Crumbly Dreams

When Clay was just a wee lad—kindergarten age—he developed an unlikely obsession with a local line of snackfoods.

Could have been because his gluten-free/dairy-free diet prohibited these tempting munchies. Or maybe it was his fascination with brand names at the time. Whatever the reason, he couldn’t get enough of the world of Tastykake.

When coming home from visiting my family we had to detour to a lot behind a car dealership where a row of old Tastykake trucks stood waiting to be sold. “The Tastykake graveyard,” we called it, and Clay never failed to get a kick out of spying those beat-up relics in need of a home.

As luck would have it, a deliveryman for the company stored his truck in the parking lot across the street from Clay’s kindergarten. A trip to pick the little guy up after school had to include a visit to the Tastykake truck. Once the man, his name was Jack, happened to be there during one of these visits, and Clay got a peek inside and some cardboard signs. What unspeakable glory. You could almost hear the angels singing. My wife even emailed the company public relations department and was rewarded with a box filled with model trucks, collectible tins and other Tastykake memorabilia. A Clay bonanza.

All these years later, I can still get a smile out of him by singing the company theme song, “Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake.”

When we visit the grocery story or any local convenience store, the little guy still invariably finds his way to the Tastykake display, and we invariably usher him away since he can’t eat them.

Until now. This week, as we walked past the Tastykake section at our local supermarket, both my wife and I were stunned to find boxes of gluten-free Tastykake cookies. What’s more, a quick scan of the ingredients revealed they are dairy-free as well.

It is a miracle of almost indescribable proportions. How does one put such an event into words? We went to the horse himself, after his first taste.

“So, what do you think of the new Tastykake cookies?” my wife asked.

“So so. So dry,” he typed on the keyboard he uses to communicate.

“They do look crumbly. What is your favorite cookie?”

“pamelas” (a gluten-free/dairy-free brand we’ve been buying for years)

“Why do you like them?”

“so chocolaty”

“Anything else you want to say about the Tastykake cookies?”

“Awesome but so dry”

Then, a memory test.

“Do you remember the ‘Tastykake graveyard’?”

“yes”

“How about Jack’s Tastykake truck?”

“sure”

“Where was it parked?”

“near joy bell school. so cool we so enjoyed seeing at school.”

Sometimes your memories, your dreams and expectations, crash head-on with reality. You can almost taste moist and chocolaty right there on your tongue for so many years, but you wind up with dry and crumbly. What do you do then? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to crack open one of those boxes of Pamela’s cookies in the pantry, and chow down with the little fellow.

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  1. #1 by merle on September 23, 2011 - 5:30 pm

    Haven’t we all had childhood memories of certain foods (usually desserts) that we absolutely savored? Then we grew up and could buy as much of them as we liked and the (butterscotch krimpets, wax lips, marachino cherries, etc.) just didn’t taste the same….too sweet, sour,salty, etc. My autistic Godson Philip, at 51, chooses the same meals everytime we go out. He knows he has to watch his weight so usually has a Caesar salad and diet Coke….and then a hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream (3 scoops if I allowed it!). His favorite cake for all ocassions is vanilla (ALL vanilla). So, Larry and Roe….just checking in and saying “hello” but this incident with Clay and food just kept me going.

  2. #2 by autismmommytherapist on September 26, 2011 - 2:51 pm

    Sorry that GF/CF box wasn’t a dream come true…

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