Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gimme Some Sugar

Amazing the things that inspire a blog post. This week it's energy food.

The hubs and I dragged the kids to a pro men’s cycling event this past Saturday because we’re like that. Just substitute “cycling” for the word “religious” before the word “zealot,” and you’ll have some idea of our devotion to the sport. I’m sure the kids hated it, but that’s life.

(“You will ring that cow bell for those men in spandex! Ring it, I say! Ring it for all your worth!”

But mother, I don’t understand the point of cycling! They just keep going around in circles, I can’t even tell which guy’s ahead!”

“Blasphemer! Get thee from my sight!”)

They were handing out samples of these new energy bars to spectators, and if you’ve ever done any cycling, running, hiking, etc. you know the dilemma with these things. Let’s face it, a Slurpee and a handful of marshmallows would give you quick energy just fine, but really what you’re looking for is healthy, nutritious energy. You want the “Look at me being so robust! Exercising! Eating compressed soy products!” thing, and OK, you also want a bit of chocolate to get that sucker to slide down your throat without coming right back up.

So this is what you’re trying to balance: nutrition and yumminess. Fortification and frills. But how much of each thing are you looking for? Are you the kind of person who wants more chocolate or more wheat grass? These are the questions we must answer for ourselves, and to each his own, right?

So this free sample we got was clearly going the healthier-than-thou route. It was touted as preservative free, nut free, kosher, and vegan. I think it was literally mashed up fruit and grain stalks pressed into bar form. Perhaps there was some binding agent like honey or tub caulk or whatever the heck they use to make those things chewy.

So what did we do with this free sample? We ate it. Because people will eat anything if it’s a free sample. I’m telling you, if you put it on the end of a toothpick, cut into bite-size squares, dipped in carob, people would eat uncooked goat brains.

And what did I think of this fine specimen of healthy energy food? The word ACK comes to mind. I must still have some of it in my molars because I can’t get the taste out of my mouth, even days later. That binding agent? I’m pretty sure it might have been manure.

Obviously, I’m not such a fan of the pure nutrition route and you know what? I realized that’s probably true about my taste in literature as well.

Ah, yes, there was a time when I wouldn’t read anything that wasn’t a meditation on death. Or meaninglessness. Or meaningless death. And if a book had a happy ending, bah! How can anything with a happy ending be serious reading? If the main character didn’t die of advanced syphilis or malnutrition or alcoholism in an insane asylum then it hardly seemed worth my time. I call this my “black turtleneck phase.”

Now? Heck, man. Gimme some damn sugar. I even get annoyed at any book that doesn’t have some form of redemption at the end. I have no time for unmitigated sorrow. I get plenty of that reading the newspaper every day.

Have your tastes in reading changed over the years? If so, have they become more nutritious or less?