The Fun Zone


I suppose there could conceivably be better things than sitting in your backyard on a beautiful early summer evening, smoking a cigar and drinking an ice-cold Budweiser, eating heaping handfuls of wasabi peas and following your favorite baseball team on your ESPN iPhone app . . . but I can’t think of what they might be right now.

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

The other day I was hungry.  So what else is new?

On the counter I noticed some green and white balls.  They looked like candy.  The Leader likes candy.  Sometimes she will get it, and sometimes she will leave it where Kasey and I can get it.  It’s why we love the Leader.

So I got my paws up on the counter and knocked them down.  Then I had a few quick bites before the Leader could stop me.  Kasey came running, and she ate a bunch of them, too.  But these things weren’t candy.  Instead, they made my mouth feel hotter than the hottest summer day.  I went to water bowl and slurped up as much cool water as I could to try to get the hot feeling out of my mouth.  Then Kasey came running in and drank a lot of water, too.

It turns out that the old boring guy likes these things.  Why would anyone like these things?  They aren’t sweet, and they aren’t meat.  The old boring guy is weird.

My Latest Food Addiction

I’ve been trying to eat healthier, and I’ve found the perfect food — wasabi peas.

Bear with me here.  First of all, you start with the fact that you are eating peas.  Peas!  They are a green vegetable, last time I checked, so closely associated with good eating that mothers hectoring their children to “eat your peas” has become part of American lore.  If your latest food addiction involves eating peas in somewhat modified form, you are off to a good start.  The fact that the peas are dried and are there mainly to serve as the launching pad for wasabi doesn’t remove the checkmark from the healthy eating box.

And what about wasabi?  It’s made from a plant, too, of the same family that includes horseradish and mustard.  Plus, it’s Japanese in origin, which almost by definition means it’s healthy, right up there with sushi and sashimi.  Wasabi’s fiery taste and burn clears sinuses better than Vicks Vaporub, and doesn’t leave you smelling like the filter of a menthol cigarette, either.  The sinus-clearing effect, obviously, further enhances the healthy impact of the peas.

And finally, the combination of the crunch of the dried peas, and the sharp taste of the wasabi, makes wasabi peas the perfect food to accompany a cold beer.  We know that beer has a crucial impact on the development of civilization and was a healthier beverage for our ancient ancestors than water from often fouled, disease-ridden waterways.

So there you have it — a healthy food trifecta that is so addicting I could eat my weight of the little volcanic nuggets and burn permanent holes in my stomach lining.  O, happy coincidence!