When you're on a diet, and you love food as much as I do, you find yourself living (and eating) vicariously through other people's experiences and stories. Last Thursday New York Times reporter James Barron wrote a hilarious and sharp-eyed piece about mallomars , those superb chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies only available in the cooler months. His lead: "Proust had his madeleines. Douglas Boxer had his Mallomars." He then goes on to write: "like Beaujolais nouveau, Mallomars are not a year-round delicacy....Mallomars return to supermarket in the fall after a warm-weather break. But Mallomars connoisseurs do not celebrate by holding tastings of the new batch or by calling friends to announce "les Mallomars sont arrives."
Barron called me for a comment on the story, but I returned his call after the story was put to bed. I told him that he should have gotten a quote from Alice Waters. After all, Alice, as a huge proponent of seasonal foods and cooking, should appreciate the seasonal nature of Mallomars, even if it is a packaged, processed food made by Kraft.
Barron then goes on to pose a series of cosmically hilarious Mallomars questions:
"What is the singular of Mallomars, anyway?"
"If they can produce chocolate that can survive in Saudi Arabia, why don't they do that with Mallomars?"
Now I really like Mallomars, though I'm not as passionate about them as many of the people Barron interviewed. But when you're on a diet, a Mallomar (I have made an executive decision that Mallomar is singular) sounds just about perfect.