Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Best Part of Aaaccking Up

Unlike Marjorie Morris of Ainsworth, Iowa, I’m fairly certain I’d be giving up my caffeine habit if I had found a dead turtle in my package of freeze-dried coffee. In a recent news article, Ms. Morris told Iowa City reporters that even though she didn’t find the turtle until the package was half empty, she would continue to have her morning beverage, only “now she’d be a more mindful consumer.”

Ok readers, let’s think about this carefully--“until the package was HALF EMPTY!” According to my calculations, that’s approximately sixty-four cups of dead turtle-flavored coffee. I have but one response to that. Aaackkk!! Personally, I think this is just the kind of thing that might bring my coffee consumption to an abrupt halt, mindfully or otherwise.

When I read this story, I thought immediately (well, after the initial Ack! wore off) of those tiny weevil bugs, sitophilus granarius to be exact, that get into bags of flour and other grain foods. You know, the kind of insect that can disguise himself as the crumbs of any breakfast cereal, and you don’t find him until you’ve made your way to the bottom of the bowl. Oh admit it, you’ve started your day like this a time or two.

You pour yourself a hearty bowl of Fruity Tryglyceride-e-Os, innocent of the fact that as you eat your cereal, several granarians, as they prefer to be called, are re-hydrating themselves in the milk along with it. A fact that will become nauseatingly obvious with your last spoonful. And then…there they are, bobbing to the surface like so much flotsam and jetsam, their little invertebrate bodies all plumped up and ready for bug business. And now, you’re ready for business, too, but of a decidedly different nature. It happened just like that, didn’t it?

Now readers, let me ask you. Wouldn’t that have been the perfect time to start a new diet? After all, our Mr. S. Granarius has seen to it that you won’t be touching carbohydrates for at least the next millennium. This will, no doubt, give our Basic Food Groups’ Pyramid a new architectural look. It’s not so much a pyramid any longer, but rather more like an experimental Frank Lloyd Wright that never really caught on.

I see the possibility of a whole new diet industry emerging thanks to Ms. Morris’ fortuitous discovery. Just imagine the impact that a well-placed chicken foot could have when packaged in your favorite butter brickle ice cream. And imagine the look of happy surprise on the face of your cardiologist when he reads the results of your latest cholesterol check.

Dr. Rube N. Rubberclogs: “Why, Mr. Flabbasket, I’m happily surprised by the results of your latest cholesterol check! Let me guess, you’ve been enjoying, “New! Rhode Island Red brand, butter brickle ice cream?”

Mr. Flabbasket: “Say Doc, good guess! But, then, I suppose that’s why you get the big bucks, ha, ha! Can I put my clothes back on now?”

These “New! Weight-loss Enhancing--Sabotaged for Your Convenience” products will have to be labeled clearly, of course, to avoid consumer confusion. A catchy logo perhaps, to alert the buying public that a particular product contains a little “dieter’s surprise.” How about a picture of a turtle peeking out of a coffee cup, in honor of Ms. Morris?

So, until this new marketing strategy takes off (FDA approval pending), let’s not look at these “oops episodes” in our nation’s food processing industry as cause for alarm, suspicion, or long, drawn-out law suits that end up as Emmy nominations for Boston Legal. No, let’s just look at them for what they really are.
The first step to a healthier you.

Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the writing of this column.


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