It took some time to gather enough “snippets” worthy of a post. Quarantine is like that sometimes, I suppose.
One day is like, “Man, all the weeks have blended together. What day is it — Monday or Saturday? Oh, it’s Thursday. And what year is it again?”
And then other days are like: “You’ll never guess what happened today: I saw a dog!”
Anyway, without further ado…
Last week started out particularly strong when I got the brilliant idea of making myself a “Blink 180 Tuesday” playlist for my Tuesday run. Blink 180 Tuesday is arguably my favorite party theme. It’s not that I was necessarily a huge Blink fan back in the day, but 14-year-old me (and current me, honestly) certainly raged to plenty of Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Panic! At the Disco, All-American Rejects, All Time Low, etc. Listening to that music not only is sentimental, it actually really resonates during this angsty time we’re in. After all, it’s not that strange for quarantine to leave you trapped in your room singing, “I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare,” and, “I’m in too deep and I’m trying to keep up above in my head instead of going under” … you know?
To boost departmental morale, one of my co-workers has been doing “Spotlights” of each member of our team. The spotlights include your favorite movie and TV shows, favorite recipe, favorite card game, and so on, including favorite beer. The spotlight was on my co-worker Sam one day, and his favorite beer? Genesee.
Naturally, I had to call him out on this one on the group Slack channel. Like, really? Genesee? Come on.
Sam personally Slacked me, saying, “Not sure if I’ve shown you this yet. But this is why it is my favorite.”
Initially, I was like, yeah, it’s a wholesome commercial. I kind of get it. But then it escalated. Sam goes, “The guy is my dad.”
I flipped out momentarily, then of course got cynical and pushed back, asking him if he was pulling my leg, if he was a liar. His response: “I mean, you don’t ever really know when someone is lying.”
I reopened the video and discovered that Sam was the one who posted it on YouTube three years ago, and decided it would be a very elaborate lie to make.
I returned to the group Slack channel. “I take it back.”
Anyone who knows me understands how seriously I take cereal. I cannot be rushed in the cereal aisle. I sometimes become paralyzed by all of the options, fraught with indecision. And part of that indecision stems from those really out there cereals. You know what I’m talking about — “French Toast Crunch,” “Honey Nut Frosted Flakes,” “Blueberry Cheerios.” The cereals that are intriguing, but do you want to commit to a whole box? Why can’t there be sampler boxes? Why would cereal producers do this to me?
One cereal that’s caught my eye every time I’ve perused the cereal selection at CVS is a new Eggo waffle cereal. There’s a back-story to why this cereal is particularly intriguing to me. You see, from about 1996 to 2014, I would say my family was the sole economic driver keeping Eggo waffles in business. Basically, once my siblings and I had teeth, we were eating Eggo waffles. In fact, my brother, three years older than I, proclaimed when I was a baby, “When Sarah grows teeth, I’m gonna teach her how to eat waffles.” I’m not kidding.
As we got older, we started to develop preferences for particular Eggos over others. Homestyle versus buttermilk. Chocolate chip versus blueberry. Mini plain Eggos versus French toast Eggos. We even lived through weird Eggo phases, such as the “Froot Loops” Eggo era. On more than one occasion, I called my mom out on trying to sneak whole wheat Eggos in with our plain Eggos. Eggos were such a central part of our lives that it is nearly impossible for me to think of a school day (I’m talking every day from the age of four to 15 years old) that I didn’t have two to four Eggo waffles that were buttered, syrup, and cut up by my father.
At around age 7, I think I had a mini panic attack when I realized I didn’t know how to cut my waffles. Mid-Eggo bite, I suddenly envisioned myself at my age now, all grown up, incapable of cutting my own waffles. I resolved then that I’d have to live close by to my dad forever, because I’d need to call him over to my house every morning to cut my waffles.
Eight years later, then a freshman in high school, it occurred to me that it was rather odd that at 15 years old, my dad was still fully preparing me Eggo waffles every morning — butter, syrup, cutting, and all. I told him so, asking if I should really be handling breakfast myself. He replied, in an injured tone, “But I like doing it.”
