Pure pork fat covered in chocolate…yum.yum

Pure pork fat covered in chocolate – does it get much better than that? A Ukrainian chocolate factory apparently doesn’t think so.  This is their newest offering.  In what can only be called a truth in advertising campaign, the name of their product is “Fat in Chocolate”.

It’s true that life’s greatest pleasures are its simplest, isn’t it?  Just plain old Fat in Chocolate.  No fancy name to cover up its deadly sin.  No jazzy advertising campaign to make us believe that eating pork fat covered chocolate will make us prettier or sexier or more virile.  In fact, it will do none of those things. It will just raise the fat content of your body by a factor of 3 kabillion while increasing your cholesterol to the point where the number goes off the top of the chart. Ah yes, life’s simple pleasures.

I am contemplating this whole topic while eating Scrapple, an East Coast variation of Fat in Chocolate in which the chocolate is replaced with corn meal but the fat content remains constant.  For flavor, pig snouts and other “variety” meats are added. And before any Alaskan dares to gag at this, I’d suggest you read the contents of Spam.

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about being an Alaskan is that we are a plain and simple folk.  We think Spam is acceptable as a meat product and actually have eaten Pilot Bread that has pushed the limits of its 100-year shelf life. 

Products like Spam, Pilot Bread and Alaska’s favorite formal wear, Carharts, don’t depend on glitzy campaigns to try to convince you they have some socially redeeming value. They are what they are and Alaskans love them that much more for being so down home and simple.

Alaska is a place where the newspaper will devote the whole front page of their local section to a dog pull contest in which more owners than pets strained themselves trying to get the load pulled.  Alaska is the place where we will run the Iditarod whether anyone from the outside shows up or not because it is our race, we like it and we don’t’ care if anyone else does.  We march to our own drum and we don’t particularly care how basic and simple that drum might be.  In fact, when something we claim as our own like the Iditarod starts to get too much outside attention, we get nervous that it might outgrow its britches and then we’ll have to take it down a notch or two.

I actually think this is one of the reasons why Alaska is the perfect place for the Special Olympics.  The participants in these Olympics do not come with guaranteed endorsement contracts. Their outfits are not peppered with the names of big companies who are trying to associate their images with athletics rather than Third World sweatshops.  They are coming here for the sheer joy of competing, for the sheer pleasure of the sport.  They are coming here because they will have fun whether they win, lose, place or show.

I want to be among the vast throngs of Alaskans who gather to welcome the athletes of the Special Olympics. I want to be there because their spirit is very much akin to the Alaska spirit I fell in love with so many, many years ago.  A contest for the sake of the contest; joy in competition for the sheer joy of competing; laughter, fun and a good time had by winners and losers alike. And of course, the inevitable Spamburger served on hot Pilot Bread.

Now that’s Alaska.