Where does all this candy come from? And how it is possible that it is all eaten? I knew that Americans had something with food (they like it > I like it!) and a sweet tooth, but I had no idea candy was such a thing overseas.
It all started last October, for Halloween. (Side note : I have so much to say about our Halloween loot which, surprisingly enough, comprised of many different things, some of them not being candy – AT ALL. But I’ve decided to wait till next Halloween to write about it so I might gather even more “Halloween collectibles”, as I have decided to call these…hum… items). A friend warned us “Get ready and load yourselves with candy, you never have enough to give”. So we did and so we have. But when you hand out candy, you can’t really realize how much each kid is gathering. It is when your kids come back with some in their baskets, hands, pockets, and bits dripping from their mouths that you really take the measure.
Mine actually came back with the equivalent of three years of what she had been eating in France. Rough estimate. She likes candy, and we always had some in Paris, but she would ask for it once in a while, take two pieces at a time. Or get a Snickers when traveling on the train, or as an extra treat after school once in a blue moon, when she spotted one at the “boulangerie” (french word for bakery) besides the chocolate croissants. In fact I must here and now admit to you all that I had to throw our candy away when we left (please don’t judge me, food is not allowed in a shipping container).
But on November 1st, 2017, I remember I had to really spend time thinking where to store this major sweet addition to the pantry. How to make it easy-access, but not too obvious at the same time. And find a big enough jar, basket, box, whatever works. I reorganized a bit. Then I let it there, and she would grab a piece of candy now and then. And then. And now. And then again. Once in a while. And twice. And thrice. You get the picture, she seems to think more often of candy here than she used to in France. But still, I was ok with this because:
- it wasn’t excessive and she could still manage without her daily dose of candy
- I could see the pile narrowing down gently, and since I am not fond of candy (how they taste, how they are made, and how they look), things were going fine by me.
But then came Christmas. BAM! Had to add chocolates to the pile (I like chocolate, always happy to help getting rid of it). We had family and friends over, so they helped a bit. But still.
And then BAM! Valentine’s day at school. Aren’t kids supposed to give lovely poems and roses on Valentine’s day? Apparently not > more candy to add to the pile.
At that point we were way behind and couldn’t keep the pace but that was still ok because her friends from the neighborhood are allowed to have some sweets (trust me, I made sure of that right on November 2). So I am always welcoming them to help themselves. I can be so generous.
But then again, BAM! This strange Leprechaun creature came in the picture, with all his green stuff! No string beans, no spinach, kiwis or celery. Only (and plenty of) green CANDY. Added to the pile.
And recently, BAM! The Easter egg hunt was such a big success.
I had no idea. I am surprised and amused. And sometimes worried, I have to admit. Because I have the feeling sugar is really everywhere, at all times. And I don’t think we can eat so much of one thing and be healthy on the long run, can we? But don’t get me wrong. Despite the tone, I joyfully participated in each and every step and celebration. It’s part of our adventure here in the US. And part of our discoveries: new tastes, different brands and designs, awesome packaging (how cool is the Mary Jane branding?!)
But boy, I just feel very sad for American kids relocated in France. How disappointed they must be. You might have candy once a year for the last day of school, there… No trading tickets for gums in class, that’s for sure. Don’t even try, buddy.
And to show my support to kids at school, to nutritionists and to my own conscience, if given the choice, I now tend to go with plain boring fruits, pretzels, or organic fruit snacks when asked for donations at school. I am not sure fruits are favorites or snacks from concentrate juice, be it organic, way healthier than regular candy, but well… instead of trying to fit in vain to a culture that is not mine, I’d rather enjoy and adjust ;).