Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long
-- Jackson Browne, 1972
I think my local newspaper has lost its mind. Dropped off its rocker. Fallen and can't get up. I seriously question the sanity of whoever is now in charge of the food section.
Let me begin by saying, in all seriousness, that the San Jose Mercury News gave me my first break in the food writing world. It published my first two food articles ever, and for that I will always be grateful.
And the economy is terrible. And the newspaper industry is suffering. And the Merc is really, really suffering, particularly the now bare-bones Food section which is pulling nearly all its content off the wire services. I know they're looking for a new writer, and I hope they find him or her soon. Very, very, very soon. Actually sooner, if yesterday's Food section is any indication of where things are headed. (I responded to an ad saying I'd be happy to contribute freelance content, but I'm not expecting many calls after this blog post.)
Which brings me to Marshmallow Fluff.
The top-of-the-fold headline of yesterday's Food section blares: "Lunch lessons" and then "What will get your kid excited about the brown bag? Ask a squirrel." Okay, fine, so it's another article about how to jazz up kids' lunches. Anyone who has read a food magazine, newspaper, or foodie website (including this one) knows that school lunches are a hot topic in early September. The focus is generally on how we can make kids' lunches more creative and more healthful -- by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (See last week's article in the SF Chronicle.)
So, yesterday's article offered 8 ideas for getting creative with peanut butter.
Here's 1 of my 2 favorite recipes:
Fluffy: Mix 1/4 cup each of marshmallow fluff and creamy peanut butter with 1 tablespoon corn syrup. Spread on mini-pitas, top with strawberry pieces. Makes 8 mini-pitas.
Wow, I mean, where do I begin with this? Let me say I've eaten a few Fluffernutter sandwiches in my time (back in the 80s), and all my memories are good. But never in my wildest dreams, in my richest, most preposterous fantasies, did it occur to me to add corn syrup to a Fluffernutter sandwich. Here's what's in Fluff already: corn syrup, sugar syrup, vanilla flavor, egg white.
Oh, well, I could see why it might not be sweet enough.
My second favorite recipe suggestion is this:
Indulgent: Melt 2 tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips and stir into an ounce of cream cheese and 1/4 cup peanut butter. Pair with all-fruit spread (try black cherry) on bagels. Serves 4.
SO, let's see, we need cream cheese, and peanut butter, and melted chocolate chips, and, just to make sure it's sweet enough since melted chocolate can be kind of, I don't know, ascetic, some fruit spread. In other words, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with cream cheese and melted chocolate. For your kid's lunchbox.
Here's my question: If you give your kids the Fluffy on Monday and the Indulgent on Tuesday, what are you going to send on Wednesday? A box of sugar cubes with melted chocolate dipping sauce and a sippy cup of corn syrup?