Hornby Confectionery Traditional Sugar Mice 

$3.29
Global Foods Market
421 N. Kirkwood Road
Kirkwood

When you try to divide the animal kingdom into winners and losers, most animals come up a draw. Oh sure, you'll find plenty of animals like the Tasmanian wolf, a fabulous marsupial doglike creature that's believed to have gone extinct by the 1930s. You'll also find plenty of winners: The cockroach, the fly, Homo sapiens.

But it's a rare breed that's simultaneously an undisputed champ in terms of population numbers and a real loser when it comes to the price it's had to pay for its flourishing population.

Enter the mouse.

Was there ever an animal more used, abused, reviled and (rarely) revered? The mouse may be fuzzy and cute, but that hasn't stopped the rest of the animal kingdom from eating these furry little protein snacks the way American kids eat peanut butter.

You'll find plenty of mice at a pet store, but they're not exactly a marquee species. Divided by maturity into "pinkies," "fuzzies," "hoppers" and "adults," these mice have more in common with the overcrowded goldfish aquarium in the corner: They may be living and breathing, but ultimately they're kibble.

From laboratories to zoos, the mouse is less an autonomous species than it is a plentiful source of protein for beasts deemed more important by their human handlers. And don't think for a minute that mice in the wild have it any better. Scurrying from darkened nest to dank hole in the ground, the wild mouse spends its brief life — about three months, on average — scrambling for food before it is inevitably picked off by a raptor, coyote or even an outsize insect. Talk about embarrassing.

Yep, it seems that the only mice that ever catch a break in this life are those lucky few that end up as pets. For the truly blessed, there's also a community of mouse fanciers who show their mice competitively.

I can only imagine that it is this community that the folks at Hornby Confectionery have identified as the target audience for Hornby Confectionery Traditional Sugar Mice.

Pink, white and anally impaled à la deep-fried guinea pig, these little mice are probably best consumed by sucking on them for a few hours while the mouse-shape rock of sugar slowly disintegrates. I, on the other hand, broke off the mouse head with my canines and received an unadulterated rush of sugar-cube intensity.

Not that there's anything wrong with that — but on an empty stomach you're liable to feel like a snake that's had one mouse too many. Then again, what's one more mouse? There's always more where that came from.

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