Nuts for Cola

Raise your hand if you’ve said or heard one of these three phrases.

“I don’t drink soda.”

“I haven’t had soda for 5/10/15 years.”

“I only drink water, tea, and coffee.”

These days, soda, in all its forms, is out, and healthy drinks are in (well, not all of them – PSL drinkers, looking at you). Soda is the devil, and any nutritionista (new word?) worth their salt would take that salt and throw it over their shoulder. Sugar, caffeine, carbonation, cancer, death, libido, losing your hair, giving birth to mutant children; any or all of these things are in your future should you choose to have that soda. It’s come so far that not drinking soda is almost becoming cliche.

Now, I do agree that soda should not be anyone’s main source of liquid. Children should not drink soda, because they haven’t developed that part of the brain and tongue that knows its limits when it comes to sugar. If you don’t have a soda for a week or two, the first one after that will taste weird, which is probably a signal that it is indeed an unnatural part of the human diet, to some extent. I, myself, do not buy soda to keep in the house; however, I have been known to indulge in a Diet Coke at a gas station, or with a meal at a restaurant. I restrict myself from having it often, but still, it gets such a bad rap from everyone else that it’s almost like we need to strangle all the sodas in the world and hang them from the gallows in the town square.

Today, I went to Marshalls, and on my way out, I grabbed a Diet Coke. I don’t know when the last time I had some was, but it had been a while and I was really jonesing for it, so I got it. My first sip was incredibly bitter and sour, but midway through the bottle that familiar cola taste came through. It was not strong enough that I wanted another, but it satisfied my thirst and my need for flavor for a while.

So here’s where my dilemma comes in.

You know how some people do not or cannot consume a certain thing (coffee, peaches, oranges) but enjoy things that give them the same flavor experience (coffee cake, peach tea, orange Life Savers)?

Yeah, that’s what cola is for me.

I love the taste of cola. You know what I’m talking about, the kind that you get from Mexican coke, or Passover coke, or the off-brand hippie cola that Trader Joe’s has. It’s smooth, sweet, and comforting. Unfortunately, unlike peach tea and coffee cake, which can come in moderately healthy versions, I have not been able to find any sort of food or drink that emulates that cola taste, yet isn’t insanely unhealthy or expensive.

In the meantime, I’ll finish this Diet Coke…but I know there’s something out there, somewhere.

Oh, and welcome to my first visitor for Belarus.


How to Make Mealtimes on Passover Much More Enjoyable

This day has turned out to be perfectly awful, capped off with my Internet deciding to go to Italy or something, so I’m posting this from my iPad, which means I’ll have to return later for tags and graphics.

On top of that, it’s still Passover. I know that my ancestors did my unborn soul a solid by getting out of Egypt, but couldn’t they have just brought some trail mix or something? Well, part of it is some old rabbis’ fault, but I won’t go into that right now.

I would like to, on another note, pay a tribute to something that has made my Passover a little more hassle-free, and that is the Solo cup.

Commonly seen at fraternity houses and beach bungalows, the red Solo cup is the iconic imagery of modern-day alcoholism. The fire-engine red plastic never goes with anything you’re wearing, but its color seems to be pleasing to the eye, mind, and soul of those seeking relief from midterms and taxes alike. Students from other countries are often surprised when they come to college in the USA that sometimes the cups may be blue. Its status has only been enhanced by the media exposure received from movies of the last twenty years; hundreds of Oscar-worthy performances yet never noticed by the Academy.

This Passover, I took stock of my utensil collection. I have my grandmother’s silverware, but my Passover flatware was left behind in Houston. Since I bought two sets of dishes once I got here, I never needed anything of the disposable sort. Upon opening my utility cabinet, I had a half-filled sleeve of plastic plates, but no plastic cups. So, I went to the grocery store and bought some red Solo cups for this purpose (and to make me feel young again). Once the holiday started, I realized just how useful red Solo cups are to the everyday consumer.

You can eat just about anything out of a red Solo cup.

Aside from any beverage, the red Solo cup is the perfect side for a bowl of soup, if you let it cool a little before hitting the plastic. Matzah balls act as ice cubes. For fresh fruits like berries or canned peaches, just put them in the cup, run it under some water, and you’re good to go. Speaking of snacking, they have a finger-bowl-like quality for any morsels out of a box or bag. Chicken or fish? No problem! Fold it over, stick it in the cup, and you can have one hand free and use a fork and spoon to cut it into pieces. Eggs are a snap: in omelet form, just slide that baby in, and in hard boiled form, it’s handy to have two on hand – one to hold the eggs, and one for the shells, and the yolks too if they’re not your thing, so you can dump it in the trash or down the disposal when you’re done. Believe it or not, you can also use plastic to save the environment too! You can eat out of one, drink from another, put biodegradable waste in one, and non-biodegradable waste like candy wrappers and drink pouches in the other, and dispose appropriately. How convenient! Another environmentally friendly function of the cups is their reusability. Wash them throughly immediately after use, and you can use them to enjoy another meal! Or, if you like, take the cup you ate your lunch from and turn it into your dinner disposal cup! Double duty, people! And clean-up’s a breeze – just lift it up and you’re done, no more sponging down the table!

The only Passover food that doesn’t quite work with the cup is matzah itself, but who needs matzah anyway?

Now, go out and get yourself some red Solo cups and rediscover the fun of eating at home!