Posts Tagged With: M&M’s

Everyday Earth Days

Did you do anything special in honor of Earth Day this week? I didn’t, really, unless you count having leftovers for lunch.

I never even thought of this habit as environmentally friendly, until after lunch when I heard a radio interview about wasting food. So now I can pat myself on the back for avoiding food waste, when all this time I thought I was merely avoiding cooking. I can even feel proud of my extra commitment to saving energy. Not only do I practice efficiency by cooking once and eating twice (or three times or sometimes even four), but sometimes I save even more energy by refrigerating, microwaving, and eating the leftovers in the same bowl.

Overall, I do live a fairly “green” lifestyle. Almost every week, for example, I dutifully haul my reusable bags off to the grocery store. And at least, oh, half the time, I even remember to take them into the store with me instead of realizing when I get to the checkout that the bags are still in the back seat of the car.

I don’t buy snacks in single-serving packages. You can’t imagine how eco-friendly and virtuous it feels to buy M&M’s by the large 12-ounce bag instead of in those plastic-wasting little bags.

I don’t pollute the environment with toxic cleaning products, because I hardly ever do any cleaning. And when I do, I generally use plain water, because either I can’t find any cleaning products, I’ve forgotten to buy cleaning products, or it’s been so long since I did any cleaning that the cleaning products in the cupboard have all evaporated.

I don’t waste resources on lawn care. First of all, I generally don’t apply fertilizers and weed-killers. Second, I do very little watering. This approach not only conserves water and keeps potentially harmful chemicals out of the environment, it also means the grass doesn’t grow very well. As a result, I save even more energy (my own and the planet’s) because I only need to mow the yard about once a month.

I don’t buy bottled water. With rare exceptions; I have to admit we did buy a case of 24 bottles back in February. We were traveling, forgot to fill our reusable water bottles, and stopped at a store to buy a gallon. We found that a) they didn’t have water by the gallon and b) buying the 24 bottles on sale was by far the cheapest option unless we wanted to consider getting lite beer. I’ve felt guilty ever since we walked out of the store with them. This week, thank goodness, we used the last bottle. It was a weight off my environmentally-conscious conscience.

And that reminds me of an environmental irony I noticed recently. That icon of green living, a little hybrid car, was parked in front of an office building. The back cargo area was filled with cases of bottled water.

I bet there was a single-serving bag of M&M’s in the glove compartment, too.

Categories: Food and Drink, Living Consciously | Tags: , | 2 Comments

I Could Quit Any Time

They’re everywhere this time of year. Christmas cookies. Pie. Hot cocoa. Gift boxes of chocolates. Stockings full of sweets.

And one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight.

Irony? Coincidence? Or cause and effect? Regardless, it’s a good thing we have that week between Christmas and New Year’s to get everything eaten.

Some of us (naming no names, but you know who I am) don’t do any holiday baking. We have two options: to rely on the kindness of more culinarily ambitious friends and family members, or to buy our own goodies.

Theoretically, I suppose, there is a third choice—to go without—but that’s merely an absurd technicality.

Fortunately, when one has a reputation as a chocolate addict, friends and family can generally be counted on for gifts of one’s substance of choice. Being seen as a chocoholic is especially useful this time of year.

However, in my case, that reputation is totally undeserved.

Oh, I love chocolate. Dark chocolate, especially. I eat some almost every day. I make sure to keep a stash of the stuff. But I am not an addict.

Here’s my supporting evidence:

• This Christmas, freely and with a glad heart, I sent a bag of dark chocolate M&M’s to a family member even though I originally bought it for myself. (Yes, I bought myself another bag the next day; why would you ask?)

• A few years ago I spent several weeks in a foreign country at a geology field camp. I hardly had any chocolate the whole time, and I didn’t suffer a single pang of withdrawal. In fact, I barely noticed. By now I’ve practically forgotten all about it.

• Not all chocolate is created equal; I have standards. A Tootsie Roll (it’s a texture thing) could stay uneaten on my kitchen counter for years. S’mores are way too sweet and gooey. Chocolate ice cream is too much chocolate; vanilla with chocolate syrup is much better. Chocolate Nutella is simply disgusting. And there are some places chocolate simply does not belong, such as pecan pie, animal crackers, and baklava.

• I don’t snitch other people’s chocolate. Your stash is perfectly safe with me.

• Nor do I eat chocolate chips that are in the cupboard for the purpose of making chocolate chip cookies. Of course, I did figure out several years ago that, if one buys chocolate chips for the express purpose of eating them, that’s perfectly acceptable.

• Nearly every day, after lunch, I eat a small amount of chocolate. Then I’m done. No going back for more, no emptying the bag, no sneaking just one more piece. Enough is enough. Really.

When you look objectively at the evidence, it’s obvious. I am not an addict. I could quit eating chocolate any time I wanted to.

I’ve just never seen any reason to want to.

Categories: Food and Drink | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Curious Case of the Sorted M&M’s

Is sorting M&M’s by color before you eat them an endearing little quirk, a sign of artistic awareness, or just a teeny bit compulsive?

I don’t know. It’s just the way I eat my M&M’s. I never stopped to think about it until recently, when we were traveling and listened to the audio version of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The narrator of the story is 15-year-old Christopher Boone, who has what is presumably a form of autism. His favorite author is Sherlock Holmes, so when he finds the body of his neighbor’s murdered dog, he decides to investigate. His detective work uncovers much more about his own life than it does about the dog.

The book was a fascinating glimpse of life from the perspective of someone who thinks very differently from what most of us probably consider “normal.” One of the side effects of it, though, was to make me start wondering about some of my own behavior.

Like taking eggs out of the carton so as to leave a symmetrical pattern, rather than just grabbing a couple. I might start, for example, by taking the eggs out of the top left and bottom right corners. Then maybe I’ll take the next two from the right side of the second row and the left side of the next to the last row. This, by the way, is much easier to do with a carton of 18 than a carton of 12. I prefer to think of it as artistic rather than autistic. You may have your own opinion.

Or sorting M&M’s by color. Of course it’s silly. They all taste the same. But I don’t care for green, so I always eat the green ones first in order to get rid of them. Next to go is usually orange, followed in order by blue and brown. I save either yellow or red for last, depending on which color most appeals to me that day and also the assortment of colors in a particular handful. (Not every bag of M&M’s has the same number of each color. People who don’t sort their M&M’s by color may not know this.)

Then there is that thing I sometimes do when I’m walking on a sidewalk, counting steps and noticing the pattern of how often I step on a crack with my right foot and then my left. One might think of it as obsessive, I suppose. Or one might think of it as a way of exercising one’s brain as well as one’s body. Or maybe it’s merely marching to the beat of a different drummer.

I also keep the stuff in my purse in specific places—my cell phone is this pocket, my wallet in that section, my keys in that little pocket with the zipper. This, I maintain, is simple utility. It’s much easier to find my keys or my sunglasses when I know which pocket to reach for. And, in my defense, I have never lost a set of keys or my wallet. Though I do occasionally misplace my purse.

Worrying about whether your behaviors are compulsive is probably a bit, well, compulsive. Thinking about the different ways our brains work, on the other hand, is merely fascinating.

But I dare you to tell me that, the next time you get eggs out of the carton, you don’t at least think about the pattern you’ve just made. And the next time you have a handful of M&M’s, I bet you’ll pay more attention to the colors.

Categories: Living Consciously, Odds and Ends | Tags: | 6 Comments

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