It was only one day into Lent, and I was already struggling with my commitment to give up chocolate. This did not bode well for my ability to restrain myself for the entire 46 days between Fat Tuesday and Easter Sunday. At all.
I angrily eyed the rows of chocolate bars that were all off-limits to me. 100 Grand, KitKat, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way Dark, those Fling bars that were recently featured on Candy Blog, and my favorite non-high brow chocolate, Dove bars. It wasn't fair. Everything was made with chocolate.
Or was it?
Just when I was about to give up my search for something sweet, my eyes fell upon the PayDay box in the far right corner of the bottom row.
My mouth twisted into a giddy grin. PayDays aren't made with chocolate. I immediately crouched down and snagged myself one of the clearly least popular bars and happily plunked it down on the conveyor belt with my banana and Inglehoffer Sweet Honey Mustard. While I briefly remembered not being impressed with the PayDay when I tried one as a youngster, I pushed that pessimistic thought to the back of my consciousness. As long as it gave my insulin levels a sugar punch, I didn't care what it tasted like.
When I arrived back to my office, I cut the candy in half for portion control (I do occasionally make an effort to preserve the sanctity of my arteries), and dug in to the peanut-studded bar.
The first bite was a bit disappointing. I couldn't get past the feeling that the whole thing would be so much better if it was coated in a rich layer of chocolate. But then things started to get interesting. The salt from the roasted peanuts began to dance with the sweet caramel nougat, creating an addicting juxtaposition of sweet and salty on my tongue. It was like dipping French fries in a vanilla milk shake -- only a lot less disgusting. The experience immediately evoked the taste memory of the fleur de sel caramel, a supposed "new hot" trend in bakery cases and on dessert menus. The irony didn't escape me. The PayDay was first rolled out in 1932 -- over 70 years prior to the much-heralded debut of Pizzeria Mozza's Butterscotch Budino with sea salt and other similar offerings from the last decade.
By the time I'd finished my half bar, the PayDay had won me over. While I still would love to dip the whole thing in some Guittard dark or milk chocolate, 46 days without chocolate no longer seems like an impossible feat.
Especially since I am now down to 37 days.