Saturday, April 23, 2005

Not "Haw" as in "Hee Haw"

I'd like to say that I always know what I'm eating. Well, at least the general ingredients. I may not know everything that goes into a hot dog, for example, but I do know that aside from all the preservatives, sodium, etc. that a hot dog is generally made of beef, pork or turkey parts.

So I was surprised to find out that there is indeed one food item whose main ingredient I am unsure of. As I was walking down the snack aisle of a Chinese grocery store, I came across something very nostalgic to me--something my grandmother used to always have at her house to give us kids. There they were, piled in a cardboard box with a handwritten sign sticking out that read both in English and in Chinese: "Haw Flakes, 3 for $2.00" Packages of stumpy little tubes wrapped in colorful paper which, when unwrapped, reveal reddish-brown nickel-sized discs that taste sort of like fruit roll-ups but with a dry, crumbly texture. So what are they? Well, truthfully, I don't really know.

Actually, I didn't know until now. I brought a package of these home, and as I unwrapped one of the tubes and popped a few of the discs into my mouth, I stopped to ponder the ingredients of this childhood favorite. As a young'un, I never bothered to ask Grandma what they were. They were just good, is all I cared about back then. Hmm, well maybe the ingredients will clue me in to what this mystery food is made of. Ok, here we go. Ingredients: Haw, Sugar, Water, U.S.A. FD&C Red #40. No good.

I know what sugar is, and I know what water is. Heck, I even know what FD&C Red #40 is. But what the hell is "Haw"? I was determined to get an answer, so I turned to my trusty old friend the World Wide Web. Turns out that haw are the berries from the hawthorn plant, a small flowering tree with thorns.

Am I satisfied now? I'm not really sure. I was actually kinda hoping that haw was something a little more exciting and exotic like some rare fungus that you can only get in the mountains of China. But then again they wouldn't be so cheap, huh? Maybe ignorance is bliss. *Eh*, whatever, I've gotta go. I've got 9 more tubes of Haw Flakes to eat.


Simon said...

Pam, I am digging your blog. It takes an open-minded eater to have shepherd's pie and haw flakes on the same page.

Happy eating,

Simon aka Low End Theory

elmomonster said...

I used to be the Haw dealer at my elementary school. As the only Asian kid in an almost all-white neighborhood, I brought stacks of these things to school from the Asian supermarket and sold them for a few cents profit. My white friends seemed to like them as much I did.

No one (myself included) could figure out what the hell a "haw" was though.

Anonymous said...

ahaha :) came across your blog searching for calories in hawflakes. Reading your blogpost made me think, yeah! my grandmother had tons of these things at her place too! haha ! I guess the taste of these things really is nostalgic. :) I'm eating them as I type this comment. they are addictive aren;t they?! and btw, i HOPE these things are healthier than fruit rollups :x

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Anonymous said...

I'm french and I searched informations about this candies (but the Haw Balls). FD&C Red 40 is a red azo dye. It isn't really dangerous ( Not dangerous because it doesn't give the cancer (if I understood correctly). But, before, Ponceau 4R was used. More informations

So, we can eat this, doesn't ?