I’ve heard much over the past few years about the unfortunate reality of food deserts in America, neighborhoods where there are no retail outlets within walking distance that offer produce and other vital non-junk foods. I think that most of the food deserts in my city have been alleviated through a synergy between new discount grocery stores opening in under-served neighborhoods and a non-profit encouragement of adding produce to convenience stores.
I don’t raise this subject to pontificate on whole food nutrition or a paternalistic desire to restrict empty calories across socioeconomic lines. Instead, I am wondering why is it that in all of my years I have encountered so few junk food deserts.
My neighborhood has both fresh produce and junk in abundance, and I wish that I could resist the allure of all the sugar and other manna of unrefined carbs that are available within three blocks of my house.
Today I fell prey to the popcorn emporium which is situated next to a cupcake shop:
That popcorn above may look as if it had been hit with freshly ground black pepper, which could have been an edgy seasoning on freshly made caramel corn. However, those dark flecks are actually ground coffee . . . of a grocery store brand that is still a bestseller despite the rise of a coffee shop industry that exists to help people escape from such ordinary flavors. Paired with a caramel shell over movie theater popcorn and a chocolate drizzle, those coffee grounds are intoxicating. Hard to believe that this is same stuff taken for granted as it brewed by the pot and not the ounce.
The cupcake shop next door has even more indulgence available, and I have been determined to visit that establishment sparingly. The most mysterious aspect of this shop is the generally thin physique of the clientele I’ve spotted there. Are they shopping for others or do they indulge so rarely it doesn’t add to their mass? This is a phenomenon I’ve failed to understand, just like I was bewildered by the 80’s trend of exercise videos that featured thin, un-muscular women.
I think it would be just as challenging to stay willowy whilst snacking on cupcakes topped with heavy amounts of cookie dough flavored buttercream as it would be to be cast in a Jazzercise video with no visible calf muscles, yet these metabolic and biologic miracles continue to happen.