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.