The Sweetest SinSeptember 6th, 2008
It all started one sunny lunchtime a month or so ago when I went to Marks and Spencer for some lunch. As I stood in line waiting to pay for the virtuous salad I’d chosen I saw something out of the corner of my eye that made me want to look a little closer. It was right there in the stands those evil supermarket managers put close to the checkouts in order to tempt you as you wait to pay. I took in the pink, plastic packet and ran my eyes over the word on it. As soon as I took it in I look away again quickly, guiltily. Marshmallows. Marsh. Mallow. What a delicious word. The queue moved on and I moved closer; my eyes darting back and forth to them. My mind worked quickly. Marshmallows. Full of sugar. A thing of childhood. Not for adults. I couldn’t. The line moved on again and I was close enough to reach them. I thought of their soft, airy textures. I thought of their sugar content. I thought of their pink and white fluffiness and their sweet taste. The queue moved again and I passed them. I had to make a decision. If I delayed they’d be out of my reach; which of course would be a good thing. Yes, a very good thing. OK, so my mind was made up then: I wouldn’t buy them. The queue was about to move on again. And in that moment I panicked and quickly snatched a packet.
So there I stood, salad and marshmallows in hand, wondering guiltily if anyone had seen. I wondered what the cashier would think. But it was ok, I told myself, I’d take them back to the office and share them with my colleagues. Yes, they would eat most of them, I would have done a good deed and I would have nothing to feel guilty about. After all, one or two little marshmallows could do no harm…could they?
But as it happened my colleagues didn’t eat that many of them; they clearly had more self restraint than me. At the end of the day I was left with a good half a packet. Well, I just had to fold it over and take them home with me, didn’t I? I mean, I couldn’t just leave them there going sticky. They could be a hazard. They could….attract mice! Yes, they could attract mice. It was my duty to take them home. And so it was that I sat on the train home and ate half a packet of marshmallows. My God, I’d forgotten just how good they are.
Of course now I can’t pass the marshmallows in Marks and Spencer without picking a packet up (and of course they’re always near the tills so I always pass them and I always pick a packet up). OK, so I know what you’re thinking: just boycott M&S and their underhand ‘in your face’ marshmallow tactics. Well it’s not that simple because they’re EVERYWHERE. Well ok, not everywhere exactly, but certainly in every sweet shop I just happen to find myself in (just happen to, you understand; it’s really not intentional). Not only that but I’ve seen James Martin making them on UKTV Food and, let me tell you, watching the very lovely James Martin make marshmallows is enough to make any girl’s heart beat fast enough to make her faint. Oh. My. God. He pours the thick, liquid marshmallow mixture into a baking tray heavily lined with a snowdrift of icing sugar and I start to shake and crave my next hit.
So you see there’s nothing to be done; I can’t be saved now. I’m far too gone down this sinful road of sugar. All I can hope now is that I can save you all from the same fate. Run, run, as fast as you can, away from branches of Marks & Spencer and away from the sweetshops. And if you do ever come across an innocent looking pink or white marshmallow don’t even think about it. Because it only takes one squidgy, sugary, melting mouthful to have you hooked.
If you need anymore convincing of the dangers let me show you what haunts a marshmallow addict’s dreams: