Last week, the fifth and sixth graders at my school took a field trip to Epcot. I’m sure you all remember the field trips you had as youngsters. They were always the best part of the year, filled with lots of fun and classmate camaraderie.

From a teacher standpoint, field trips work this way. You figure out a place that you’d like to go instead of being in school. You see if that place offers free tickets for group chaperones. If it does, you book it, and then you concoct some nonsensical explanation about how it will be “educational.” In this case, there are places in Epcot named after countries. Even though I don’t think most of the students could find any of those countries on a map (park map included), the trip was approved. Rarely is the field trip rationale challenged by the principal because the principal usually goes on the trip, too.

For evidence of the truth of this hypothesis, the last four trips that have taken place were as follows:

1. A walk to a movie theater to watch Beauty and the Beast in 3D
2. Legoland
3. Epcot
4. Universal Studios

I never plan field trips (though I am occasionally dragged along). Usually I use that time to, you know, teach children what those long strings of symbols are that are printed inside the pages of those things that line the walls of the libary.

So, the fifth grade teacher and my dear friend (we’ll call her Marie), asked me to have my seventh graders fill in for the indentured servants that she forces to helm the “safety” patrol. In this case “safety” means standing listlessly next to an orange cone, opening car doors, and making sure that the massive-backpack-carrying first graders don’t trip and get their heads wedged in the wheel well of their parent’s Audi.

I told her yes, my students could handle this, but that she had to return with a snack for me to blog about.

She brought me this bag of Hapi Honey Ball Cookies from the Japanese pavilion. She saw this bag and couldn’t resist as “Honey Balls” is her affectionate nickname for me because of a fairly recent incident involving myself, a field trip to a bee farm, my cutoffs, and a haphazardly discarded banana peel. It’s a little inappropriate but I like the attention.

Visually these cookies are beautiful. Just look at them. Little, delicate nuggets of smooth potato starch just ever so lightly toasted. I love the package as well. The bee is so adorable he doesn’t even have a stinger to menace you with. He’s just trying to help you with a cookie. “Here. Have mine,” he says. Though in Japanese it sounds much, much harsher.

Flavorwise, these Honey Balls taste starchy, a little sweet, and vaguely of honey. Nothing revelatory. Texturewise is where we encounter some interesting weirdness. The first couple of chews yield a dry crumbly sensation not unlike a finely textured shortbread cookie. However, after about the third chomp, these little spheroids (obloids?) break down into a fine powder which is then lost immediately in your saliva. You are left with a mouth coated in a chalky film that hangs around for quite a while. It’s unsettling, like some Ferran Adria experiment where you are presented with a cookie solid that only retains its physical properties for a second before becoming a cloud of dust.

I don’t think I’d pick up a bag of these if I were to stroll by them. The Japanese pavilion’s gift shop has way too much stuff for repeat purchases. But they were bizarre, I do love that bee, AND THEY’RE CALLED HAPI HONEY BALLS!!!


In closing, parents, remember, your child’s education is important. The best thing you can do to show them the importance of preparing for college or a fulfilling career is to go to Six Flags and ride rollercoasters with them. They’ll thank you later.