I’m eating a Pop Tart right now.
It’s strawberry – at least that’s what the package says. I just bought it yesterday, and it’s probably “fresh” – at least that’s fresh for a Pop Tart. Every time I bite down I send shrapnel all over the keyboard. Here and there there’s a green or red dot of some sugared product.
What is that stuff? I don’t know. It’s probably best I don’t.
I know strawberry. We grew them in the garden when I was a kid. Huge, delicious, oozing with flavor. I’d sneak into the garden sometimes when no one was watching and help myself to a snack. The best strawberries I ever had, though, were those I found in the wild while on a week-long hiking trip. Knowing that where there are berries, there are bears, I filed a bottle as quickly as I could, then walked on down the trail, popping them into my mouth.
So good. So very, very good.
I know pastry. One of the advantages of growing up in central Wisconsin was having people of Scandinavian descent around. Have you ever had kringle? Lighter than a stereotypical “danish,” flaky, with filling made from cherries, strawberries, gathered by hand and cooked down until little was left but syrupy lumpy goodness to wrap in layers of pastry dough. Drizzled with an icing applied sparingly – “good enough,” as the Swedes called it. Not glopped on thoughtlessly, but applied in a proper proportion.
The Pop Tart is cold, lifeless. But well preserved. I understand it’s a favorite for use in disaster relief operations. It’s so shelf stable, you could probably air drop it from a helicopter into a flood zone, expose it to direct sunlight for several weeks, and all you would end up with would be a slightly moister, warmer product than the one I’m consuming.
I know it’s junk. I know it’s not good for me.
It’s not strawberry. And it’s definitely not a pastry.
But I love it. God help me, I love it so.