Oh, give me a MI-DEL graham cracker and I’ll be a happy lady. They’re brutal! Even calling them “honey” grahams is misleading – they’re barely sweet and excellent with savory toppings; a bit of triple-cream brie and a piece of salmon? Ugh, stop. But I’d never try to pass off a s’more made with a MI-DEL graham. It’d be worse than going to that birthday party where someone sweetened the cake with beet juice, you know, it’s fine while you’re there but when you get home you have to make a sandwich out of brown sugar Pop Tarts, Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting and thinly sliced gummy bears. You know, to get your blood sugar back up to a workable level.
Anyway, I love the MI-DEL a lot, but they’re a little pricey (I’ve never found them for less than $4 and often as much as $6 a box) and wouldn’t turn down the idea of a cheap alternative. I don’t know why I do this. Both Mike and my mom have the same response, which is to roll their eyes at me. Is it worth saving $2 to bust your nuts finding a MI-DEL analog? No? Then stop it and shell out the money. Still, when I saw a box of grahams at Trader Joe’s I bought it without really thinking about it. It wasn’t until I got home that I became uncomfortably aware that the label design was a little too Laurel Burch¹. OMINOUS MUSIC.
I knew from the moment I picked one up that I was going to be angry. And sad. And then angry again. Never in my life have I seen such an airy, smooth, crispy graham cracker. This is the bottom, sure, but it was wrong. I could tell. One bite confirmed: this is a cookie. A super-sweet, mostly characterless and brittle cookie. No. Stop.
Also! A Trader Joe’s follow-up to this fairly popular rant of mine regarding the solicitors outside: I wrote a somewhat less pissy and more straightforward version that was actually sent to TJ’s proper, and received word back from them. Here’s part of it:
“At this location the solicitors are on public property. At this time there are no laws or avenues for us to work with the local government to eliminate these folks. We are simply unable to make any changes. We diligently work to keep them off our property and this is a daily battle. At this location we have security guards present in the lot to help with this matter. Please accept our apology. We too wish they would not be there and are thankful that you continue to shop with us. If ever an opportunity arises for us to change the circumstances we will surely jump on it.”
I like the phrase “eliminate these folks”. Friendly, but terrifying. I call beef on their claim of “security guards”, though — there are men dressed curiously like forest rangers who walk around the entrance, but I’ve never even heard them speak let alone confront the solicitors. Anyway, this is 100% true: two days later as I walked into TJ’s the sidewalk is now painted in bright red-and-white: “DO NOT BLOCK THIS AREA”. The entire sidewalk! It’s hilarious. Even more hilarious was the pissy Doctors Without Borders solicitor standing directly on it who snarled at me “Do you ever wonder what it would be like to not be able to see a doctor, not even for a broken arm?”
The following conversation is truly as close to the original as I can recall:
me: “Fuck you.”
And, scene. This is why I’m not allowed out of the house.
¹ You should know that two of my favorite pairs of earrings are early Laurel Burch pieces, before the 80′s when she realized that making rainbow psychedelic cat jewelry for elementary school teachers and pediatric nurses would make her a rich woman.July 21st, 2010 | Food Rant