Posts Tagged red dye number 5
Most fast food places utilize the Two For One Tuesday Special at some point. It’s cheesy, worn-out, and definitely over-used…but it’s a play on words, you see. Advertisers find it hard to resist a good play on words, no matter how many establishments have used it before.
Regardless of the weather, the degree of exhaustion, or the status of the bank account; if it’s a Tuesday night, you’ll most likely find us slugging it out at a certain local taco joint. By ‘slug it out’ I mean that there are literally hundreds streaming in and out of those doors all day long…maybe even thousands. Even on a slow Tuesday, it meets the requirements to be officially labeled a “Madhouse”. Doing the bob-and-weave through the masses to get to the salsa bar…pausing at least four times to let others pass when you go get a refill on your drink…speaking at top-volume but not quite yelling just to be heard at your own table….yea, it’s a calm experience. Hey. It’s a good deal. My folks ask me almost every week to go- and it’s become somewhat of a tradition. And I’m not too proud to tolerate the loudest, most intrusive and fever-pitched dining environment imaginable for a three dollar taco plate.
Yesterday it was Taco Tuesday. “Twofer Taco”, I call it. More than anything, though… I equate this weekly trek with honey. Sopapillas come with honey. The Child insists on The Sopapillas… and I have a hard time refusing her this simple treat unless she’s being a total stinker, or is currently being punished for something. Let it be known, though- where kids are concerned; the sheer bargaining POWER of The Sopapilla is unparalleled. I have yet to find anything on the planet that equals its strength when used in the form of a threat. All I have to say (and it doesn’t even have to be ON a Tuesday) is- “Hey! Knock it off!!…Do you want sopapillas at Twofer Tacos on Tuesday?!” And she shapes up immediately….folding her hands in her lap chastely with an angelic calm written all over her face. I try to use the Sopapilla Threat sparingly; if only to maintain its uber-effectiveness as a cure-all for The Child’s most undesirable behavior.
It’s almost an addiction to her- this combination of puffiness, cinnamon, sugar, and honey. A while back, she discovered that the salsa bar had OTHER condiments….namely little tubs of whipped butter. She puts the butter on her plate, then pours (LOTS of) honey on top and starts swirling it with her fork until the desired consistency is reached. This butter/honey swirling- the mere preparation of it- seems to take on a Zen quality for her. There is a self-imposed restraint and measured anticipation in her eyes. Apparently, just getting READY for sopapillas brings with it an odd discipline. I liken this action to that of heroin addicts I’ve seen on television…the way they concentrate and hold their faces while they go about mixing their drugs in a spoon and heating it up are almost identical to watching The Child with her honey/butter emulsion process. Personally, I just don’t understand the addition of butter- but then, I’m a purist. I’ll just use the standard recommended condiments, thank you.
I’m not altogether sure what it IS exactly about the chemical composition or make-up of the simple sugars that are found in honey that brings about this unnerving reaction in The Child. Honey is an all natural sweet treat, made by bees- and not concocted in a lab somewhere like the infamous Red Dye Number 5 – which we all know induces near fatal mania in children and should be avoided at all costs. Honey should be a soothing food…but instead we see something quite the opposite happen. First of all, once the honey/butter is combined in just the right balance, and the sopapillas are produced and waiting on the table; The Child spears one like she is throwing a weapon at a running wild boar. She dips the sopapilla in her plate with no attention paid to the fact that she is also dragging her fingers and hair through the honey mess as well. She lowers her face to the plate to reduce the actual ratio of plate-to-mouth distance. She INHALES one, two, three of them – however many she can possibly beg off of others at the table. She eats them greedily, like a prisoner- and guards her plate with the non-active, non-fork wielding arm. Once they are gone, she always attempts to lick the remaining gooey honey/butter/cinnamon glob directly off the plate- even though she KNOWS I stop that crap as soon as I see her lift the plate to her face. This is bad enough already! The Twofer Crowd has already been watching her devour her dessert like a wildebeest as it is…and many have paused with their forks in midair to concentrate more fully on the gluttonous display happening at our table. She giggles. She vibrates in her seat. The honey kicks in as fast as if she had injected it with a hypodermic needle….straight into the bloodstream. I’m quite positive that six cereal bowls full of M&M’s would not get her this wired. If you look closely, you will see that her pupils dilate almost immediately to the point that her eyes look solid black instead of blue. We have long established that washing up promptly is a requirement- so she goes to the restroom without touching ANYTHING right away. While she is gone, we shake our heads at each other and laugh… it never fails to amaze us even though it happens every time.
For hours afterwards we suffer through the honey-high. She literally flies around and talks a mile a minute, waving her arms around. She’s quite animated and amusing to watch as long as you can keep her from crawling and/or hanging all over you as you stand. You tell yourself that NEXT week there should be no sopapillas. You are firm in this decision up until she finally stops moving/talking/whirling and crashes out in her bed…angelic calm across her face once again, and all traces of honey removed by her bath. And you forget all about the manic behavior since dinnertime and decide that she really is a good kid- what’s the harm in indulging her a little honey? Why, it’s nature’s candy, after all. Not one harmful additive or preservative included. Even nutritious on some level…I’m sure of it.