Some scones icing-less, Blue Bean still satisfies
Sanjay Paul

The article appeared in The Etownian, Jan. 30, 2008.

Several months ago, shortly after the Blue Bean had opened for business, I had suggested to the proprietor that the café might consider adding scones to its repertoire, a suggestion they had, to my delight, acceded to with alacrity. Less to my delight, however, I discovered that you must be careful what you wish for, since in short order the cafe was not only selling scones, but scones with icing on them. It was a bitter(sweet) lesson on the power of market forces—the interested reader is invited to peruse the recounting of the saga in the framed article that hangs from the column in front of the cafe counter.

But had things changed since then? Was the Blue Bean still being inundated with requests for the iced scones, rather than the plain ones that I (and it appeared, only I) preferred?

The matter is of more than academic interest. What our students are eating is perhaps revealing of society’s tastes—and the attendant health effects. A recent book (“Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America” by Morgan Spurlock) describes the perils of eating only McDonald’s food—the intrepid author, relying solely on the fast food icon’s menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner for an entire month, found himself a few pounds heavier at the end of the ordeal. What long-term ailments now threaten the gentleman’s health remains a matter of conjecture (and a research project for his doctors?), but undoubtedly, the experience, replete as it was with calories and fat (and a total lack of exercise), must not have been entirely beneficial.

Meanwhile, fears about obesity, fueled in large part by sizable portions and fatty foods, continue to mount. Americans visiting France cannot help noticing the svelte figure of the locals (and their higher life expectancy); not coincidentally perhaps, the French McDonald’s outlets (of which there are many, notwithstanding France’s ostensible disdain for American capitalism) sell burgers and sandwiches that are smaller than their American counterparts—and with far less mayo slathered on them.

Back to the Blue Bean. On a recent morning, as I stopped by to pick up a scone, I was surprised to note that on the platter rested not just the iced ones but a couple of plain ones as well. Upon further inquiry, I learned that there are two other people on campus (students? faculty? staff?) who prefer the un-iced scone. While the majority of customers still hanker for the iced scone (to accompany their elaborately concocted drinks), there are apparently three souls on campus who are holding out grimly for the unadorned (and marginally less sweet) variety. One wonders: Is a therapy group in the offing?

Of course, the keen reader might have already noted an incongruity here. Do scones, even plain ones, make for a healthy breakfast?

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