My favorite part of Saturdays when I was a little kid was mid-afternoon when my mom would come in and make us take a break from our game of HiHo! Cherry-o (we weren't allowed to have Giga Pets or Tamagotchi's, therefore forced to cope with non-digital board games) so we could tell her what treat we wanted from Lin's Market Place where we did all of our grocery shopping. (To this day I still call all grocery bags "Lin's bags.")
From this I learned the irrefutable idea that there are certain foods in life that are in all ways unattainable unless purchased by your mother for you on special occasions.
Martinelli's was one of these treats.
We waited allll year long for that sweet one week time period in late December when we got to share a bottle of sparkling cider between the six of us, once on Christmas Eve and once on New Years Eve, drinking from little white teacups my brothers should be embarrassed about in retrospect. We lived for those toasts and that sweet liquid that tasted exactly like apple juice, except magic apple juice with fizz and happiness and rainbows and butterflies and a dash of chemical X.
It wasn't until my sophomore year of college (yes, college) when I had to stay and work over Christmas break (curse you Brick Oven Restaurant) and spend New Year's in Provo by myself, that I had a major coming-of-age experience. I was wandering through Smith's, alone on December 31st, wallowing in their terrible playlist that includes playing "Glory of Love" every third song (curse you Peter Cetera), when the thought occured to me: "I bet other stores besides Lin's Market Place carry Martinelli's Apple Cider." My first reaction was to find a mom, ANY mom, who could verify this statement for me and, if so, purchase me a bottle. But it was then that I realized, "I bet I could...buy...a bottle...myself."
You know that line in the song Amazing Grace that your grandma always gets super emotional on and it goes "was blind, but now I see"?
Yeah. Totally. I get it.
This was a whole new world for me. I bought, not one, but three bottles of Martinelli's and drank nearly two of them by myself that night during my lonely extended-version LOTR marathon I had with myself (who needs a new years kiss when you have 12 hours of Aragorn?) The next day I started thinking about other things I never realized I could purchase on my own: chocolate milk, white bread, those little bottles of lemon juice shaped like a REAL lemon. The possibilites were endless. These were products that, in my own mind, had always been labeled "mom only" and I suddenly felt like I had won the big-kid lottery.
Now, in the words of the immortal Bill Cosby..."I told you that story to tell you this one."
Because yesterday I discovered yet another of these forbidden foods.
Baked beans. Pork and Beans. Whatever you would like to call them, I am obsessed with them, and I don't remember ever eating them oustide of an actual picnic or barbecue. But there I was yesterday, walking down the Latin Foods aisle and at the very end, I saw them.
Ironically, the giant can I purchased bore a striking resemblance to the giant can I have in my pantry back home that reads "First Place" on the front.
This can was my winnings from the 5th grade pork-and-bean-eating contest in which I ate 1,114 more beans than any other 5th grader and got to take home the grand prize of this giant container full of even more pork and even more beans.
It's too bad I didn't know back then what I know now, which is that I could have just gone and purchased that exact same can of Pork and Beans for $1.47 at my local grocery story and avoided the whole issue of being called "beanie" by every boy in my fifth grade class for the whole month of November. Live and learn I guess.
All I know is I get to eat Pork and Beans for lunch all week.
Purchased without my mother.
Growing up is the best.