Isn’t it funny how some foods can be totally misunderstood? We are always talking about what is healthy and good, but do we really give some food a chance? It is no wonder when we see images of grown men running around disguised as fruit in an underwear commercial that we lose our sense of seriousness towards the grape and apple. And when we witness M&M’s always trying to crash parties only to be devoured by mutant chocolate-crazed females, it is no surprise that devout chocolate lovers are losing respect. Who should we blame for this- the food companies or the so-called marketing experts?
I find this epidemic concerning. If we are losing respect for food groups such as fruit and chocolate, what is to become of the less loved artichoke and pomegranate? Upon exploration of the subject, I have discovered that there are many misunderstood foods. Take for example, escargot. By any standard it is lean and mean and considered a delicacy. But I can speak from experience that it is truly a ball of salty slime that should never have come out of its shell. True story- the morning after I lay tongue on the taste, I discovered tropical-sized live versions of the vile creatures slivering about outside my hotel room on the Hawaiian landscape. If the saline experience at dinner had not made up my mind, the virtual tentacle wiggling discovery sealed the deal to never hand-to-mouth another snail.
If we do a little research into the media archives of misunderstood foods, we learn that hardly anyone can eat just one Lays Potato Chip. Another chip family, Doritos, will coax people, dogs, and goats to do just about anything. If Clydesdales playing football and frogs croaking “Bud-weis-er” appeals to you, then “this Bud’s for you.” And if you are a polar bear or a person who would like to teach people to sing in perfect harmony, Coca Cola is your drink.
After a brief investigation, the surmise is the most misunderstood food of all time is wheat. Many people have developed allergies to the new genetically modified strains and have been diagnosed with gluten intolerances and celiac disease. Don’t doctors understand how intelligent wheat can be? I have seen commercials showing wheat cereal giving people advice and actually driving tractors in the field. Any food that can do that surely is good for you.
Another misunderstood food is pork. They say that eating sausage can bring sunshine into your day. If that is true, why worry about fat content or processing conditions? According to scientific studies, Sunshine (with limits) is known to increase endorphins and happiness, so that is a beneficial dietary component to add to your day. And if the reasoning of marketing is enough to pass judgment on a food, then we have to empathize with that little Chihuahua when he says, “Yo Quiero (I want) Taco Bell.” On that note, before my split personality kicks into full swing, I definitely have to get ahold of a Snickers Bar.
Watching commercials is unquestionably an entertaining way to learn about new “processed” foods, but they don’t really tell us about the health factor. Those teeny tiny FDA labels take a stab at that based on what is reported to them. How many foods do we eat today that we completely understand? I’ll keep the midnight oil burning and the research churning — don’t worry. Try not to take any of this too seriously. It’s just food for thought.
Dortha Jackson grew up in the Diboll/Lufkin area and has recently returned with her husband, Steve, and their dog, Bear. She spent the last thirty years as a music teacher and church musician in Laredo, TX.