“It’s been a while since I showed up on the blog,” I say to Hal, my amazing gourmet-chef boyfriend from the novel we both appear in, Honest And For True. “In fact, I don’t think you ever have.”
Hal appears puzzled. “Is there a special occasion to explain why we’re here now?”
“Because I’ve been thinking about Jane’s blog post from a while ago,” I say while Hal takes a seat at the table. “She claims those fruit snack thingies aren’t really food.”
He huffs. “She’s right. And speaking of things that aren’t food, what are you doing with those?”
I look at the package of Oreo Double-Stuffs in my hand. “In my ignorance, I thought we might eat them.”
When he flinches, I add, “Don’t tell me you’re one of those lunatics who thinks there’s only one right way to eat an Oreo?”
“There is only one right way. It involves eating a different cookie.” He removes one of the Oreos from the package and unscrews the top, then peels the white filling out of the center. As he passes the trash can on the way to the sink, he drops in the chocolate cookies. He lays the cream filling in the sink and then turns on the hot water full blast.
Okay, now that’s bizarre. “What are we doing?”
He folds his arms. “About four years ago, my sister saddled me with one of those quarter-pounder sized Oreos with enough filling to give anyone a headache for a year — ”
Oh my God, I have to get one of those!
” — so I scraped out the center to wash it down the drain.” Hal glances at the sink. “I’m repeating the experiment.”
A word about my apartment: in the basement is the boiler from when our brownstone was first constructed, back in the day when they used steel instead of aluminum foil, an era when builders thought it necessary that any single boiler should be able to heat not only its own house but every other house on the block. It gives my little mechanic’s heart joy when I venture into the basement to witness this relic chugging away, dreaming of an alternate reality where it could have propelled a freight train across the continent.
Within five minutes, my kitchen is so full of steam that we can’t see one another. Using a hot-pad, I turn the handle to shut off the water.
When the steam clears, we peer into the sink to find a perfect circle of Oreo filling.
Hm. This is a revolting development.
“So you see,” says Hal, “it’s not actually food.”
I murmur, “It’s indestructible?” When Hal nods, I say, “If I eat enough of this, I’ll never age!”
“That wasn’t exactly my point — ” he’s saying, but I think he’s onto something. Oreo filling, fruit snacks — and a boiler that will still be chugging away five hundred years from now, keeping us all warm while we eat things that are not food.