My relationship with Arnott’s Mint Slice has been a long a long and happy one, not counting the times when I have eaten one too many straight out of the packet and ended up with a considerable stomach ache. It was an affair that began so long ago that I have no single memory of the first time I had one. I do, however, remember that in our household chocolate biscuits were rationed out as special treats, with Mint Slice, Tim Tams and Royals being the most coveted (for those of you who don’t know, Royals are an amazing biscuit jam marshmallow combination, all smothered in milk chocolate). Their presence in the biscuit tin could get chores done, halt tantrums, and guarantee the best of behaviour.
But as I got older, Mint Slice transformed from the best part about going to Nanna’s house, to one of the most sought after additions to the pre teen sleepover party junk food binge; before we had alcohol, we had chips, Killer Pythons and chocolate biscuits. I cannot count the number of whole packets of Mint Slice I had consumed in that time of my life alone, but I can certainly admit to it, with only a small amount of shame.
With time, these candy binges were replaced with Melon Cruisers and cheap white wine, but Mint Slice has been there for me through some tough times since; friendship fall outs, intense cramming study sessions, break ups, and of course, the dreaded PMS. They are my number one comfort food, a lifeline to all things warm and safe and familiar.
Until recently, I thought that nothing could come between us. But then I came to learn about the ways of the world, and in particular some of the more concerning issues about what actually goes in to our pre packaged food. One of these issues was the use of unsustainably harvested Palm Oil, one of the main causes of deforestation and habitat loss in South East Asia, and a main component of about 50% of our supermarket bought foods, including my beloved Mint Slice. You could almost say that I felt somewhat betrayed; how could something I enjoyed so much be contributing to so much I stood against?
Before I knew it, I was beginning to question our relationship, and whether I could in good conscience let it continue under the current circumstances.
I have this horrible vision that by the time I have a son or a daughter, I will have to break it to him or her that the adorably fuzzy orange creature staring back at her through the glass of the Orangutan exhibit at the Zoo is one of the last of those animals in the whole world. And he or she (it?) will ask me why because that’s what children do, and I will then have to explain to him or her that it was because mummy couldn’t give up her favourite chocolate biscuit. A little melodramatic, yes, but this is how I put what’s at stake into perspective. It seems a LOT to sacrifice for a tasty treat to go with my afternoon cup of tea. It’s a sacrifice I’m not prepared to contribute to anymore.
So Mint Slice, I think it’s time we had some space. I need some time to think, to figure out how I really feel about you. I’ve packed up all your clothes, separated the CD collection, and cancelled the magazine subscriptions. Maybe once you prove to me that you can commit to being made using sustainable palm oil, we can talk. But until then, this is goodbye. It’s not me, it’s you. Seriously. Don’t even try to win me back with your dark chocolate coating and your perfect layer of mint crème filling. It’s over.