There are two kinds of food I simply can't get enough of here in China. One is peanut butter, usually Chinese-made Skippy and usually slathered on a piece of toast. The other is deep-fried Chinese peanuts, which I buy at the corner Quicky Mart-style store in 20-cent packets like this (shown with Chairman Mao):


In my previous life I liked peanut butter OK but didn't wolf down greasy peanuts. Do I crave them now because fried peanuts are one of the foods in China that perfectly satisfy all three taste needs at once: salty, oily, and sugary too? Is it because of something now missing from my normal fare that peanuts replace? Lord knows. I haven't been putting on pounds, so the peanuts must be crowding out something else. I have recently heard of several people who were diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning after spending a few years in China. I will no doubt be diagnosed with the peanut-induced equivalent of that malady... for starters!

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