I have a confession to make, and I feel just terrible about it: I’ve become a cheatin’ man. But it’s not what you think. I’ve been cheating on the Vermont Maid with Mrs. Butterworth.
It’s not something I planned; it just happened. As long as I can remember I’ve had Vermont Maid syrup with my waffles, but recently I found myself shopping in a grocery store that did not carry the brand.
It threw me off quite a bit, and I agonized over the critical decision of which syrup to buy instead. The wrong choice could have ruined breakfast, and if your breakfast is ruined your whole day is ruined, because we all know how important breakfast is.
I ended up with a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s, but I was not happy about it. Sure, Mrs. Butterworth’s has the fancy lady-shaped bottle while Vermont Maid just has a plain two-dimensional picture of a smiling gal, but I’ve always felt that syrup bottles are like people: It’s what’s on the inside that counts. I was settling, and it just wouldn’t be the same.
The next morning I poured the stuff on my waffles, and watched with great anticipation as it lazily cascaded onto the plate. Taking the first bite, I was surprised to find that Mrs. Butterworth’s was quite pleasing to my taste buds. Sweet and rich, just as they claim. The second bite was just as good, if not better, than the first. A thought suddenly flashed in my head: Mrs. Butterworth’s just might be tastier than Vermont Maid.
I quickly tried to squelch the notion. I found myself feeling guilty, even paranoid. What if the Vermont Maid finds me out? I glanced at the kitchen door, convinced that any second the Maid might walk in, catching me in the act of squeezing Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle. I could picture her bursting into tears and storming out with pigtails shaking furiously. “What am I doing?” I asked Mrs. Butterworth, hoping she would speak to me as she does to the kids in the commercials. Alas, she remained silent.
I’m not sure why I feel so guilty about this. Maybe I’m a victim of a marketing culture that has brainwashed me to have a staunch devotion to brand loyalty. Maybe I just take food mascots too seriously. I know I was more affected than most people I know when Cookie Crisp cereal recently replaced their veteran cartoon dog spokesman with a wolf. Years ago, I was very disappointed when Cinnamon Toast Crunch fired two of the three cartoon bakers seen on their box and the commercials, a change most people probably never noticed. I can’t imagine how I would be affected if anything ever happened to Snap, Crackle and/or Pop.
Although I finished eating my Butterworth waffle, I continued to feel a nagging sense of unease. I don’t deal well with change in general, and this syrup incident is a sticky situation that threatens to change some of my basic assumptions about everything from waffle toppings to life itself.
Of course, it’s altogether possible that this dalliance with Mrs. Butterworth is nothing more than a brief fling. I may yet return to the Vermont Maid and pick up our sweet, maple romance where we left off.
On the other hand, Aunt Jemima is starting to look pretty tempting.