Friday, June 02, 2006

mamey is the new vanilla

The store across the street from me is no 99 Cents Only store—which will always be the holy grail of odd, off-brand products; where you can always be assured of finding Olympics-themed Lucky Charms years after Michelle Kwan has hung up her ice skates—but it still has some gems.

Yesterday I was tickled to discover that they sell dishwashing soap billed as “Non-Ultra Joy.” It’s just such an emotional roller coaster of a name. The “joy” holds so much promise, but it’s like Mr. Proctor and Mr. Gamble want to make sure you don’t get your hopes up too high. This product will bring you, at best, a medium amount of joy. A sort of “hey, there’s my missing sock!” kind of joy, not “oh my god, I think I’m in love!” joy.

But I wasn’t in the mood to do dishes anyway. I was in the market for something in the cool-summery-dessert family. I scanned the waist-high freezer case and grew vaguely annoyed. Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and Dreyer’s were all represented, but there were no low-fat options. Whenever I lament the unavailability of any consumer product, I always feel hyper-American. Three kinds of ice cream isn’t enough for me? When was the last time I lamented the lack of three political parties, huh? The abundance of fake choice distracts from the lack of real choice.

But before I get all Matrix, let me assure you that I did find a satisfactory dessert. A better than satisfactory dessert. If not for the lack of low-fat Cherry Garcia, I would never have met my new love, arroz con leche popsicles. They’re basically frozen rice pudding on a stick, which, if you’re familiar with my love of custardy desserts and flavors that make some people scrunch up their noses (closed-minded fools! But thank goodness for them, because that means more arroz con leche popsicles for me), you’ll know that this such an item fills all my wildest dessert fantasies. And it only has 4.5 grams of fat.

I also stocked up on popsicles in walnut, chicle, pepito con chile and something called “mamey,” which I just Googled, and which is apparently related to the mangosteen, which I’ve been known to eat pounds of at a time. I’m pretty sure my excitement over these popsicles makes me a flavor gentrifier: Plenty of Pickford Market shoppers have been rockin’ the mamey popsicle for years, I’m sure. Today I get all excited and blog about it. Tomorrow Starbucks is offering a mamey Frappuccino. It happened with lavender and green tea. (I mean, I’m not saying Starbucks reads my blog—but you know what I mean.)

But unlike other forms of gentrification, I think we all win here. The presence of a mamey Frappuccino doesn’t deny anyone’s access to a 50 cent mamey popsicle. Of course, actual mamey pickers will still get paid shit, and certain gentrifier types will complain that the mamey Frappuccino is totally not authentic, and certain other types will argue that we are in a post-authenticity era anyhow. And we’ll have this argument on sunny porches as frozen pink mamey juice drips down our chins.


Schrodinger's Kitten said...

walnut popsicles? Damn...invite me over, girl!

Cheryl said...

Come on over. We'll wash our popsicle sticks in Non-Ultra Joy and then build a tiny log cabin with them.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

Popsicle art is like crack to me. I can't get enough.

Tracy Lynn said...

I think I'm going to watch you guys from over here.

And I had to look up Mangosteen, having never heard of it before.

The Arroz con leche sounds awesome, though.

Cheryl said...

In AK's words, "Is that like a Jewish mango?"