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Little Spouse On The Prairie: The Cupboard Is Bare

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The cupboards are generally bare at my house.  I’ll buy a delectable snack and stash it for a future treat.  Then, quite sometime later (like at least 15 minutes), I will go to retrieve the snack.  Imagine my utter desolation when I find my hoarded treat has been nicked.

I swear -- my kids have a built-in radar for sugar.  It’s my own fault: I should have eaten it right away, instead of waiting so long.  As the kids have gotten older and taller and hungrier, this problem has expanded.  But, I’m thrilled to report, after a series of failed experimental solutions, I have solved the problem - if not satisfactorily, at least passably.

Hiding food never works.  When I hide my stash on a shelf the kids can’t reach, they climb up the side of the cabinet, typically breaking off a few knobs, a.k.a. footholds, in the process. When I conceal my stash in an opaque container, like an oatmeal canister, I am even more bitterly disappointed when I can’t remember where I’ve hidden it.  Worse yet is when, deep in the recesses of my aging brain, I suspect I may have eaten the item myself and simply repressed the memory.  What a bitter disappointment: to have given in to carnal enjoyment and forgotten the pleasures.

No, my solution has nothing to do with hiding food.  I have simply learned to start liking snacks that the kids hate.  A friend of mine alerted me to this brilliant plan.  She had despised coconut as a child.  Now that she has kids of her own, her favorite candies are Mounds and Almond Joy.

She discovered her newfound preference for coconut when foods containing it were regularly the only items left in the pantry.

And, truly, she realized her disdain for coconut was completely misplaced. One cold, cheerless night, after finishing up that last load of laundry at 11:45 p.m., she broke down and started in on the Mounds, and she had a genuine epiphany.  And she knows the breakthrough has nothing to do with the half a bottle of cooking wine she also consumed.  How does she know?  She still loves Mounds and Almond Joy, no matter what kind of alcohol she consumes with them.

I recently learned that as we age, all five senses decline, including taste.  Apparently, when we are born, we have thousands upon thousands of taste buds virtually coating the insides of our mouths.  As we age, those taste buds decrease, which explains why food we didn’t like as children become more palatable later.  This mass extinction of taste buds accelerates especially fast between the ages of 40 and 50.  Since my taste buds are dying off anyway, I can solve the issue of my children stealing my food by buying snacks they do not like.

I’ll start with nuts.  My son Dashiell has a deadly nut allergy.  That ought to keep him out of my snacks. Bring on the maple nut goodies and Payday.  Caramel corn sometimes has nuts too, and if it doesn’t, I’ll lie and say it does.  I’ll stop short of using the Epi-pen if he steals any.  Another sure bet: black licorice.  Black jelly beans are Good & Plenty for me.  I’ll definitely include my friend’s coconut suggestions. If I didn’t hate coffee, I’d buy mocha flavored treats. In a pinch, though, I’m sure I could manage. Better than the dry elbow macaroni I resorted to last time I needed a nosh.

I wish I liked pickled eggs, oysters and sardines.  I am going to have to wait until a few more of my taste buds bite the dust before I go that far.  Right now, I really would rather “bite dust” than eat those.

I’ll stock the fridge with cottage cheese, olives, okra, and Spam.  Well, maybe not Spam.

This is the solution I’ve been looking for.  I mean, a person can only open the fridge so many times before she is forced to grab a tub of margarine and start putting it on stale saltine crackers. Now, if only I could find a snack Joel doesn’t like . . .

Follow Little Spouse at facebook.com/littlespouseontheprairie or on Twitter at SpouseOnThePrairie@ValerieKuchera.  Have a great week!