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Help me support a vice, please!
August 10, 2014 3:53 AM   Subscribe

I want to give my brother something nice for his birthday. Details inside.

My brother has been great when I was going through stuff, and I want to give him something nice for his birthday instead of the usual "I just want more Nutella" or "I need empty CDs" he asks for.
He likes Nutella and he looooooooves Coca Cola. He also has an almost one-year-old daughter now and my sister-in-law has been saying that as my niece gets older, they should all only eat what they can let her eat, to set a good example. (I agree with her that it's probably much easier instead of telling her "nope, coke is only for adults!") However, I know he can't live without his vices. Especially not without Coca Cola.

My crazy idea is to make some sort of harmless-looking container for his chocolates and caffeinated beverages so that he can hide his habits from my niece. I'm a bit worried that if they look too harmless, the kid will think they're okay to consume. I guess for the next year at least won't be able to get much food for herself yet, but whenever she sees a grownup have something she can't have, she definitely wants it.

Is this doable or a bad idea? How would you do it? I was thinking self-made bottle covers for his coke, if no one has a better idea.

Thanks in advance!
posted by LoonyLovegood to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
 
Well, they do make neoprene bottle cosies that'd cover a Coke bottle pretty well.

You might want to be careful, though, depending on your relationship with your sister-in-law. "We should eat healthy to set Junior a good example" is not quite the same as "We can continue to indulge, but carefully hide our activities." If your relationship with her is anything other than 100% warm and close, you run the risk of this gift coming off as undermining her parenting or as "defending" your brother against her tyranny (especially since it sounds from the question as though you consider this rule mildly silly, anyway). Chances are it'd be fine, but do sanity-check this, since it's not worth opening a family rift over a gag birthday present.
posted by Bardolph at 4:09 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Should have clarified that I love my SIL and that she herself sounded a bit bummed about having to live without certain kinds of food.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:11 AM on August 10


A 'voucher' for several nights of you (if local) providing babysitting would allow them to go out and eat Nutella/drink coke without having to worry about hiding containers :)

You could put together a paper voucher plastered with their favourite brand logos and call it a gluttony pass.
posted by dvrmmr at 4:19 AM on August 10


Of course I'll babysit if I can, but a) I'll be out of the country and b) my brother drinks coke every day. He drinks it like other people drink water, so one night a week won't do much for him.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:22 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


As a parent of two young kids, I'm skeptical. They really have an uncanny ability to want what you're drinking, regardless of what's on the bottle.

What about a soda machine? Talk it over with your sister-in-law, but perhaps he can learn to make things that he likes that are healthier and kid-friendly.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:28 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Seconding the soda machine. I thought I was addicted to Diet Coke, but it is really just the fizz that I crave. Carbonated water is harmless, and he can always add a flavor pack if he wants (though, to be fair, they don't taste quite as good as the real thing). If you get a soda machine, keep in mind that the CO2 canisters need to be replaced every so often, so it would be nice if you could find a way to buy them a subscription to canisters as well.
posted by redlines at 4:41 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the suggestions, but my brother is in his forties already and carbonated water and other beverages are easy to find in Germany (and cheap), so it really is Coca Cola he wants, or he would have found something else by now.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:47 AM on August 10


If a bottle cover would serve the purpose, maybe you could just get hold of a supply of Coke that's packaged unusually... wasn't there some Christmas edition a few years back here in the U.S. where the cans were white instead of red? And evidently if you draw from international sources, especially for special events, they get pretty unusual-looking. Or if you could find cases of plastic bottles with the glued-on plastic film labels, you could just cut all the labels off and have label-less bottles.

I share a bit of snickerdoodle's skepticism - before she can read, she isn't going to be identifying what he's drinking by whether or not it says "Coca-Cola" on the container. If more subterfuge is needed, perhaps she could be persuaded that the drinks in a particular package taste awful, by adding alcohol or replacing the Coke with Moxie or a dark beer or something of that sort.
posted by XMLicious at 4:52 AM on August 10


Of course she can't read the Coca Cola label, that's why I was thinking of hiding the whole bottle.

Maybe my brother should just drink out of her sippy cup, but I guess then she'll want that back whereas now, she hates it...
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:54 AM on August 10


If they're in Germany, some Googling shows that a variety of special edition aluminum bottles have been sold there during the past decade, and more further back, so perhaps you could find out if a promotion of that sort is going on now and get a few cases cheaply.

Or if transferring it to another container like the sippy cup works, maybe he could drink it from an opaque ceramic or metal beer stein, if those are things that are actually used in Germany and not just for tourists to bring back to the U.S.

How about two identical pitchers that they'd keep in their refrigerator, one containing Coke and one containing prune juice or something, and they always pour prune juice for her but Coke for themselves... or a single trick magician's pitcher containing both that has a secret switch to select which!

My next thought involves constructing an extra fake bathroom in their house that would actually just be a pantry for storing and consuming contraband that only the adults could enter. So I've probably had too much coffee this morning and will bow out of the discussion.
posted by XMLicious at 5:24 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


What about picking up one of those containers that are marketed as being "to store your valuables in plain sight" (or, if you're a teenager, to store your weed)? He could use it to store chocolates, at least, and possibly a can of Coke, depending on what option you picked up.
posted by VioletU at 7:57 AM on August 10


What about a bunch of cups disguised as coca-cola cans? So she gets used to seeing coca cola cans and thinking "water" or "milk"?

Alternately, how about this instructable, which is designed to allow you to mask your beer as coke but could also be used to mask a coke as a can of juice or a can of water?

If you're crafty, I might try my hand at making some cups myself - remove the tops of the cans, find a glass or plastic tumbler that will fit inside, weight the bottom so it doesn't fall over as easily and bend the top of the aluminum over so it isn't sharp and then glue into place. If I had a brother in this situation I would definitely do this. Make a set of 8 and then EVERYONE drinks out of coke cans all day!
posted by arnicae at 7:57 AM on August 10


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