Cumberland Times-News

September 7, 2013

You ever tried to cut one of these in half?

Jim Goldsworthy, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News

— There’s a common saying you probably have heard in one version or another (and they usually are unprintable, so I will let you fill in the blanks):

“That’s about as useless as (____) on a (____).”

One of the more useless things I’ve run across lately is the listing of nutrition facts on a package of M&M®s.

I mean, come on. It’s chocolate candy. People who eat candy aren’t going to care about the calorie, fat gram or fiber content of what they’re about to snarf down.

If they care about anything, it’s probably the reassuring idea that M&M®s melt in your mouth, and not in your hand.

M&M®s were introduced in 1941 and sold to the military for inclusion in ration packages. Soldiers who served in warm climates probably appreciated chocolate that was still in manageable condition by the time they opened their vittles.

My package of M&M®s contains 3.14 ounces or 89 grams of product (at least it did before I got hold of it), and it’s described as a “Sharing Size” that contains two servings.

One of my co-workers gave it to me in appreciation because I sent two of his pages to the processing machinery after he went home.

He didn’t need to do that. We copy editors in Dilbertville (we work in cubicles) do this for each other all the time, but I thanked him for it and said I appreciated the gesture.

A former graphics artist of ours who was — and still is — as cute as a whole row of buttons reminded me some time back that she and I occasionally shared packages of M&M®s.

It was a chance encounter, and she asked if I had any M&M®s. Unfortunately, I did not. Giving chocolate in any form to a woman can have beneficial results — a pretty smile, at least.

The containers of candy or most other consumables contain nutrition information because the Yankee Government requires it.

It IS useful to know the alcohol content of your beer. Beer that contains 12 percent alcohol packs a more significant wallop than 3.2-percent beer.

This is something I discovered during a fishing trip to Canada in the early 1970s, and the information would have proved useful to one of my buddies.

During the course of a single evening, he drank six Canadian 12-percent ales, which put together contained roughly the same amount of alcohol in a 24-can/bottle case of what we were used to drinking in West Virginia.

Those six Labatt 50s did the same thing to him that my cousin Thomas Jonathan Jackson did to the Yankees at Chancellorsville.

The Federals were relaxing at night around their campfires, recovering from the day’s battle while eating dinner, smoking their pipes and doing whatever, when deer began running out of the woods like all the hounds of Hell were after them ... which they in fact were.

The Stonewall Brigade’s cavalry emerged next, whooping and shooting at full gallop.

As Jimmy Hatlo used to say, That’s When The Fun Began.

The Labatt Cavalry sprang unexpectedly upon my buddy and kicked his (beast of burden) in similar fashion. He backed up to his bed, dropped his pants, sat down and kept on going. We lifted his legs onto the bed, turned him 90 degrees and covered him with a blanket.

My buddy backed up to his bed, dropped his pants, sat down on the bed and kept on going. We lifted his legs onto the bed, turning him 90 degrees, and covered him with a blanket.

He remained that way until morning, when he regained consciousness and began to wonder what Leviathan had thrashed him.

Thanks to the Yankee Government, we know (if we bother to look) that a 3.14-ounce (89-gram) package of M&M®s contains two servings of 45 grams each that provide 220 calories (80 from fat), 32 grams of carbohydrates, and so on.

I hear you. If there are 89 grams total, how can you have two 45-gram servings? And how do you divvy it up? Do you count the pieces? The package doesn’t say how many there are. If there is an uneven number, do you cut one of them in half? Good luck with that.

(How can you tell if a blonde is baking chocolate-chip cookies? There are M&M shells all over the kitchen.)

There also is 1 gram of fiber per serving, which amounts to 4 percent of the recommended daily value. By my calculations, eating 12 1/2 sharing-size packages of M&M®s, would give you 100 percent of your daily fiber needs — not something I would recommend.

Tacked to my wall at Dilbertville is an item I ran across some years ago. I have no idea where it came from.

Wine and coffee tasters take a sip of product and then inhale through their mouths, aerating it while letting it contact each of the different taste-bud areas in their mouths. This does work, but try not to breathe in too vigorously.

Here are the instructions for tasting Life Savers Five Flavor candy.

1. Good Looks: Don’t forget to consider the color of the Life Savers candy. Think about whether the flavor you’re sampling has the right flavor and color to be to be considered for the top five. Is this Life Savers piece a finalist for the Life Savers final-five combination?

2. First Impressions: The most important quality of a Life Savers is its flavor. When sampling a Life Savers candy, place the candy piece on your tongue and note its initial taste.

3. Mouth Maneuvers: When tasting Life Savers candy, roll the candy piece around in your mouth to allow your taste buds to appreciate the final quality of that particular flavor. Not everyone eats a Life Savers candy the same way. 19% of consumers bite their Life Savers, while 74% suck them. Others try to stick their tongue in the hole. Feel free to eat Life Savers candies whichever way you prefer.

Folks, that is exactly how you eat Life Savers. I will reserve further comment, save to say that I prefer the basic mint-flavored versions. You can form your own opinion.

Like the lawyers say about certain forms of evidence, it speaks for itself.