Today, Good Friday, marks the start of a very special season: Reeses Peanut Butter Seasonal Product Hoarding Season.
The women in my natal family are unapologetic Reeses eaters. Always have been, always will be. But my mother, sister and I rarely stoop to the bright orange and brown two-pack available near the checkout at grocery stores. We reserve our affections for the Reeses Christmas trees, the Valentines hearts, and especially the Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs that started it all at Easter time, lo these many years ago.
See, these bigger products have a better peanut-to-chocolate ratio than the flimsy little cups, a heartier peanut flavor. And everyone knows that peanut butter is protein, so there is an argument to be made that eating a Reeses Egg for lunch is nutritionally balanced. I should know. I make that argument a lot between February and April.
As soon as the Christmas goods were taken off store shelves, the heart-shaped Valentine’s Day model appeared, joined a week or two later by the flagship model: the Easter Egg. It must be noted that back when the Easter Egg was still the only game in town, my sister wrote Reeses a letter suggesting a Christmas tree-shaped version. She received a terse note back in which the company wanted to make it crystal clear that if they chose to release a product like that, she was NOT the source of the idea. Guess what hit the grocery aisles that December? Even so, we couldn’t stay mad about the Reeses Peanut Trees, because boycotting them would only hurt us.
Even if those products have been on shelves since last December, the real season doesn’t start until today, and here’s why: holiday Reeses taste much better when they are purchased from the Clearance aisle. I learned early that the moment you stumble across a pile of Reese’s 6-pack Valentine’s Hearts and it’s marked at 99 cents for the WHOLE PACK, your enjoyment factor climbs by 150%.
But won’t they get stale? Not hardly! Stick those 6-packs in the freezer and on a July day when you’re feeling too lazy to make a sandwich, unwrap one and savor the juxtaposition of a cold, sweet, salty crunch of a frozen heart against the oppression of hot day.
If you ever go to a movie with my mother, there are three things you can be assured will happen. She will sit in the last aisle of the theater. She will complain about the people around her loudly slurping sodas or crunching popcorn. And at some point mid-screening, she will nudge your arm and silently hand over a Reeses heart, egg, or tree that has just defrosted in her purse.
So while other people celebrate the Easter season through egg hunts and roast lamb dinners, you’ll find me glorifying God and peanut butter at the drugstore, in the candy Discount aisle.
Back in the ’80s, before Match.com, most couples met when walking down the street listening to cassette Walkmans, absentmindedly eating foodstuffs, and then colliding. Good times.