Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Admitting that you have a problem

The first step is to admit that you have a problem.

We got a call from Pepperidge Farms the other day. They wanted to offer us payroll deduction, in order to simplify our monthly Goldfish bill and consolidate our baked snack expenditures.

It started out innocently, as I’m sure all addictions do. It was time for Z’s dinner, but I didn’t have anything ready yet. But he was hungry, so I put him in the chair and tossed him a couple of Goldfish to keep him happy. I didn’t even know where they had come from... M. had picked them up at one of her twice-a-day stops at Target. So I toss him a couple or three... and I casually pop one into my mouth. Then I open the fridge, dig around for some soup or pasta or something for Z. ... and I unconsciously reach again for the Goldfish. I’m mashing Z’s dinner with the avocado masher... and I take another handful. Z’s a big agitated because I’m taking so long, so I toss him a couple more... and it’s one for him, two for me, another for him, another handful for me. The next thing I know, in between giving Z. spoonfuls of his dinner, I’m tipping up a now-empty bag of baked Cheddar heaven to my mouth and inhaling the last few crumbs.

And like all addicts, I tell myself, no one else saw me, it was just this once, and I’ll never do it again.

And then M. comes home with a bag of the Goldfish with the little fishy pretzels mixed in.

Same story: casual snacking while feeding Zebb turns into me cannonballing a whole bag of crackers.

Now it’s my turn to get groceries, and I’m walking down an aisle that before now I didn’t even know existed. I vaguely remember the concept of the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snack cracker, but I hadn’t bought a bag in twenty years. Turns out they come in every flavor under the sun: cheddar, parmesan, pretzel, whole grain, toasted corn, and mixed bags. They come in the traditional size and itty bitty baby-sized crackers, and starfish as well. And don’t even get me started on graham and chocolate.

At first it was my shameful little secret, chowing down on Goldfish when no one but Z was looking. But like all junkies, at some point I stopped caring who saw me. I’m making Z’s dinner, and I have a ramikan of Goldfish next to me. I’m making our dinner, and I’m taking them by the handful right out of the bag. I’m at school, and I have a ziplock bag of them on my desk. I’m driving to get Z from daycare and I have a little cup of them in the holder that before now has only ever seen coffee.

I’ve convinced myself that I’m not a Goldfish junkie but a Goldfish connoisseur. I mix cheddar and pretzel Goldfish with pistachios and tell myself I just invented something. Instead of saltines or oyster crackers, Goldfish are in my chicken soup. Crushed Goldfish replace breadcrumbs as a dusting for baked zucchini. The options are endless...

And like most junkies, I’m taking down the people around me. When I hand M. her packed lunch, she asks, “Did I get some Goldfish?” The dogs hover around Z’s highchair waiting for him to drop one, and then they pounce like sharks in chummed water. Even the finicky cats are in on it. I watched Fatty find one of Z’s discards, polish it off with a couple of bites, and then sit there and lick the cheddar powder off of the floor.

Step one is admitting that you have a problem. If anyone knows of a good support group, please let me know.

Next week: Rediscovering graham crackers

1 comment:

muddywaters said...

What's really sad about this is that you're dragging the dogs into the Pepperidge Farm abyss with you.

At Costco they used to sell these gargantuan bags of gold fish snacks. If you get hard up for money, I think Wal-Mart has a knockoff of the gold fish snacks. When you start buying those, then you have a problem.

In one of my classes last year, the kids wrote a comparison paper. Someone compared Pepperidge Farm Gold Fish snacks to the Wal-Mart brand. If I remember correctly, Wal-Mart's snacks only had the cheesey powder on one side of the cracker. It was quite strange.

I can't believe I've spent this much time writing about Gold Fish crackers. You're dragging me into the abyss.