Crimes Against Nature and Traditionalism

Call me a traditionalist.

I don’t think anything goes into a bagel except dough and the occasional raisin. Especially chocolate chips. Ye Gods! Things can go on bagels, not in them. The list of things that I find “just fine the way they were and as God intended them to be” is longer than I care to go into here, but suffice to say that my traditionalism is the source of a certain degree of mockery and humor among my family, extended and immediate. One of my many sisters-in-law has likened me to the Grumpy Old Man character Dana Carvey played on Saturday Night Live many years ago. So be it.

Last week, I grabbed a piece of candy from the bowl established for that purpose in our office and snared one of my favorite treats, a Tootsie Pop. I walked away without looking at it, just putting it in my pocket for a late afternoon treat. And yes, I realize that there are few things more ridiculous looking than a middle-aged man sitting in his office with a lollipop in his mouth. I can accept that. My love for the Tootsie Pop makes me impervious to the criticism.

When the appointed hour for treats arrived, I retrieved the Tootsie Pop and was shocked, disappointed and confused.

A crime against nature. Artificially flavored with the "healthiest fruit" flavoring!

Pomegranate? What the hell is a Tootsie Pop doing with pomegranate flavoring?  It is only necessary for Tootsie Pops to come in four flavors: Cherry, Orange, Grape and Chocolate. That’s the way it has always been and the way God intended it to be. Amen.

Now, I understand that the pomegranate has become quite trendy and popular as a health food. I’ve seen it referred to as the ‘healthiest fruit”. My first encounter with pomegranate juice came when a guest at our house asked me for a vodka (or was it tequila?) with pomegranate juice; so probably not a healthy choice, but it was the start of a trend. This article talks of the identified benefits of eating pomegranates (anti-oxidants, lower LDL, etc.) and even details the ways to eat your pomegranates. Nowhere on this list of ways to eat your pomegranate does it mention getting your pomegranate intake from candy on a stick with a chocolate Tootsie Roll center!

And, of course, it’s not even “real” pomegranate flavoring. I’ll take my artificial flavorings the only way they should be offered: in artificial cherry, artificial orange, artificial grape and artificial chocolate, thank you very much.

Further investigation reveals that the fine folks at Tootsie Roll are making Pops with artificial green apple and artificial banana flavors, too. Oh, the humanity! Now I’ll have to closely investigate every time I grab one because the odds of coming up with some heretic flavor is much higher than I had previously calculated.

On those occasions when I buy jelly beans for the office candy dish, I attempt to buy the bag with the fewest black beans. Can’t stand ’em. Thankfully, the candy industry has begun to accommodate those of us with sophisticated palettes by selling bags without any black jelly beans in them right next to bags of exclusively black jelly beans. One of life’s little pleasures, to be sure. The Tootsie Pop people would be wise to take a page from this book and segregate their real artificial flavors from the trendy, kids-don’t-know-squat flavors.

Here endeth the rant.

(And, no, I don’t feel better now, because I got cheated out of my Tootsie Pop fix!)

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