Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thanks Brett

Last February my friend Brett spent a couple of evenings with us when he came to Costa Rica for a visit. He brought these excellent gourmet white chocolate covered berry-flavored craisin things. And be brought a little box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

Now, I'm looking forward to Harry Potter. Everybody loves it so much, I figure we will too, when the kids get a little older. Harry is a young magician/warlock who is studying his craft at, I believe, a boarding school for witches. I'm sure we'll be able to give you the whole story in a few years.

Apparently, in the story, Harry et al enjoy these Every Flavor Beans.
Apparently, Jelly Belly knows a merchandising opportunity when it sees one.
Apparently, Bertie Bott (or JK Rowling) has an active imagination.

Along with your standard Jelly Belly flavors like Cinnamon, Banana, Buttered Popcorn and Toasted have your specially crafted Harry Potter flavors: Black Pepper, Sardine, Spinach, Grass, Dirt, Ear Wax, Booger and, yes, Vomit. (Just imagine the R&D...)

As anyone who knows Jelly Belly knows, the company's reputation revolves largely around bold, realistic flavors. I saved them for a long time.

But today I've had my credit card rejected for a big-ticket item purchased on eBay. I've been on international phone calls with the bank (which solved my problem) and the IRS (which put me in my place). I received a translation I wasn't expecting till the weekend and, if you haven't yet, see below for a glimpse of this morning's before-school fun & games.

I guess I was just ready for something completely different. Or maybe I figured at least it wouldn't ruin a perfectly good day. Or maybe it's just that translating always gives me the munchies.

I'm not sure I would have done it if Jelly Bellys didn't come with a legend printed on the box. If you sort carefully, you usually know what you're in for - or can at least narrow it down to two possible flavors.

For the geeks among us: The novelty flavors accounted for 40% of the total (8 out of 20 possible flavors), but 54% of the actual beans (25 out of 46) were...novel. I didn't get any Ear Wax, but there was at least one of every other specialty flavor. I only got two beans wrong when I sorted them, and everything I identified as normal was, in fact, normal. (Two of the supposed Dirts turned out to be Grape Jelly).

I started with Grass, figuring it would be the least objectionable. It was, in fact, so mild (or deteriorated...they've been in my drawer since February after all) that I couldn't really identify any flavor at all. So I moved up to Dirt. That was no baby step, let me tell you. It tasted like dirt. No, really. Totally like dirt. Like I could actually feel the grit between my teeth. Like I'm no wimp but I figured, Maybe I don't have to eat ALL of these.

So I moved on to Spinach. Yup, tasted like spinach but, you know what? Not really in a good way. Looking for a milder flavor, I went for Booger. Hmm, mostly sweet, not much Nelly - yep, that's pretty much what a booger tastes like (or did when I was four). And by the time it kicks in you've chewed it a bit and the consistency is right there along with it.

Okay, so now I'm committed - on to the Black Pepper. Very realistic. Sardine. Now that's disgusting. If I had been near a suitable receptacle, I might have spit that one out.

So, my friends, here's what I did. I decided not to try the Vomit. I decided to pitch it. I made an informed decision to wimp out. I'm a grownup; I'm not going to impress anybody by eating vomit flavored candy.

But then. Ah, then. I realized. I have access to people who will eat -or anyway want- anything with enough sugar and Red #4. Small people. Who might even deserve it.

"You didn't," you say. Oh, but I did. And you know you would have done the same thing.

I carefully divided up the remaining beans into equal portions, with a separate pile for any flavors not divisible by two. (It may taste like vomit, but heaven help us if anyone gets more of it than anyone else.)

Hey kids, come here a minute. You want to try these?

Me: Here, try this one. How is it?
R: Good.
J: Good!
Me: What does it taste like?
R: Umm, like tree branches?
Me: Like Boogers!
R: Really? I never tried boogers.
[So you have tried tree branches?]
Me: Here, have another.
R: Okay.

Me: What about this one?
R: What does it taste like?
Me: Try it and see. [...] How is it?
R: Fine. It tastes like sea water.
J: I like it. Can I have another one?
Me: There's one left. You guys can split it.
R/J: Okay!

Me: Here's one. Do you like it?
J: Mmm, I do like it.
Me: It's spinach.
R: It does taste like spinach. It's good

Me: Okay, are you ready for the last one?
R/J: Yeah!!
Me: Here you go.
[Uncertain faces]
Me: Is it good?
R: I don't know what it's supposed to be.
Me: It's supposed to taste like throw-up.
R: [Grimace] It does taste like throw-up.
J: [Grin] Eeeew!
R: [Miserable face]
Me: You don't have to eat it. You can throw it away if you want to.
R: Okay [Turns]
J: No wait a minute, Robin. I'll eat it.

[15 minutes later]

J: Mommy, does the man who bringed those things have a girl or a boy? Does he have children?
Me: No, he doesn't.
R: But he likes children, right?


Lisa August 26, 2005 9:21 AM  

I would have been so disappointed if you had thrown out the vomit. I mean, not even a nibble? But really, it sounds like you made the right decision.

Sandy September 01, 2005 8:31 PM  

Jen, my husband says you are a woman after his own heart!!! He's all for giving kids experiences to remember. Some people call it cruelty but they don't have kids, right?

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