knitter next door

How I became a girl who can't say no to knitting (and other musings on obsession) esimnitt (at) yahoo (dot) com

Friday, July 22, 2005

I'd like to say a thing or two about obsession. You see, it's not just yarn I'm addicted to. Or knitting. Apparently, I'm obsessed with collecting candy bars. Not necessarily eating candy bars (that's not to say I haven't eaten my own weight in peanut m&ms several times over). Every since I read Steve Almond's "Candyfreak" last summer, I can hardly leave the store without already-melting ooey, gooey chocolate and peanuty goodness in my hot little hand.

These three candy bars are a witness to that. On top is the newest addition to my collection: The lime and coconut Almond Joy. I found this at the video store while renting "Bride and Prejudice" last weekend. I had planned to eat the candy bar while watching the movie, but by the time I stumbled into my air conditioned house out of the 100 degree heat, the moment was gone (and the bar a bit too droopy for eating). So I added it to the glass jar on the counter in which I cram all my candy bars for later enjoyment.

Problem is, that later enjoyment rarely comes. The Almond Joy bar is less than a week old. (Note: I'm not sure why I bought it. While I don't subscribe to Steve Almond's opinion that coconut tastes like fingernail clippings, I'm really not a fan). The middle bar has a longer history on my counter. I bought it at Cracker Barrel about six months ago on a nostalgic candy bar run. We don't eat at Cracker Barrel, we just buy Peanut Chews there.

I have no other connection to the Sifers Valomilk than that I read about it in Almond's book and tried it like any good researcher should before I wrote first an article for the local newspaper (Almond tours the Idaho Candy Co., located right here in Boise, ID, in the book) and second a longish essay on it for my Masters thesis. It's not even my own nostalgia I'm hungry for (I bring out the Big Hunks and the Idaho Spud Bars for that).

Finally, there's the Kinder Bueno bar I bought from a vending machine in the subway in Paris last fall. I had every intention of eating this one. I was starving and, at the time, still too afraid to approach a cafe with my non-existant French-speaking skills. And yet. Here it still is. A memento that's probably gone a bit grainy and rank.

There are two conclusions I can reach: Either I'm firmly on the path to becoming one of those people with old newspapers stacked six feet deep throughout my house or I'm a major pleasure-delayer stuck in delay mode. For you yarnies, let me apply the same principle to knitting: The softer, the shinier, the more sinfully decadent the yarn, the more likely it's doomed to be stashbound forever. I have six balls of Kid Silk Haze I'm saving for who knows what.

I'm not sure what is to be done. But my jar is full and my yarn room bursting. I think a mid-year resolution in hand. Perhaps each week I should pull out a candy bar and a ball of silk and address this obsession head on.

Just in case I've wet your appetite for sweet talk, here's the opening paragraph of my Steve Almond inspired essay:

At 10, I spent a few blissful months on a constant sugar high. I had a friend with a paper route and a sweet tooth, and as payment for trudging through the neighborhood and collecting the newspaper’s fee with her, she’d let me help spend all her earnings at the neighborhood Chevron station. What else were we going to do to with all the money? Urban sprawl was already setting in to Idaho Falls, which meant the mall was too far away and too dangerous to bike to. We occasionally hoofed it all the way to Smith’s grocery store for an ultra-cheap ice cream cone. But the Chevron was close and carried that which was most dear to our little sugar-deprived hearts: Candy. These were the days before parents put 7-Up in their kids’ sippy cups, before Americans all but walked around with IVs filled with high fructose corn syrup. There was no talk of childhood obesity, and I’m fairly certain my Big Hunks did not carry the “Low Fat” label they do today. Occasionally my mom would break down and buy us Sugar Smacks for breakfast (because, I think, they appealed to her sweet tooth), but our plaintive pleas for sugar-coated Count Chocula, Trix, Cocoa Crispies and Cookie Crisp went unheard. We dutifully drank a glass of milk with dinner and ate our cream of mushroom-infused casserole. Only during those lazy summer afternoons basking in the sweet potential of Lemonheads, Chick-o-Sticks, Charleston Chews and Blow Pops at the Chevron station did we feel the first intimations of freedom, of choosing for ourselves to rot out our teeth and revel in all that is sticky-sweet.
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