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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Curse you Red Jelly Bean!

With Fat Tuesday over, you would think that we could all get back to our normal weight, but no. After Fat Tuesday, jelly bean season starts. There is no hope.

A lot of my friends hold that jelly beans are not in season until Easter, but by that date the only jbs you will find at Fred Meyer will be stale. And you will only find the kinds that no one wants to eat. Entire bags of nearly inedible black beans will be marked down to half price, hoping that someone will get an Easter basket filled with licorice. The ultra sour fruit flavored beans will be moved to the garden department and sold as fertilizer. And all you will be able to get are Jelly Bellys.

Yes, Jelly Belly marked the downfall of jelly beans. Moving Jelly Belly jelly beans into the seasonal section of Fred Meyer is the confection equivalent of letting Atlantic Salmon loose in the Pacific Northwest. You will no longer be able to trust that you will get a pleasant fruity burst when you bite into what you thought was a cherry bean. It could be cinnamon, apple, strawberry, birthday cake, or skinned knee. And if you combine it with the yellow one, you will have a sudden burst of burnt popcorn, rancid butter, or cold pizza.

I like real jelly beans that come in fewer than a dozen flavors (including licorice). I like biting the red cherry jelly bean, the purple grape, and the green apple. I also like the clearly marked bags of spicy beans with wintergreen, peppermint, and spearmint. And the cinnamon beans that taste like cinnamon gum and not like you just poured a jar of ground cinnamon into your mouth.

On Ash Wednesday, the jelly beans are fresh and chewy. The sugar dissolves in your mouth with the first crunch and then you swallow it with the true joy of the season. By Easter, the jelly beans are hard. When the sugar crunches off the outside, it adheres to your teeth. And forget about ever swallowing the candy. You will be picking the gum from your fillings all day. Because I love jelly beans, I sometimes succumb to a late summer bag, but they are never as satisfying as the first bag of Lent.

I don’t need 41 flavors of mini-beans, that are marketed under half a dozen brands but are all made by the same company, thank you. I just need the dozen or so that come fresh as the first day of spring and are in season now.