The Jamey Vault: Caroline’s Cravings

If one were an anthropologist observing Caroline from afar, you’d find yourself absorbed in a subject whose appetite changes with every whim of the wind. One minute she’s sucking jalapenos dry, then next she’s lumbering off the grocery store to find marshmallows. She’s a creature of constant cravings.

Sometimes the cravings are triggered by television shows. Just last month she was watching someone eat jelly beans on TV, and as soon as the scene ended, she had to have Jelly Bellies. I know better than to get in the way of Caroline and her cravings. Usually I just hand her the car keys and watch her march off to the grocery store, but I think in that instance it was pretty late at night, so I went with her. We couldn’t even find Jelly Bellies, which is dangerous territory, but I distracted her with other appealing candies.

Last night she got it in her head that she wanted nothing more than to eat Oreos by the mouthful. Off to Schnuck’s she went. She returned about an hour later, quite angry about the numerous delays that prevented her from getting home with her prize (I should just call the grocery store from now on to warn them that they need to keep a line open for Caroline and only Caroline when she heads out for a late-night snack). Soon, however, she was curled up on the couch, contentedly dipping Oreos in two percent.

Most of her cravings aren’t sweet at all—if you could pickle the world, Caroline would eat it. Sometimes she comes home from Trader Joe’s with a glass container of what looks like formaldehyde fetal pigs. It’s actually something called “giardiniera,” which is Italian for “bad breath.” She goes crazy for that stuff. And there’s always the old standby, the pickle. Except for the incident in ’92, Caroline has never turned down a good pickle.

Although I poke fun at her cravings, it’s a delight to watch her give in to her culinary whims. She gets true pleasure from such simple things. Just don’t get in her way. Then the pleasure turns to pain.