i know what you mean!

mmm, packing peanuts

Posted on: March 1, 2007

Have you ever tried eating these? I have. I didn’t try to kill myself, and I wasn’t being experimental. When I first got to the US, I confused them with this one puffed macaroni snack we used to eat in VietNam. I don’t know how many people still remember what I’m talking about. Back in the 80’s, at some point the snack stands started selling puffed macaroni. In Viet Nam, these rice macaroni look more like rice rigatoni. Usually we eat them in a clear meat broth, as a full entree. Then someone thought of puffing them up and dye a few in green or pink color, and selling them as a snack. They taste somewhat like your catholic church’s eucharist wafer, bland. But they were really cheap. So I used to buy them sometimes. Anyone with good taste and a bit of money would have opted for puffed kettle corn or flavored tostadas (orange in color, remember those?), but me, I picked puffed rice macaroni, don’t know why. Maybe because I liked the green and pink colors. Or maybe because I paid only 50 dong and got a big bag.

Well, I was at Berkeley Bowl today, super duper hungry because it was 2:30 and I have not had lunch. They were giving out samples of hummus and Whiffles. I was eating all samples, just to appease my stomach, so even though the whiffles looked so much like chicharones, I thought “whatever” and shoved a big piece into my mouth. The next thing I knew, I was paying for a bag of 15 Whiffles at the price of $3.75. I popped the damn thing into my mouth, one after another (I could have gotten like a big ass burito for the same price, so it was not solely because I was hungry), didn’t have enough energy to think. About 2 whiffles later, it suddenly struck me like a Berkeley’s driver talking on a cellphone: it was because these whiffles taste just like the puffed rice macaroni I used to eat in Viet Nam, 20 years ago.

McDonald’s playground effect – yup, I’m a total sucker for it.


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