A Letter to my Justin’s Maple Almond Butter

I’m sorry.

For my childhood. For my young, 10 year-old corn-syrup-addicted tastebuds for rejecting your chocolate hazelnut butter, refusing to accept the natural sweetness and nuttiness. I was too caught up in the marketing of Nutella, McDonalds and Froot Loops. Otherwise known as Sugarland to trick kids into believing fast food deserves the popularity they do today.

But I understand now. It wasn’t until I recovered from my soda addiction when I discovered your true colors. You were never “gritty sand in a jar”, you were nourishing for the body and soul. You were just trying to be healthy! And it wasn’t until my love for almond butter sky-rocketed when I found my new drug.

Every day I walk towards the fridge, knowing you sit snuggled in the shelf waiting for me. I think to myself, “I can’t! I already had over two tablespoons yesterday. I need to save up.” I peel the door open and glance at the rainbow array of watermelon, blueberries, plums, peaches, figs, mangoes and nectarines (might as well be a fruitarian over the summer, eh?). I am aware that you’re proudly waiting for me to pick you up. I clench my fists for self-control. Discipline, Cassie. Remember a year ago, trying to lose the last five pounds? This applies to saving seven dollars from your next grocery shopping trip! I take out a tub of yogurt to create a fruit parfait. Wouldn’t it taste so good with cacao powder, almonds, coconut shavings, a sliced plum, and………some maple almond butter? I slap my hand that makes the slightest twitch towards you. Scolding myself seldom dilutes your beauty.

My hands can’t resist. I take the jar and screw off the lid, staring into the endless pit of your beautiful spread. I inhale deeply to indulge in your sweet, toasted buttery scent, hoping that my nutty-fatty cravings disappear (hey, it worked with bananas, so might as well try it with almond butter?). Surprisingly, with the maple-sugary smell, I can recall your crumbly, silky texture rubbing onto the back of my favorite World Market spoon as I slide part of you onto a vibrant half of a fig, no goat cheese or honey needed. I imagine taking a bite, with the fresh tang of the fig juice marry perfectly with your sweetness n’ saltiness.

Next thing I knew, I put the jar back on the shelf, chop up a nectarine and layer my parfait, sans Justin’s. I feel accomplished. Strong and in-control. See? If you really put your mind to it, you can do anything! I nod proudly as I finish my last spoonful of Greek yogurt. When I open the fridge to store the last of the blueberries, there you sit, staring at me pleadingly, about to cry. I tell myself I won’t eat you if I put my spoon in the sink. My eyes glance over my shoulder. One word comes up: dammit.

I yield there and then. My spoon dives in for a swim. I lift you to my mouth and shut my eyes. I don’t bother to look into the jar when my satiety signals approach my stomach. A crushing wave of disappointment overcomes me. I curse myself for being submissive to my cravings, and you for manipulating my self-control. I pierce you down. You’re a conniving cheat as deceiving as my old not-so-sweet friend Nutella, plus you made my teeth all sticky. I slam the fridge and run outside to jog. That jog becomes a hard angry run. Within steps as I walk out the door, I feel my heart sink resentfully all the way to the pit of my stomach, but my brain tells me I’ve done enough damage. I proceed.

I arrive home, sweaty, sore and high on endorphins. I think to myself: God, I need breakfast. Not until I open the fridge again do I remember how I cruelly slammed the door in front of your face. My head tilts as I look at you, ready to forgive me. I sigh to myself. You beckon me to come hither.

Thirty minutes later, I wake up. Another food coma again? I scan the table to see a licked clean smoothie bowl. But the important part is that you’re empty. Void of deliciousness. I cannot believe myself. Did I really finish a third of a jar in one sitting? It’s an unfair game and I’ve lost again. You glance at me and wink.

I’ve given up, really. You’ve made me terribly hypocritical of everything I’ve believed in when I said you can train your tastebuds not to want certain foods anymore. Less than 24 hours without you, I go crazy. We might as well just get married already. Like P!nk said, I hate you so much that I think it’s true love.

Cassie Tran

P.S. I think we look really good in the above picture, don’t you think?

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