The mensch’s guide on how to travel back to the country where you spent your so-called formulative years without getting unmensch-y due to nostalgia

Nostalgia is a tricky and fickle beast – striking often inexplicably whenever it feels like it. Toronto isn’t Vancouver, but is still far more Canadian than any place I’ve been in the past nine years. Entering into the land of maple and honey brought about a weird bout of moisture to my eyes that stung and made them both red along with my nose. Maybe I should get this checked.

Since then, I’ve tried to condense my debilitating bouts of ungentleman-like nostalgic breakdowns by boiling down all my childhood memories to two inanimate objects: ketchup potato chips and Kinder Surprises. When I start getting the tremors, I just step into a T&T Supermarket and buy a bag of ketchup potato chips or a Kinder Surprise to delude myself into thinking that I’m all right.

Kinder Surprises aren’t necessarily unique to a Canadian upbringing so much as they are unique when comparing Canada to the United States. Thanks to the FDA, we can’t have legit Kinder Surprises. Thus, these little intricate trinkets and toys in orange eggs wrapped in questionable chocolate have taken on a symbolic heft in my mind much like ketchup potato chips.

The chips shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s had them. It’s a sweeter, tangier take on the barbeque chip that, for some baffling reason, hasn’t jumped the border. I mean seriously, hockey has but Old Dutch hasn’t? I could probably go a whole month on just these and not get tired of them. In fact, I probably have done just that as a kid.

These two talismans are more or less adequate enough to keep those pangs of nostalgia at bay, because the sight of a T&T Supermarket should not make a grown man cry. I mean, um, forget I said that.

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