I love Marshmallow Fluff. It is a peculiar love, I know. Most people barely know what it is, and those that do tend to have a lukewarm opinion of it. But they just don’t understand it. All they see is the gooey white ectoplasmic mass, marshmallow in spreadable form. But to me as a kid, it was future. I’d watch sci-fi TV shows and imagine what kind of food they ate, and it would be soft, white, and sweet. The first time I saw my friend’s mom cursing to herself as she attempted to get it onto bread without coating the rest of the kitchen, I knew Fluff was the stuff. Nowadays, my associations with it are less happy, but I still love it. There are rules for eating Fluff. The first is small portions. If you’re doing it right it should be slightly warmer then your mouth, which means when it hits your tongue it will actually cool down, causing it to go from gooey liquid to a sort of rubber cement consistency that will instantly start to glue together whatever it touches. Not too bad when there’s half a table spoon. Horrible when your mouth is filled with the stuff. The second rule is never alone and never more than two companions. The longest running competitors were Nutella and toasted bread, preferably sourdough. Peanut butter is too dry, and chocolate syrup too sweet. I’ve experimented. I’ve tried everything from catsup to Indian chutney to kimchi, just to see if there’s some magical combination undiscovered due to queasiness or lack of imagination.
... The convenience store just down the block from my house has the greatest collection of condiments I’ve ever seen in my life. If that impresses you, you may want to re-think it for a second, because, really, how many collections of condiments have you seen, even over the course of your entire life? If it doesn't impress you, then you obviously haven’t seen the place. Half the damn store is devoted to condiments. Every nationality from Malaysian to Canadian, name brand next to micro-batched. It’s massive. I suspect it’s to make up for the dreadful lack of actual food. You want imported German beet-catsup? They got it. You want eggs that haven’t expired three days ago? Not going to happen. How about Pakistani flower curry? Aisle two. Bread? Wonder Bread only, buddy.
... I don’t go to it very often any more.
... I used to spend a lot of time there and not just because of their prodigious collection of sauces, toppings and spices. The other reason is because they’re open 24 hours a day, and I’m an insomniac. I find that more and more people are these days, so I’ll spare the poetic description of what twelve hours of sleep a week will do to you. The point is I had a lot of time to kill, and at four in the morning, with work looming in just five hours, browsing exotic taste enhancers for what was becoming more and more the holy grail of condiments, the perfect spread to mix with Marshmallow Fluff, actually sounded like a good time. And you would be surprised how crowded a corner convenience store can be in the wee hours of the morning.
... So there I was, aisle two, debating between a Russian cod paste that looked promising but was past its expiration date, and what appeared to be a Kazakhstani knockoff of teriyaki sauce that would probably be boring, but safer. I wish I could tell you this was an atypical Thursday night for me, but at that moment it really wasn’t.
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