Tuesday, March 3
Jelly beans have been one of my favorite treats since I was a tiny child. Maybe because candy was seasonal in our house, present only at Halloween, Christmas and Easter.
Even as an adult, I couldn't wait for bags of jelly beans to be stocked in the grocery store. I'm not a jelly bean snob, but do like Russell Stovers the best. They're made with fruit pectin which gives them a sour kick to go along with the sugary sweet coating.
Last night I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items and found myself on the "everything you need to build an Easter basket" aisle. On the top shelf I spied the familiar pink bag of Brach's jelly beans. Not having had any for quite a while, I bought a bag and was soon ripping it open in the parking lot. My memory was that each color had a distinct flavor and recalled trading the dreaded black jelly bean for my sister's pink ones, luckily she likes licorice.
As I began to chew, anticipating a flavor explosion and rush of happy childhood memories, the saying "you can't go home again" popped into my head. They didn't taste very good, in fact all I could taste was sugar. Thinking maybe I'd gotten a dud, I tried a few more with the same results.
Very few things I put in my mouth taste the same as they did a few years ago. You see, I lost my sense of smell which has affected my sense of taste. So I guess I'll cross jelly beans off the list, which never seems to stop growing.
For someone like me, who had often found solace in food and elevated cooking and eating to a sensual experience, loosing ones sense of smell and taste is a body blow. It took me a while to see the silver lining, which is the realization that food is not love and food is not my friend. Simply put, food is fuel.
This morning, the opened bag of jelly beans slumped on the kitchen counter where I'd left them. I tried one more in the faint hope that flavor (and memory) had seeped in overnight.
Nope and that makes me a little sad.