When I was little, my mother kept a very strict rule for us children around snacking. Unlike at my friends’ house where snacks of all kinds including potato chips and chocolates were readily available all through the day, at my home, our snack was provided only once a day in the afternoon. The content of our snack was always the same – two pieces of McVitie’s chocolate biscuits with a cup of milk tea.
For somebody like me, who was extremely interested in food and eating, the amount of the snack was far from satisfactory. Knowing how meaningless it was to negotiate against my mother especially when she had a strict rule around something, I never asked for more. But as my mother carefully tucked away the rest of the biscuits, my eyes always followed the move of her hand longingly until finally the box of biscuits was taken away from my sight.
Once the illusion of having more biscuits on my plate was completely destroyed for the day, I would turn to the two round chocolate biscuits on my plate. I then placed one biscuit right next to the other so that they looked like a snowman.
“Snowman, snowman, snow-man!” I sang as I cherished the moment observing every single detail of the biscuits. Even though they were factory products and looked exactly the same from each other, if I looked carefully enough, I could always find a few places where the chocolate pattern was uneven. I loved discovering those.
When the singing and observation were done, I would then turn my attention to the plate. My plate was a plastic plate designed for young children, and its round edge had a print of different snack items – a piece of cake, a candy cane, a fruit, a biscuit, and so on. I sang another song, with each syllable moving my finger from one object to the next, until finally the song came to an end and my finger settled on one of the snack items. It was a meaningless game, but I still enjoyed it, imagining those snack items in my head.
When this game was also done, I finally took my first bite from one of the biscuits. After each bite, I sipped my milk tea, observing the reflection of my face on the tea surface. This was my favourite part, to feel the chocolate biscuit melt in my mouth with the hot milk tea. One small bite from the biscuit, then one sip of tea. Within no time, I would finish the last piece and find my plate empty.
Sadly, no matter how much I strove to make the moment last longer, the snack time always seemed to end far too quickly. And I found myself already thinking about the two pieces of chocolate biscuits I was going to eat the next day.