Sunday, August 29, 2010

Supplies Are Limited

We’ve run out of Tastykakes.

Whenever we head out east we always try to stock up on delicacies unavailable here in the nation’s tender midsection. Everywhere you go, every place you go, there are different foods than you can get elsewhere and part of the fun of traveling is finding and eating them, and then bringing them back with you. This is especially true when you are, as I was, revisiting the comfort foods of your childhood.

Of course children are not really all that interested in delicacies, and I’ve never really grown into them either. So the things I go back for and the things I bring back with? Not the sorts of things you’ll find at the upper end of the food snob continuum, is all I’ll say about that.

Tastykakes, for example.

Tastykakes are what Hostess cakes want to be. They come in a variety of shapes and flavors, ranging from the mundane but still somehow unique Butterscotch Krimpets to the absurdly delicious Peanut Butter Kandykakes (yes, they have a fixation on the letter “k” for some reason – you stop noticing after a while) to donuts, cupcakes and an array of pies. They aren’t wrapped in wax paper the way they used to be, but they’re still great.

Now that Tabitha can eat peanuts again we always make a point of eating them while back east and then stocking up on them as we’re leaving to go home. There’s a convenience store on our way out to the highway where you can buy them by the box. It’s not easy to stuff them into the car with all the rest of the things we have in there, but we make room.

We also make a point of buying a pound or two of Cooper Sharp cheese while we’re there.

Cooper Sharp is what the inventors of American cheese were trying for – a mild sandwich cheese that actually has a flavor instead of just a texture. It won’t win any international awards in cheese contests (surely they have international cheese contests – they would be less ridiculous than Olympic ice dancing at least), but it does what a good cheese does and makes whatever you put it on taste better.

That is, if you can pry a slice away from its compatriots. Cooper Sharp is very cohesive that way.

The odd thing about Cooper Sharp is that as far as I am aware it is only available in the Philadelphia cultural region, which extends roughly sixty miles in any direction from the Liberty Bell. This is especially troubling as it is manufactured right here in Wisconsin.

I live in Wisconsin, and yet I have to travel to Philadelphia to get this cheese. This is not efficient.

I’ve tried to get the various cheese-retailing establishments in Our Little Town to remedy this situation, but so far without success. I am not yet discouraged – the local Wal-Mart occasionally carries Tastykakes, so anything is possible – but at the moment the Cooper Sharp supplies are running perilously low.

I’m sure this is how the Donner Party started.


Unknown said...

I'll be in the Baltimore area in two or so weeks. Can I get TastyKakes there?

When I travel alone to the States, Issam doesn't let me back into the Paris apartment without a decent supply of peanut butter. He doesn't have to open the suitcase to check if it's there... the weight says it all.

David said...

I don't know about Baltimore. If anyone out there does, please let us know.

And I can understand about wanting real peanut butter - European peanut butter is an albino peacock. It sort of misses the point.