Swiss Cake Rolls Anyone?


I have always had an issue when it comes to saying when, especially when it comes to sweets, matchbox cars, bass guitars, motorcycles, ATV’s and scooters. In other words, when it comes to gluttony, my struggle is real!

The first time I remember over doing it when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I had just discovered “Little Debbie” swill cake rolls and boy were they delicious! I’m not sure what it was about them. Maybe it was the soft chocolate coating that you could peel off and eat in chunks. Maybe it was the soft chocolate cake that was exposed after you did so. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the white cream filling inside. Whatever it was, I loved them. I loved them so much that I even experimented on how to eat them. Since Gram liked hers cold, I did too, so sometimes I would place them in the fridge like she did. Other times I would resist dissecting it piece by piece and simply eat it the normal way, end to end. One of my favorite ways to eat a Swiss Cake Roll, however, was to find the end and unroll it until I got to the creamy middle. It didn’t matter how I ate a Swiss Cake Roll because even when the first roll was gone, there was always another to eat a different way. Thank goodness for two in a pack! Even the cardboard that the twin rolls called home wasn’t off limits. Since they had been sitting on the waxed cardboard for, well only God knows how long, peeling them off always left behind a residual amount of chocolate goodness that I simply couldn’t let go to waste, it had to be licked off. Ah yes, Swiss Cake Rolls, I wish I could say they were a childhood memory, but that would be a lie. Little Debbie became one of my best friends through grade school, high school and even into college.

Back in the days when gas was .89 cents, (oh geez I sound like my father) I drove weekly from home to my college campus in Platteville, Wisconsin. Platteville was just over a two hour drive. Along the way there was this little town named, Gratiot (pronounced grasshit). Gratiot was as  little town of 233 but to me it was an oasis in what felt like days behind the wheel. By the time I would reach Gratiot, my early 1980’s Chevy Monte Carlo would be thirsty for gas and since Gratiot was famous for its low priced petroleum, it was the stop of choice for a college kid with little money. Back then gas fluctuated from .89 to .99 cents a gallon. So for $12 dollars I could top off my tank and buy a box of 12, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. I remember that I would open the box before leaving the parking lot and by the time I had left that sleepy little town, I would have already eaten a quarter of the box.(6 rolls in total) As thought that wasn’t bad enough, by the time I reached my final destination, about 45 minutes away, I would have experimented with all the fun and creative ways I could think of to eat them. With nothing but an empty box full of wrappers and cleaned off waxed cardboard squares, I would pull into the parking lot of my dormitory hungry and ready for food.

By now I think you “get” the picture. I loved Swiss Cake Rolls, or did I??? The truth is that while I did enjoy the first bite, the many subsequent bites that followed left much to be desired. The chocolate exterior tasted more like wax then chocolate, the cake was basically flavorless and the cream filling was like eating liquid sugar. Though I would eat a whole box, heck I still would, it wasn’t because I loved how they tasted or the quenched my appetite, it was because I simply didn’t know when to say when.

While it was fortunate that a broke college kid could find such an amazing treat at a price of .99 cents a box (you still can by the way) it was rather unfortunate for someone like me who had little self control. Today’s verse Proverbs 25:16 says “If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit.”  While the meaning of this proverb seems pretty obvious, it’s meaning goes much deeper. It’s not just about eating too much honey, or in my case Swiss cake Rolls, it’s about the dangers of gluttony in all areas of our life.

Gluttony is defined as habitual greed or excess and while that’s the “what”, I think the more important question is “why”? Why did I continually choose to eat a whole box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls? Why did I think that I needed a suitcase FULL of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars? Why did I build a 2000 square foot pole barn and fill it with motorcycles, ATV’s, dirt bikes, scooters, guitars, drums and recording gear? It is the “why” that fascinates me to this day. Though the object(s) of my attention has changed, being gluttonous, is still something that I wrestle with.

So far, the best that I have come up with is that my gluttonous tendencies come from two places, filling of a void or a fear of lack.  Little Debbie provided “sweetness” in my life, my suitcase full of toy cars provided me with “significance” and my obsessive “toy” buying as an adult was a way for me to feel “alive”, if only for a moment. Fear of lack, be it money, love or things has never really made sense to me. Growing up, my parents made sure, even if they had to work two or three jobs, that my sister and I had all of our needs met and then some! On top of it there has never been a doubt about how much they love me. Therefore, lacking, has never been my reality but it absolutely scares me anyway. Whether it be a box of Little Debbies, an extra large pizza, a plate full of spaghetti, a box of my favorite cookies, or a left over birthday cake, I eat them like it is the last time I will ever get to eat.

I wish I had a happy ending to this story. I wish I could say, “that was then but now…”, but I can’t. The struggle for me is still real and it’s an ongoing battle. Hopefully, one day I will be able to write about “how” I over came being a glutton but for now the best I can do is to be aware of when I am acting gluttonous, then recall Proverbs 25:16, remind myself that there is more where that came from and ask myself, “what void(s) are you trying to fill right now?” and “why are you afraid there isn’t enough?” Hopefully, the answers to these questions will one day lead me to my solution.

Have a great Day!



PS-In just in case you are in line at the store and see a pack of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, don’t go for the single pack, they will charge you the same price for one at the check out as they will for a box of 12 in the aisle. (Of course, only I would pay attention to that!)

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