Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Talking Chocolate

I am not a vegetarian. I have never had an issue with eating food from the animal kingdom. At the same time, I’m not overly comfortable with the actual act of killing my food. I much prefer to buy my cows and chickens in small bits, wrapped in plastic wrap. I have the same squeamishness about lobster—while I have eaten lobster meat, and possibly a lobster tail, I have never stood in front of a tank and played the grim reaper. If I had been born several thousand years ago (or even a hundred or so), I am confident that I would quickly have overcome that particular weakness in favor of survival and feeding of my family.

Lately, I’ve begun to wonder if there are a lot of Americans who are trying desperately to fulfill an instinctive drive to hunt their own food. There are quite a few who actually hunt for sport (and who eat their catch), but there are even more who are turning to video games to satisfy that hunger. And now, as if virtually shooting deer, monsters, and cops weren’t enough, the manufacturers of packaged foods are attempting to mollify our internal carnivores by providing our food with personality.

Thanks to the wonders of printing technologies, everything we eat from chocolate to taco sauce can now have it’s very own voice that we can heartlessly crush with our appetites. “I Hate Mondays”, one Hershey’s kiss grumps, while another greets me with a modest “Hi”. Yet another is telling me “Congratulations”, though for what, I’m not sure. Our ketchup bottle is trying to sell itself (or maybe discourage us) by telling us that it “Hides Grill Marks”. And, apparently Taco Bell’s infamous sporks are known to pick on their sauce packets when no one’s looking…I know this because the sauce tells me. Other packets have career aspirations and some even propose marriage. Dove’s chocolates are working towards a career writing for women’s magazines with such advice as “Discover yourself first” and “Sometimes a smile is worth more than a dozen roses.” I don’t know that anyone’s yet achieved a Potteresque chocolate frog that actually hops, but I would bet you $1.49 that there are several candy companies working on it.

I’m not sure I like my food to talk to me before I eat it. At this rate, it won’t be long before I’ll be wishing to behead my own chickens, for no other reason than they won’t make any smartass remarks about it first.

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