I am currently visiting the lovely United States of America. Actually, I am in Washington DC, so *technically* not a state. Also it’s cold and damp and hideous out, so ‘lovely’ may be an overstatement.
…where was I? Oh! America. Right.
Every time I visit, I am wonderstruck by the crushing, massive variety of packaged foods. For example: in Canada, you can get like 4 kinds of Oreos, And the occasional special edition. Here, there are about 16. And that’s just Oreos.
As a girl with poor impulse control, a sweet tooth, and an irresistible drive toward novelty, this leads to an interesting phenomenon every time I visit: I turn from a hunter into a gatherer.
At home I don’t buy much junk food, because I know I have “no off switch” (as my dad says). When I crave something sweet – like sour keys, or that awesome Dairy Milk chocolate with the salted peanuts – I go out specifically to get it. I hunt that thing down. And then I eat it.
But when I’m here, I’m so overwhelmed by the deluge of choice, the glorious rush of snacking in the land of the free, that I throw things into my cart with frenzied abandon. Pizza-flavoured corn chips stuffed with string cheese? Yeahhh! Watermelon-peach fizzing candy corn? Throw it on the pile!
Never mind that I don’t like pizza flavoured things. Or corn chips. Or artificial watermelon flavour (which basically tastes like leprechaun bile. I’m guessing.) These sprees are ungoverned by logic. All I know is there are 32 kinds of frozen greek yogourt in front of me and I MUST TRY EVERY ONE OF THEM.
Gather them, if you will.
And this staggering variety of heart-stopping options, I suspect, is one of the reasons America is fatter than Canada, even though by most measures of cultural habits we should be equally portly. I have some good reasons for thinking this, which I will share in tomorrow’s post (because this one is already too long and my attention span is short).
*Image adapted from this excellent pic by Arno Meintjes. (Creative Commons license here.)