Grocery stores overlook no space that can be used for product placement.

This is why when you walk into the Kroger foyer, before you even work to wrench your stuck cart from the train, you see multiple displays of high-carb sugary foods. This is to stop the shopper in her tracks to say, “Well, I certainly didn’t have jalapeno chocolate Fritos on my list, but I believe now that I absolutely must try them.”

I fell for the technique yesterday.

Before I could get through the second set of double doors and turn left toward fresh produce there they were: Maple Pecan Baked Puffs. The battle was over before it began.

My maple habit

You see, my family knows that I’m a sucker for anything maple flavored or maple frosted. Word in the Presson household is that if you put maple frosting on a brick Ramon will eat it. That’s absurd! I would just lick the maple frosting off the brick. Geesh, I’m not a pig.

A few summers ago, my wife and I were vacationing in Maine and New Hampshire where maple syrup runs like water in the streets. In the upper New England states you can find entire tourist trap stores stocked from floor to ceiling with maple flavored and maple themed products. It can be a bit overwhelming, and the details aren’t important, but The Maple Moose in Easton, Maine has a restraining order on me. I don’t really know what happened because I blacked out after consuming two pounds of maple fudge and a six-pack of maple beer while we were in line at the register.

I’m sorry, I can’t help it. Waving anything maple flavored in front of me is like dangling a slab of raw bacon in front of a bear, or waving a heaping plate of fried bacon in front of Jim Gaffigan.

Narnia reimagined

Do you remember in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe when Edmund was overcome by the witch’s tempting offer of a sweet treat called Turkish Delight? If author C.S. Lewis had written me into Edmund’s character the scene would have gone down like this.

The Queen of Narnia ordered Ramon to come sit next to her in her grand sled. He declined.

“But look,” said the Queen, “I have delicious hot cocoa and Turkish Delight.”

“No thanks,” Ramon said. “I don’t really care for hot chocolate and Turkey Delight sounds like something that tastes like Spam. I’ll pass.”

“Not, TURKEY Delight, you fool. TURKISH Delight. It’s a dessert.”

“Nah, not interested.”

“OK, Ramon … how about a lukewarm maple latte and a plate of stale brownies with maple frosting?”

“Lady, you’re more pale than Edgar Winter in a snow storm and spookier than Kanye West off his meds; but you had me at maple something. Move over and I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Food enhancement

I believe there’s no food that cannot be made better or at least made edible with either maple syrup, maple frosting, or artificial maple flavoring.

When I was a kid my mother could get me to eat absolutely any vegetable if she put enough Cheez Whiz on it. But I’ve matured since then and I don’t need melted cheese on any of my vegetables … especially since I discovered that enough maple syrup can hide the true taste of kale, cauliflower, or spinach.

The Pumpkin Spice epidemic

Oh, don’t judge me, especially you Pumpkin Spice people.

The only thing I like about winter is that we finally get a break from pumpkin spice flavored EVERYTHING. Comedienne Heather Land (see https://bit.ly/2B7Gwl0) and I are allies in the war against pumpkin spice. I believe some things in life are sacred, which is why I filed a class action lawsuit against Nabisco for pumpkin spice Oreos.

Based on what I saw in the stores and restaurants this past fall I’d say the Pumpkin Growers Association is now a stronger and more successful lobbying outfit than the NRA, drug companies, and Exxon Mobil combined. Back in October I was getting the oil changed in my Camry and the guy at Jiffy Lube asked if I wanted regular oil or synthetic oil. I replied, “You don’t have pumpkin spice?”

But I have to imagine that pumpkin spice executives are sweating a strange shade of orange because there’s a new kid in town that threatens to take over the top spot for all things infused and flavored.

That’s right, I’m talking about CBD oil.

It’s suddenly everywhere. And if you can’t find your favorite product (cough drops, shampoo, soap, skin lotion, car wax) with CBD oil already in it, then you can simply add a few CBD drops to it yourself. I’m a bit skeptical of the hype so I have yet to try any CBD products. But if someone comes out with a maple-flavored CBD oil …

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at

ramonpresson@gmail.com. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson

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