Food is such a regional thing. Chicago Deep Dish, New York Thin Crust, Hot Dogs from each city are different. Saltwater taffy from the eastern seaboard. Clam Chowdah and Lobstahs from New England. Steak and BBQ claims from around the country could start a new civil war. Snacks are the same way. Local potato chip companies, pretzel factories, and candy manufacturers all have their die hard fans. If you doubt it, ask someone about their favorite treat from their childhood.
If you grew up around Philadelphia, it might be a cheese steak, but I imagine most kids prefer TastyKake, some pretty darn good treats. They have cupcakes and some treats like twinkies or zingers, but I think they’re better. They used to be regional but now I see them were I live in Texas, usually in Philly cheese steak shops. You may not have encountered them where you grew up, but if you grew up in the south, you very likely have eaten at least one Moon Pie. If you haven’t, you likely lived elsewhere or were a southerner who was deprived or maybe diabetic. There cannot be a sugar free Moon Pie if there is justice in the world.
Back in the day, Moon Pies were only located in the south, much like Krispy Kreme Donuts or Krystal hamburgers, more all time health food favorites. Health food, you ask? Think of it this way. They keep my mind occupied with strategies of how to get more of them, so I consider them mental health foods. Not unlike Sudoku puzzles occupy the brains of many people each day, but healthier.
Let me explain. If I am scheming how to get them, where I could go to find them, pacing the floor, sweating, wringing my hands, and jumping around in anticipation of locating them, that is exercise, my friends. Who exercises with Sudoku?. Nobody! What a bunch of couch potatoes! I am doing the southern snack food workout when I scheme to get my Moon Pies and Krystal burgers. Plus, I believe I may be preventing Alzheimer’s.
By enabling genius level reasoning skills in my scheming. What do they do in cognitive support groups? Orientation, basic problem solving, and strategizing. Sound similar? I picture group outings to get the sweet treat of the south. Strategic moon pie acquisition may even be therapeutic at certain levels. If not for them, for me, since I would be the one eating them. Some people may consider my rationalization process a little off-base. Others might consider it an obsession, but they’re crazy, so why would you listen to them?
Why would I write a post about Moon Pies and Krystal Burgers? Well, if you ever saw me in person you might understand. I am not a little guy. I grew up eating southern comfort foods, including spam and bologna sandwiches, so it isn’t a real stretch that I might enjoy marshmallows and chocolate or steamed burgers is it? There aren’t many foods that I have to stop for when I see the restaurant. Krystals, the southern cousin of White Castle, are one of them. It can take me hours to drive the 100 miles from Chattanooga, TN to Knoxville, TN because there are so many Krystals there and they each call my name. I used to live there and gave up Weight Watchers because the meeting was right across from the Krystals near my house. What genius planning that was. Stand on a scale and show how much weight I didn’t lose that week? Try harder? HMMMM. “Welcome to Krystal’s. Can I take your order?” Yeah baby! Double Cheese Krystal, Chili Cheese Pups, Corn Pups? Nothing fixes a bout of weight watchers weigh in depression better than a sackful of Krystals, I guarantee it. Just don’t look in the mirror later.
I don’t understand it but not everyone is a fan. My older son and I had to eat them outside the car on the last family vacation since the other half of the family don’t care for them, and they are a bit fragrant from the onions but that extra few minutes made for some enjoyable memories and we even took pictures! Just a little redneck here.
The real reason I wrote this post is that when I get in a reflective mood I go back to things that make me happy. Unfortunately, food has made me happy way too many times in my life, which is why after losing 50 pounds, I still have 50 to go. Funny how the first half of anything is always the easiest. It’s the last part that makes you work hard and have to be accountable. So, I am confessing several things to you, my non-voluntary accountability partners.
