Friday, February 27, 2009
While driving along a twisty rural road yesterday, my friend Janna and I were nearly in a very messy accident. At the bottom of a dip we hit black ice and started to fishtail. I was too fascinated to scream, watching the action movie unspool on the other side of the windshield. We spun from one shoulder to the other at least 5 times, with Janna skillfully avoiding numerous posts and trees before finally muscling the car off onto a flat patch of grass. We sat there a few seconds, both holding our breath, until another driver who'd seen the whole thing from a safe distance pulled up and mouthed, "Are you OK?" through her window. We gave her a synchronized thumbs up and started to breathe again.
When we got home safely later that evening I walked up to the convenience store and bought a Butterscotch Krimpet from the Tasty Baking Co., a Philly-based commercial bakery. I first learned about Tastykakes from mystery writer Janet Evanovich's series about bumbling 30-something Jersey Girl detective, Stephanie Plum. Stephanie has the kind of diet only feasible in fiction (or Jersey?), subsisting on pizza, meatballs, peanut butter, and pie, with the occasional Butterscotch Krimpet thrown in for fiber.
There are more than a dozen installments in the Stephanie Plum series, and I'd hungrily devoured each one up until about number 9 or 10, when the author and I seemed to tire of the series simultaneously. I still hankered for a Krimpet, though, imagining it to be just as insubstantial, fresh, and enjoyable as books 1 though 3.
I tore my Krimpet open on the bus back to Manhattan, crossing over a section of New Jersey lacking in any contour or local color. The butterscotch aroma hit me like kiddie perfume at a birthday party, but the icing tasted of sugar alone and chewed like uncured tile grout; the cake appeared to be recycled carseat foam. I ate one of the three perforated sections and left the rest in the wrapper. While I'm a big fan of cheap pleasures and no fan at all of wasting food, the shorter life gets the less reason I see to choke anything down. I know I have to die someday, but I'd rather it not be with faux butterscotch on my breath.
On the plus side, "Oh, krimpet!" is my new G-rated expletive of choice.