• Richard Scrimger

so much for tolerance


Excuse me for a second while I change my mind. Remember how I was being all non-judgmental about snacks, last time out? I have recently suffered a shock to my tolerance, and I am now prepared to talk about the worst snack ever. I can not understand how these things came to be. Can not imagine a product development meeting where some guy in an artistic shirt said: Hey, I have an idea! I am not talking about cheesies -- they are simply silly. Not even the new KFC sandwiches -- that stuff is so hilariously bad for you it's almost endearing. No, I am talking about a snack combination -- product and flavour -- that lowers the bar so far that these ... things can hardly be called a snack. I have always considered sunflower seeds to be a poor choice, delivery-wise. Like pistachios, they take time to eat, but pistachios are bigger and much better tasting, so they represent a realistic return on investment. Sunflower seeds are finicky and tiny, and only marginally tasty, so that the ultimate mouthful of flavour payoff never really arrives. So much for product. Flavour-wise, I have favorites, acceptables, and losers. And my biggest loser -- by far -- is dill pickle. Dill pickles on their own are excellent, in a way that barbecue sauce (say) is not. Who grabs a quick hit off the Memories of Texas bottle? But barbecue flavouring enhances a potato chip enormously, while dill flavouring simply kills it, as it kills tortilla chips, rice cakes, popcorn, and anything else it touches. Dill pickle -- worst flavour ever. Don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I'm just saying. So imagine my shock and horror when I returned from Knowlton (an excellent time there, by the way -- I'll post pix when I get them. Knowlton is a charming cottage town near Sherbrooke, with an active literary and artistic community) -- returned, I say, to find a package of sunflower seeds open on the kitchen table, and a disagreeable odour lingering nearby. Could it be? I thought, wrinkling my nose, reaching for the bag with trembling hands. Sure enough, the label read -- well, you know what it read. I do not mind coming home from a week away to unwashed dishes, piles of garbage, unmade beds, and a general air of sleaze and grease and unfulfilled promises (Sure I'll tidy up, Dad. You can count on me!). In a way I'd be worried if the place looked neat and tidy. But ... dill pickle flavoured sunflower seeds? My mind is boggling, narrowing, squeezing my sense of tolerance to nothing. The picture up there makes me shudder. I want to find the responsible parties and shake them, as a terrier shakes a rat. Can there be a snack jihad?

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada