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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Swords Drawn—Don’t Eat those Cookies or Candy. They’re for Company

Yesterday we discussed serial killers and the Mueller Sword of Damocles suspended over Trump and his administration. Or not exactly. Spoiler alert if you’ve not read yesterday’s column.

The serial killer turned out to not be a serial killer since he’d only killed two people.  And, I did not discuss Trump. I just meandered into a discussion of fawning and faulty advisors and Trump’s troop sprang into my head unbidden.

But I’m back on track of talking about advisors and advice columnists, faulty and otherwise. As promised, I also will give this post a little holiday and end-of-year spin.

The columnist in our local paper, who shall remain nameless to protect her identity and also because the name she uses may be a pen name, recently addressed a complaint. 

The inquirer seeking advice said her husband eats all the festive, holiday candy she places in decorative candy dishes around her house. (I promised a holiday theme.) The husband’s gastronomic excesses occur even though he knows he isn't supposed to eat these candies.

The writer goes on to complain her husband’s decorative-candy eating occurs despite the fact she has provided him with volumes of healthy snacks in the pantry and freezer.

He eats all of that, as well as full meals, and also all of the potato chips in the house before she has a chance to have a few chips with her measly sandwich. Her husband swallows, practically unchewed, a whole can of nuts before she has a chance to think about eating a nut. And, to add insult to injury he eats all of this without gaining weight.

In response to the writer’s plea for advice on keeping her eating-machine of a husband to at least keep his grubby hands off the Christmas candy, the columnist suggests the writer display decorative candy made of glass.

What a great idea. This strategy should certainly discourage her husband from eating the candy after that first bite. But while her husband’s bad Christmas-candy-eating habit is likely to be broken so are his teeth, all in one swell crack.

He might also be discouraged from eating anything for a while. On the downside, the savings in candy purchases could be offset by the dental bills.

Once again, though, the advice columnist fails to get the question right. What I hear the wife screaming between the lines of her letter is: “How can my husband eat all of the snacks in the pantry, the food in the freezer, every last chip and nut in the house, and then polish off all of the decorative candy--and not gain weight?

Sister, I hear you pain. As does any woman  who has watched her husband consume all manner and quantity of junk food and never seem to gain weight. While if she eats a tiny bite of brownie she gains 5 pounds overnight.

Among many other gender disparities in this world, the ability to eat whatever one wants and not gain weight, unfairly burdens the so-called fairer sex.

As far as I know, there is no cure for this or many other of life’s inherent inequities. That says nothing about the non-inherent inequities. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to even the playing field. But that’s for another day. 

For now, we’ll just try to solve the problem of keeping decorative sweets to offer company when your husband is an eating machine. I have learned a few tricks from my foremother and can offer solutions to this timeless question that do not involve glass candy.

First, wait to put the candy on display until just before the guests are to arrive. That means hide the treats until then. It gives errant husbands a much shorter span of time to run in and eat all the candy. It also gives the guests at least a fighting chance at the candy.

Or try the other “trick” my mother used. When I was a child my parents never kept candy or snacks in the house. With one exception. My mother kept one particular type of cookie in our pantry: “Windmill Cookies”, so-called because they looked like little windmills. And maybe also because they were as hard as the material used to make actual windmills.

Guests may have occasionally broken a tooth while trying to eat one. Sort of like trying to eat glass candy.  But technically they were edible and it was not such a litigious society back then. Our family members, on the other hand, never suffered a problem as we knew better than to try a windmill cookie —so no rush trips to the dentist for us.

I once asked my mother why she bought the windmill cookies, our family’s least favorite sweet. My mother's reply was edifying, "I buy them because no one will eat them. That way, I always have cookies to set out for company."

If your husband eats all the decorative, intended-only-for company candy, consider buying technically edible but disagreeable sweets. That way you always have some to put out. After the first bite even the guests likely will leave the candy alone.

But, now that folks are so much more inclined to run to the courthouse over small incidents, you might want to warn them about possible broken teeth. Or is that like the serial killer next door? Is it caveat emptor when it comes to killers and candy? Discuss and analyze amongst yourselves.

Here's hoping your “company” cookies and candy last well into the new year and that 2018 brings joy and blessings to you, dear reader, and all of God's creatures.



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