A. J. Windless 
Men in Chocolate Coats
Men in Chocolate Coats
Any food that I like exceptionally well always seems to disappear from the market place. That has been the case for decades, but since I have come to Thailand, it seems even more obvious. 1) Ms. Sasa's brownies were the best brownies in the whole world. First they changed their recipe, then their shops vanished altogether. 2) I thought Pizza Company's lasagna was the most delicious I had ever tasted. Yet for some strange reason they wiped lasagna off of their menu. About a year later they brought it back, but the recipe had changed, and it was just the same boring stuff that most other restaurants serve. 3) Mrs. Fields bakes semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies that taste just like the ones my mom used to pull out of our oven when I was a kid. I was delighted when Mrs. Fields came to Bangkok. A year or two later, I turned around one day, and she was gone. 4) To appease my craving for semi-sweet chocolate I decided to make my own treats. For years now I have been heating a piece of Van Houten dark chocolate on an Oreo cookie in in my toaster oven for 2 or 3 minutes, just enough to start to melt the chocolate. It's even better if you can add a slice of banana as pictured above. About twice a day I devour 3 of these cookies and it gives me a boost that makes life worth living. However, with no warning whatsoever, Van Houten has changed their wrapper to a more colorful, albeit, low budget looking design. They added a "Cookies" flavor, but nowhere to be seen is their "Dark Chocolate" flavor. At this point I told my friends I was going contract out as Thailand's premier taste tester.  Before any company launches a new product it is highly advisable that they first consult with me. They might save themselves an enormous amount of investment money since I am the ultimate anti-taster. If I like it, you know it has no future. Only a week or so after I bore solemn witness to my friends of what was going on, my favorite peanut butter, Peter Pan, ceased to exist. And now, adding insult to injury, my sesame shrimp is gone! Of all things, my sesame shrimp! For about three years Sizzler had a Wednesday night special that included smoked pork sausage and sesame shrimp. It was the perfect plate! I would dip a slice of my smoked pork sausage into their black pepper gravy and savor it. After that I would dip a sesame shrimp into their cocktail sauce. I decided that switching back and forth like that, contrasting the flavors, was an exquisite experience. Then Sizzler dropped sesame shrimp from their combination platter. When I came in they ever so politely advised me that I could order the the smoked pork sausage in combination with the "pork steak". I pleaded with the manager that I was trying to lose weight and that the pork steak would make me fat. Thankfully, she understood that I was Sizzler's most frequent customer  and made an exception for me. For three more years I kept going back to that same location because it was the only Sizzler in town that would give me sesame shrimp on Wednesdays. They say all good things come to an end. It's true, our wonderful relationship has now been interrupted. The manager informed me that she could no longer give me sesame shrimp for the simple reason that Sizzler no longer carried it. I have now come to the conclusion that all of this is a conspiracy (ask a couple of my former co-workers, they will tell you all about conspiracies, lots of laughs.) There is a conspiracy behind closed doors that is determined to keep me from eating anything I would really enjoy. In fact, I'll bet you twenty baht that these products I am missing haven't been removed from the entire country. I think they have only been removed from the stores that I go to. I believe people in black coats just follow me around and call ahead to the stores that I am going to, warning them that I am coming. "Hurry, hurry, get that dark chocolate off the shelf! He will be there in ten minutes!"
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