Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vacation-only Food

Have you noticed that there are certain foods that you would never buy or even eat unless you were on vacation? Here are a few vacation-exclusive treats:
  • Taffy: Taffy is a staple of any coastal vacation. The boxes boast “Salt Water Taffy.” How many people actually think it’s made with salt water? Does that really make them want to buy it even more? My rule is: check the box and pass if it’s not local. Even if it is made on the spot, what is the appeal and what makes us buy it? I will admit I’ve fallen victim to vacation taffy more than I care to admit. Take Daffy Taffy in Boothbay Harbor. They make taffy in the store, right up front by the window so you can’t help but get pulled in by the process. (Pun intended.) Then you get to mix and match your flavors from the dory full of loosely wrapped taffy bites. That must be it. Standing there is an investment of precious time. How do you get the value of that time back? Buy a box of taffy! You’ll feel like you practically made it yourself.
  • Fudge: Does anyone buy fudge at home? What is it about fudge that makes people buy it when they’re away from home? Why is it always for sale in vacation destinations? What does buying fudge have to do with the historic Mystic Seaport? As far as I can tell, the connection is weak. Though apparently a traveler’s will power is not!
  • Ice cream cones: I eat ice cream at home. Who doesn’t? When on vacation, though, it’s perfectly acceptable to go out for an ice cream cone every single night. It’s an expedition of choices. If you’re in a place like Bar Harbor, it’s a nightly dilemma to figure out which ice cream shop to visit. Even if there’s only one shop, there are still choices: flavors and toppings and cones, oh my! Some find a favorite and stick to it every time. Others make it a point to try something different every night, thus working their way through the entire menu. As you’re standing in line with everyone else who shares your passion for frozen dairy in a crunchy container, it’s inevitable that bonds will form. You share your favorite flavors, commiserate about yucky weather, and get suggestions for a great dinner. Time spent on the ice cream line is like a little vacation from your vacation.