Ephemera

In Which I Thank Whatever Deity You Believe In For Arrowroot Biscuits

How come when we were kids, we could accept cookies from Mr. Christie but all other strange men offerings sweets were to be run screaming away from?
How come when we were kids, we could accept cookies from Mr. Christie but all other strange men offering sweets were to be run screaming away from?

Before the abomination called the Baby Mum-Mum was invented, there was the divine yet humble Arrowroot Biscuit. Arrowroot cookies are made, really clearly made, for babies. Look at that baby on the box; that’s the same baby that was on the box when I was a baby. That baby looks like a baby who is healthy and in need of a good pair of sunglasses because his or her future is so damned bright. And why shouldn’t it be? That baby is clearly possessed of a discerning palate if he/she/it likes Arrowroots!!

Unfortunately, babies eventually turn into kids, and kids are often terribly, insistently, annoyingly interested in cultivating an appearance of suave sophistication coupled with precocious maturity. They come, around age 3, to resent being treated like children. Some (i.e., my favorite kid in the whole damned world, a boy known by some as Sharky) say inspired and conversation-stopping things to the effect of, “I’m not cute, I’m BIG.” More distressingly, they see the baby on the Arrowroot Biscuit box and they decline those lovely little morsels because they think they’re too old for them.

Well, your loss, all you silly un-diapered stupid-heads—that means more for me. I never in my long, hungry life felt too cool to eat Arrowroots. (Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I gave up on considerations of personal coolness very early because I was buck-toothed, cross-eyed, and forced to wear striped clown socks with too-short bell-bottomed trousers made of super-wide-waled brown corduroy.) Being uncool can be liberating for many reasons, but I don’t think the importance of maintaining a long-term relationship with Arrowroots should be underestimated.

Oh hell no.
Oh hell no.

I mean, think of the Puking Times. We all experience these dark periods sometimes, and it doesn’t matter whether or not we brought it on ourselves. For kids who became too cool to eat the baby cookies there was, when I was growing up, only one other overly processed, nutrition-free, blandish snack available for managing illnesses of the intestinal variety: saltines. Premium Plus brand is the stuff, if you’re a fancy sort of puker, but some no-name brand will work just as well. Only a child with a misguided and foolish sense of their proximity to adulthood, and its concomitant rejection of all tasty things, would choose a saltine over an Arrowroot Biscuit.

For those of us who never fell prey to the terrible social pressure to avoid being associated with little babies while in our tweens and teens, life is a more beautiful thing. We haven’t forgotten that when it comes to getting through a serious barf-fest, it’s better to focus on sugary nutrition-free food than salty nutrition-free food. Obviously, it’ll just make you happier because cookies. But the sugar will also keep you from becoming dangerously light-headed, and they don’t turn to cardboard the way saltines do (I mean literal cardboard) in your mouth after you’ve eaten twenty of them in a row.

I know all of this to be true because I recently contracted a common virus that makes children vomit in horrifying volume, even though I’d had no recent contact with any children nauseous or otherwise. I knew Arrowroots would get me through. Indeed, my memory of these blessed little sugar pucks was not wrong. When the puking, the being weak and pathetic, and then the helping my husband through same when I hadn’t yet recovered was over, I noted that not only had they gotten me through, but also that they were still the really delicious treats I remembered them to be.

It took a while for the old food-eater to get fully back up and running, so I kept buying and eating the baby biscuits for about a week after the illness had passed. One day, because I was still recovering from the virus from hell, I ate a whole stack of the things for lunch; the next day I did the same. I wish I’d done it today but I didn’t because I don’t want to get scurvy. But if they were enriched with Vitamin C, it would have been a tougher call re: the outcome of the Arrowroot Biscuits vs. salad cage match that occurred in my belly.

So, baby food? Yea or nay? (Hint: the correct answer is “yea.”)

 

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About Colleen Shea

Colleen Shea is a writer, reader, food-eater, and bicycle-rider. She blogs at Jam and Idleness. Her two favorite foods are kale and peanut butter, but not together because that would be madness. Follow her on Twitter @bookphilia.