by Chrysa Smith

MaryFran and I took a stroll on the boardwalk.

Ummm. The scents of suntan lotion and salt air. The feel of the sun caressing my skin. The freedom that comes from having no clocks, datebooks or planning to do. All of this and chocolate covered bacon too.

What? Yes. In the midst of the hot, humid summer, nothing feels as good in the tummy as a fat-laden, artery-blocking, high-calorie ‘snack’ that sinks like a rock in the digestive tract. I fully get the sweet/salty cravings, but really, a chocolate pretzel would do—maybe some ice cream in a pretzel cone? A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? But fat covered with more fat? Not the stuff bikini bodies are made of. Sounds more like a cardiologist’s dream.

But it doesn’t end here. Just as you walk off a few of the fat cells from that ‘sweet & salty breakfast’ step on over to the Fried Oreo stand. Really? Yes, really. Oreo’s are pretty good in and of themselves. They really are; especially the double stuff and mint varieties. But if that wasn’t caloric enough, let’s add a little Funnel Cake dough (the stuff greasy donuts are made of) and drop it all in some more fat—only this time, deep-fried, hot fat. Ummm. Just what the doctor ordered in 90 degree heat and humidity. Gag me with spoon.

Frozen custard, caramel corn, pizza, funnel cake, fudge, salt water taffy round out the boardwalk menu. Is it me, or does it seem ironic that in a place where body image does matter, healthy food doesn’t? And when we see the muffin top, beer belly, love handles and cellulite wrapping around that latex swimsuit—well, we cringe, we comment, we look at our reflection in the souvenir window and OMG, is that me? Really, it’s all very ‘dis-tasteful.’

Nonetheless, it’s all part of summers down the shore. And quite honestly, bringing home a big bucket of salad, veggies or tofu doesn’t quite have the same appeal as a large serving of Johnson’s Popcorn–my favorite caramel-coated popcorn with (of course) zero calories.

Cholesterol reading anyone?