1. I am fat. Not globby fat, but overweight and working on it.
2. I love to eat, hence I am a big boy.
3. I hate NOT EATING. See # 1 and # 2.
4. I REALLY want a Moon Pie right now. LOTS of Moon Pies actually. I am thinking of digging a tunnel to Outdoor World in the middle of the night so I can steal all of them.
5. The only reason I am not driving to get a Krystal burger right now is because they closed the only one in Houston and the next closest one is in Alabama. But I am contemplating a road trip.
6. I would kill for an ice cold RC Cola, straight from one of those old time cola coolers from the small town general stores.
Now, the rules for accountability partners state that you have to contact authorities if someone threatens to harm someone so I should really stop the rant now. As you can see, I have contemplated stealing, killing, and irrational travel to satisfy my cravings for these items. Who says that astronaut who drove across country in a diaper was crazy? I might do the same for a case of moon pies and a sack of Krystals!
Of course, you can’t eat Moon Pies dry. You need a carbonated beverage. In Texas, all carbonated drinks are called “cokes”, but you may call them sodas or pop. In my opinion, the best soda (clinically proven in my stomach) for Moon Pie digestion is RC (Royal Crown) Cola, which unfortunately, is not as common in my area. In researching this post, I found that RC is still available but somehow, against the laws of nature, it was not present at Outdoor World where my beloved Moon Pies are sold. WHAT??????!!!!!!!!!
When I was a boy, RC was right next to the moon pies. If you were really lucky, a creative store owner had a little shelf with the moon pies inside the cooler door so the pie would be next to the RC Cola and the would both be cold, because the best time to eat them was summer!
Moon Pies and RC Cola created a chemical and physical reaction inside the mouth better than Pop-Rocks. It created fizzing never before seen on the planet. Have you seen the videos of Mentos and Diet Coke? Child’s Play. The Moon Pie & RC Cola reaction occurred in your body, after all, not a yard or some other safe place. I think with enough of each, you could die. When mixed with the graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow that makes a Moon Pie, it provided a fizzy sweet burning sensation that made you unsure if you should swallow, belch, cry, or laugh. When you did choose one, several other responses followed. When eaten in a group, and seeing the enjoyment on each other’s faces, laughter ensued, often followed by the dreaded “nasal exit”. How much more fun could that be? I don’t know, but you might find out if you visit the RC/Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, TN. I thought it was funny that in addition to the crafts and snack oriented activities, they have a 10 mile run. Why? You are celebrating two of the sweetest, sugary combustible treats on the planet and you are going to run and shake them up? Did you not see the video above?
If you ever heard the old southern comic/preacher Jerry Clower, he LOVED RC Cola and Moon Pies. I guess I am a disciple. So, I went to Outdoor World and there they were. Moon Pies of various types and flavors. Chocolate, banana, vanilla, and now………mint. MINT????!!!!!!! MINT?????!!!!!! Jerry would roll over in his grave! Surely a southern boy did not contaminate MY moon pie with mint! Must have been some infiltrator. Bacon? Ham? Grit flavor. Sure! But mint? Why not just pour strawberry cream on it and paint it pink? Or a sweet kiwi lime green?
Here is a devastating fact I just learned while writing this rant. There are now multiple flavors including strawberry and pineapple? I am stunned. Surely no self respecting southerner did that.
Well folks, after I settled down and took my blood pressure medicine. I bought one of the little mint “Moon Pie minis”. Yes, they are smaller. Don’t even get me started. I must admit they are AWESOME! I was already 10 minutes down the road when I ate one. I promise you, I turned my car around, went back and hiked across the parking lot and bought more of those little mint darlings. I swear it’s true.
Moon PIes, RC Cola, and Krystals. A little bit of my past brings me some nice memories and makes my mouth water. Crazy? Maybe. But I’ll tell you one thing. My mental health is better for the little bit after I have one! Or think about having one. Or rant about them. Gee wiz! Now I need some Krystals. Tunnel building is hard work, after all and Outdoor World is a little further down the road than I thought.