Tahlequah Daily Press

April 19, 2013

‘Devil’s food’: Nothing to do with chocolate cake

Managing Editor

TAHLEQUAH — I’m not one to advance conspiracy theories, but in recent years, I’ve become convinced that certain edible items have been infused with drugs to induce craving. Although some of these purported foodstuffs can be shoved down the gullet and digested in the gut, the byproduct of consumption is likely to eventually kill the consumer. You can eat them, and you desperately want to eat them, but you shouldn’t; you just can’t help yourself. Even the sight of your bloated belly and triple chins in the bedroom mirror can’t dissuade you from your mission to maraude and masticate.

Clearly, illicit substances have been added to these products to boost sales, keeping tycoon CEOs in their Rolls Royces and mansions, and geeky chemists in their state-of-the-art labs with a different designer pencil pouch for each day of the year. The companies profiting from the gluttony are likely in cahoots with the medical community, whose respective wallets grow fatter along with the waistlines of their patients. High cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and heart problems must be combated with drugs, keeping Big Pharma in the thick of the action.

Just about everyone in the upper 1 or 2 percent, and those who lick up the crumbs from their tables, is in on the action. In short, I think we can conclude it’s the work of the devil.

Forget “devil’s food cake”; that’s passe. I believe Oreos dipped in white fudge are the favorite snack of Old Slewfoot and his minions. Fortunately for my industrial-strength bathroom scales, these only hit the shelves around Christmas. These Oreos come in a generous-looking box, but when you rip into the cardboard, you’ll find three rows of white discs, four to a row, tucked into plastic trays that leave gaps between each cookie about as wide as the ones between track runners at the starting blocks. Even a modest snacker can inhale the entire meager contents in under 15 minutes.

I was trying to describe these cookies to a friend, and wound up comparing them to Girl Scout cookies. Not every Girl Scout cookie is of the devil, but I have strong suspicions about Samoas. When Eddie Glenn worked here, he would buy (or mooch) a dozen boxes or so each year, and then greedily graze through a box a day, always after making a snarky comment about how there was more air in the box than cookie. He never seemed to gain weight, though he may have had to take an extra insulin shot per box.

The devil, like any other CEO, rethinks his business strategy every so often. This explains why the “Ideal Cookie Bar” is no longer around. The confection still has its legions of fans; I noticed a Facebook page called “Bring Back the Ideal Cookie Bar.” I “liked” it immediately, despite the demonic connotations.

When I was a kid, Ideal bars were the cookies baked by the brimstone brotherhood. These were oblong sin-sticks with peanut-butter filling, surrounded by a crunchy coconut-ish cookie, dipped in milk chocolate. Occasionally, my mother would pilfer a few bucks from the grocery money and buy us kids a box for an after-school treat. We split the booty evenly among the three kids, and washed it down with a 16-ounce bottle of Dr Pepper. My mother would take three identical glasses and drop the same number of ice cubes into each one (the cubes had to be clones; any chipped ones were discarded). Then she’d line up the glasses and divide the soda precisely among them. All three kids had to approve the pour, which was eyeballed at table level to ensure exactitude.

Lucifer has his hand in the recipe arena as well, as evidenced by another treat for which hell hath plenty of fury: the so-called “Seven-Layer Magic Cookie Bar.” Though the toppings may vary, it’s essentially a layer of butter and graham cracker crumbs, drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, sprinkled with flavored chips (I use butterscotch and chocolate), topped with coconut and pecans, and baked for about 25 minutes. These things literally ooze with evil. A friend of my husband’s said he polished off an entire 13-by-9 pan of them in one evening, and felt the shame for days afterward. A friend of mine fared even worse: She gobbled down half a pan, and then vomited. They weren’t as appealing the second time around.

A couple of years ago, a new product that made its debut brazenly touted its Hades connections: Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos. These are not to be confused with  Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which are hot but don’t have much flavor. Even the lime variety can’t stack up to the toothsome jalapeño tidbits. It takes little effort to inhale an entire 7-ounce bag. These are a dieter’s worst nightmare, because while I can stop at “just one” of the fabled Lay’s potato chips, I fail miserably with the jalapeño Cheetos crunchlets.

I’m certain Lucy always has a side of chips with his sandwich, and tries mightily to promote this habit among hapless humans. My sister tells me the campaign has succeeded with my brother-in-law, who won’t eat a sandwich without crisps. Another chip hawker is the husband of our office manager, Teresa Gullett. This man drops off bags of the god-forsaken deep-fried spuds and leaves them up front where any suffering soul can get at them. Most are kettle chips, fried no doubt in a vessel manufactured in the ninth circle. I saw Everett leaving the building the other day and told him he was an evil man. He smiled slyly. I guess I should cross myself and thank the Lord that Everett hasn’t left behind any bags of the accursed Cheetos.

Chips, greasy hamburgers, cookies, cakes and candy – most of these belong on the list of iniquities, along with that apple crumb nightmare Teddye Snell brought into the office the other day, with its fiendish caramel sauce. But what about ice cream, you ask? I reply with a resounding “NO!” For one thing, I don’t think it would stand up to the environment of the factory. And for another, ice cream is available year-round, in low-fat varieties, and one brand or another is always on sale, so it will never be permanently banished from my menu. And I don’t know of any priest who would want to hear a confession from me three times a day.

Kim Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.