semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Snacker Heaven.

The line from Babe echoes in my mind. “That’ll do, pig.”

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