Long story short, Eggo has a real hold on our hearts, and so an Eggo cereal would naturally call my attention. But still, I worried: what if the Eggo cereal wasn’t good? It could ruin my family’s relationship with the brand. I wasn’t sure if it was worth the risk or investment of $3.99.
I was out on a long run last Friday, and during the last mile, I suddenly had a severe craving for Eggos, which hasn’t happened in years. But I knew there were none in the freezer. I ate a different breakfast, dejected. But my spirits lifted later that day, when my dad arrived with a CVS coupon: $1.00 off Eggo cereal. Expires in three days.
This was incredibly serendipitous. First off, I’m all about a deal; I get that from my dad. When it comes to CVS, he gets such great deals that sometimes it seems like CVS is paying him to shop there. Now we had a deal, I had a craving, and we had an excuse to take the risk.
Sunday, my dad arrived home with both the Eggo cereal and a box of homestyle Eggos, because of course you need both. Just opening the cereal box, you’re hit with a wave of maple syrup smell. And the cereal itself? Glorious. It’s like Honey Comb cereal (another staple during childhood, alongside Pops and Kix), but with an even better texture and maple-flavored.
We almost finished the box that day. We’ll be returning to CVS for the blueberry variety.
Today is my brother, Fletcher’s, 26th birthday. As terrifying as it is to have a brother in his “mid-20s,” knowing that I am right behind him, I’ve been focusing on more important matters: namely, his birthday cake.
Everyone deserves to have the exact cake they want on their birthday. Period. And for my brother, it started off as a no-nonsense Betty Crocker chocolate cake with Betty Crocker chocolate frosting. But then he got thinking … what about vanilla frosting. Or better yet: strawberry frosting?
Strawberry frosting may be controversial to some, but it’s a no-brainer to me and Fletch, once more for sentimental reasons. I have very distinct memories as a child riding in the car with him and my dad, us two in car seats in the back. Every time we drove to the village over, my brother and I could see the Dunkin’ Donuts on the left. Once Dunkin’ was in sight, it was all over:
“DAD! DAD! CAN WE PLEASEEE STOP AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS? CAN WE PLEASEEE STOP? I WANT A DONUT! PLEASE PLEASE!”
“No, no. Not this time! We can’t stop this time.”
As we continued to bellyache, my dad would approach the intersection beside the Dunkin’, and always seemingly at the last second, he’d veer into the parking lot or drive-thru and we’d cheer. And then the ritual: Dad would get a coffee coolatta, perhaps a glazed donut; I would get a chocolate cake donut; and my brother got a strawberry frosted donut with sprinkles.
From those early days, Fletch and I understood that strawberry frosting was a good and grand thing. Fletch has always been a strawberry guy, in fact — not only does he like strawberry frosting and ice cream, he even likes weird strawberry milk made by Nesquik.
When he initially proposed the strawberry frosting for the cake, he started backing out almost immediately. “I don’t know. Do people even like strawberry frosting? Because I don’t want to have a cake that no one will eat.” We all assured him that we loved strawberry frosting, and I even reminded him of those early Dunkin’ days. Satisfied, he called up his girlfriend, Amber, to tell her to pick up chocolate cake mix and strawberry frosting. “Strawberry? Really? Isn’t that sort of disgusting?”
We’re having vanilla frosting, which he (and all of us) is cool with, too.
Just a small query. Is there a Spanish equivalent for “hangry”? If there is not, I am petitioning that it be “enojambre.”
Recent realization: I have an absurd number of kitchen appliances for a person who has yet to even have a kitchen of her own. Yet I have amassed a Keurig, blender, spiralizer, instant pot, waffle iron, and panini press in just a matter of years. But I think it’s reasonable because I get so much joy out of them. I have honed panini-making to a craft; I spiralize zucchinis weekly. And don’t get me started on putting cinnamon rolls in the waffle iron. Life-changing. Really, any excuse to use a kitchen gadget is fine by me.