Zest for Food!

In Search of Life’s Free Popsicle Brain Freeze…

By Gina Girardot Melton

Gina, with her sister, enjoying a Popcicle-induced brain freeze

Could the key to happiness be as simple as a free Coca-Cola? That’s essentially what The Coca Cola Company hinted at with their most recent Happiness Truck advertising campaign.  The premise is that a red Coca-Cola truck stops in the middle of busy thoroughfares around the world, encouraging people to push a big red button on the back of the truck to wait and see what happens next.


As you can see, what transpires is nothing short of magical as people of all ages crowd together behind the truck, celebrating free soda, an occasional free soccer ball, a yard-long sub and in one beachfront commercial, a surfboard.  Life, it appears, is very good.

In these complicated, lactose-intolerant, gluten-free times, there is so much guilt surrounding what we put in our mouths. Is it organic? Is it hormone free? Does it have high fructose corn syrup in it?  Sure, balance is important.  I’m not suggesting we go back to the days of serving school kids chocolate milk, corndogs and canned peaches in the cafeteria. But propaganda aside, every once in a while does it hurt to just to drink an ice-cold Coke, if for no other reason, because it just tastes good?

The Happiness Truck advertisements made me nostalgic for my childhood days when a free Popsicle would send me over the moon in gleeful exuberance.  What in my life today even comes close to that simple pleasure? And how can I get back there?

When Tania Van Pelt asked me to become a monthly Happiness Series columnist, I was thrilled at the prospect.  Like most food writers, many of my happiest childhood memories are wrapped up in food, and that leaves a powerful imprint. Part of what I love about writing about eating, drinking and cooking is that these activities are essential to who we are as people and how we connect to one another.

I suspect that’s another way of saying that sharing a meal is one of life’s most simple pleasures. So maybe I’m not as far away from those Popsicle brain freezes as I think I am– but I anticipate that exploring those notions will provide me plenty of fodder for self-reflection, and for some fun, for this column.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you through your comments and emails. In the meantime, Bon Appetit!



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