Sweets & Treats

Mannersmith Consultant Winston Jenkins penned this Mannersmith Monthly in between putting the finishing touches on her costume and mapping out her trick-or-treating route.

Fall is my favorite time of year. For the most part the hot and humid days of summer are over (at least in New England), school is back in session, co-workers are back from vacation, and the local farmers' markets have all sorts of delicious and bountiful fruits and vegetables. Yes, the farmers' markets are full, yet my mind turns to the sweets and treats of the season. Here is a primer for how to appropriately devour the spoils of Halloween and a variety of other confections.

General Confectionary Eating Guidelines:

  • Gum Chewing - Lets face it, chewing gum can be quite fun. The repetitive munching is rather satisfying. There are a variety of textures and flavors, some release a great big flavorful liquid as you take your first bite, and you can pop bubbles or just chew. However, as with many things, gum chewing should be left to only the most specific of situations. Preferably you should chew gum when you are alone, or for young children who are playing together and want to compare how big they can make their bubbles, or on a plane during take-off and landing. Thus, in general, one should refrain from chewing in public. This includes in the office, on the train/bus, or when in the company of others. Clearly, there is never gum in classrooms. This includes college lecture halls. The view of someone's jaw grinding away and the sound of popping can be very distracting to others.

  • Cotton Candy - Fall is filled with all sorts of carnivals and activity based fundraisers for schools, churches and synagogues. The big fluffy pink (and sometimes blue) clouds of sugary confection on a stick are just too tempting to pass up. So go ahead and enjoy this treat but proceed with caution. First, being in large crowds, you want to keep the cotton candy close to your body as to avoid getting it onto others. You certainly do not want their hair in your cotton candy and certainly they do not want your cotton candy in their hair! As for eating sugar on a stick, you may remove a piece with your tongue, if you are the only one eating it. Or if you are sharing, remove pieces using your thumb and index finger. Regardless, make sure to wash your hands (and wipe your mouth) afterward as you do not want to pass sticky sugar on to others!

  • Ice Cream - We adore ice cream! But as with all delicious treats, ice cream must be consumed in moderation for health reasons alone. If you go out for an ice cream cone with loved ones, you may taste each other's ice cream cone, after asking, of course! However, this very well may cause alarm in others who may or may not be comfortable swapping germs with you. For these situations, tasting takes place when the ice cream is served. The mannerly sharing technique is best done with a clean spoon regardless if the ice cream is in a cup or a cone. Not sure which flavor you like best? Better to ask the scooper for a taste than to sneak samples from your friends.

  • Popcorn & Chips - It is so much fun to crunch and crunch and crunch on various flavors and varieties of popcorn, corn chips, potato chips and rice chips. We eat these treats with our sandwiches at lunch and while watching movies either in the theater or at someone's home. Sometimes we even eat them while walking down the street. But as always there are some guidelines. Do take appropriate bite sizes. By doing so you will still be able to enjoy the crunching sensation while chewing with your mouth closed. And you will not disturb others around you with incessant crunching and smacking noises. Because we eat these delicious treats with our fingers, make sure that you wipe your fingers on a napkin or better yet, wash your hands if a restroom is available.

  • Halloween Candy - Just think about all the delicious, and plentiful, kinds of candy there is during Halloween! Candies in all shapes and sizes, chocolates, caramels and sugar in many forms. Few days thrill children as much as Halloween; up late, outside in the dark after dinner, hanging in their neighborhoods, dressed in costume, and given candy till they can not carry any more. Here are some helpful hints for Halloween:

    • Children, depending on your age and the size of your neighborhood you may go with or without your parents, but always in a group. Remember manners matter, but safety first. Be sure to wear white and/or reflective gear, watch for cars, and always stick together!
    • Adults, you may celebrate by attending Halloween parties given by your neighbors and friends. When sweets are involved, moderation is key.
    • When trick-or-treating, always be polite. Say "please," take just one piece of an individually wrapped piece of candy, and remember to say "thank you" before running to the next door. If the homeowner insists, you make take another.
    • Occasionally you will find surprises other than candy. From stickers and toys to change and toothbrushes, all Halloween treats are gratefully and graciously accepted and their givers appropriately thanked.
    • Once home, take a moment to inspect your haul. Eliminate anything in-appropriate. You may want to barter with your brother or share with your sister. Be sure to donate to dads and moms who helped take you around. After a nibble or two, sort which can be frozen for later and which can be stored. You will want to consume your treats over a period of time so as not to get a stomachache.
So go forth and enjoy all that Fall has to offer. And even amongst all these delicious treats, remember to frequent your local farmers' markets and consume good amounts of fruits and vegetables to balance out your sweets and treats of the season.