Ever since I got here, back in June (it's already been two months??!), I have noticed a few really bizarre phenomena going on not just in Atlanta, but in the whole US.
Item the first: Silly Bandz.
These are rubber bands that have various shapes. You wear them on your wrist, and they look like they're just wavey bands, but then you take them off your wrist and it pops back into its original shape-- such as "I Heart Justin Bieber!" See the photos.
These things are freaking everywhere. They got Toy Story ones, music ones, animal ones. I first heard about them from the niece and nephew. As in, just after an 18-hour flight, I'm at my mother's house, the chickens walk in, give me a hug, and say, "Look, I have a Buzz Lightyear silly band, and Nanki has Princess ones!"
It's all so strange, I ended up buying a package of my own, just to show people. Then, I found that everyone NOT JUST KIDS but everyone is already onto this. My pal Lem, who is like a cool guy who plays drums with the likes of Cindy Wilson, wears them.
Item the second: Frozen Yogurt.
That's right, friends, your low-fat frozen friend from the 80's is back, but her hair is less frumpy and she's definitely not wearing those hammer pants anymore.
There are so many different Frozen Yogurt stores in Atlanta, it's a little bewildering. You sort of can't drive more than a few blocks without finding one. In fact, the other night my sister randomly said she'd like to have some frozen yogurt, and that way I could actually see what all the fuss was about, but she didn't know where one was nearby– we were in East Cobb, at my parents' house. We drove for about two minutes and found the Yogli Mogli. There are already 6 locations in the Atlanta area. And that doesn't count the Yogurt Tap in Decatur, or the various locations of Yogurt Land spread across the nation.
But sort of tasty. Not as good as the popsicles... but still pretty good. One interesting thing is that these places offer plain frozen yogurt, with no sweeteners or flavouring, if you want. I tried it– and it tasted like very cold yogurt. Like someone took some plain yogurt and froze it. I know. Unexpected.
Item the third: Pimento Cheese.
It's like a huge scoop of Pimento Cheese has fallen on the city. What used to be a sort of gross packaged food-stuff, boasting ingredients like guar gum and "thickeners" is now a gourmet thing to eat. Every restaurant with respectable food in town has homemade pimento cheese sandwiches on their menu. Friends have suggested explanations ranging from "Pimento cheese is good!" to "Maybe with the economy being so bad, people are turning to the comfort food they ate as kids, but they want it to be homemade, like their mom did it."
Foodies have long been taking some low-culture or plebeian food, doing it up right with quality ingredients, and proving that low-culture food can be damn good. It's happened with mac and cheese, and with mashed potatoes. The King of Pops could even be described that way. It's a movement I really appreciate, in fact. Who could complain about valuing ordinary people's food this way?
But pimento cheese? It's bizarre.
Seriously, those of you in Australia, Ireland, and wherever else you're reading this blog– are any of these mass hysterias taking over your town?
Or what is the crazy thing everyone's obsessed with where you are?