Moving down here, or to any new city, is akin to starting a popular television series midway through the fifth season. People have a frame of reference, a casual one, that pops up in their interactions and mannerisms and are typically surprised when you don’t catch on. Or when they find out that you don’t have a TV. That’s where things get weird.
Case in point: I’m in a gas station. I see cookies. Uncle Al’s Stage Planks. They look antiquated and curious. I do not know who Uncle Al is. I do not know what makes these stage planks, and yet, when I brought them to the cash register, putting the 59 cent price on my credit card, the cashier nodded wisely and said, “Have you tried the banana planks?” No. I have not. I don’t know what banana planks are, and whether or not they are flavored like bananas as these are flavored like stages, or if they are shaped like bananas in the same way these apparently resemble stage planks. I have questions that I want to ask but I don’t know where to start. Had I told her I’d just deflowered my palate with turnip greens she might have referred me to the local social services.Arkansas is presenting itself to be a friendly, curious place in this respect- the Cougartown to my Community, and I am its Abed, soaking up as much of it as I can and possibly peeing myself in the process. These cookies looked strange but were delightful, with a strong spiced flavor complemented by the icing, pink-tinged anise thinly glazed over the top. The cookies had a lingering ginger and allspice edge to them that made them feel wintry, but on a cold summer evening, they weren’t half bad. My sole complaint lies in the texture- they appear as if they were discontinued in the mid-1950’s and the texture lends weight to that assumption. The cookies are hard and crispy, almost too hard, though this makes me curious as to how they would stand up to a cold glass of milk. Not a bad snack. Not a bad cookie. A very good state.