Dear Food: Please shut up.

I’m really tired of my food telling me why I’m eating it.

Take Cheerios. According to the box, the only reason you are eating Cheerios is a) to lower your cholesterol or b) to lose weight.

Remember that dipshit commercial about Multi Grain Cheerios where the (stereotypical idiot) husband is asking his (stereotypically thin, wearing a grey sweatshirt) wife if she’s eating Multi Grain Cheerios to lose weight? Because obviously the only reason she’d be eating that shit is to lose weight?

Doesn’t that actually do the product a DISSERVICE? I mean, diet food doesn’t exactly have a great history. Loudly proclaiming that the only reason someone must be eating your product is because they’re a slave to the scale doesn’t seem like a particularly positive endorsement.

But then, there it is on the box. Make Multi Grain Cheerios part of your WEIGHT LOSS PLAN. (Whatever this week’s plan is.)

And then? If you want to eat a banana with your Cheerios? THOSE CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT TOO. I bought bananas recently that had a “LOSE WEIGHT WITH BANANAS” sticker on them. It led to a website where you could, purportedly, input your weight loss plan that included eating lots of Brand Name Bananas (I didn’t get that far because the website required email verification). Never mind eating bananas because they’re delicious, or because they have lots of fiber and vitamins, or because they’re easy on your stomach when you have the food poisoning.

BANANAS FOR WEIGHT LOSS.

I have a bag of brown sugar that says “Gluten Free” on it, proudly, in big letters. I’ve bought strawberries that say “Trans-Fat Free!” on the label. Strawberries. Like, whole fresh berries with the leaves still on. Yeah, they’re trans-fat free!

It’s like TJ’s snicker’s bar – why is my food telling me why I’m eating it? I know, I know, it’s because food is an INDUSTRY now. It’s all about advertising and product placement. Eat THESE bananas and not THOSE bananas. See? OUR bananas make you lose weight. OUR cereal makes you skinny.

Doesn’t anyone eat food because it’s good anymore? Or because it has nutrients? Are we so afraid of being/getting/continuing to be “fat” (whatever fat is) that we can’t evaluate our food based on the actual food itself instead of what it’s supposedly going to do for us as a side effect?

Oh – and that’s another rant. Isn’t it a little scary that you can eat a bowl of cereal that has 100% of your day’s vitamins in it? As though you really don’t GET anything from eating all those vegetables. Who needs broccoli and carrots, just eat cereal for breakfast, get all your vitamins, and then eat candy bars and drink soda all day! Vitamins good!

The whole process is just so silly. No wonder so many people have such weird relationships with food, and that the newspaper can tell us that this week pasta is bad, but next week we can have an all pasta weight loss diet. Our food (or rather, the companies marketing it) assume that we’re too stupid to make our own choices about what we like and what’s good for us.

Which, of course, is confounded by the newspaper science thing. High fat, low carb. High carb, low fat. Low fat, whole grain. Cabbage Soup diet. Miracle Vinegar Cleanse. Nobody knows what’s really good for them (at least, nobody that’s actually reading the newspaper pseudo-science and believes it), and in turn, we go looking for the food companies to tell us whether or not we should eat something.

Of course, that’s what nutrition labels are supposed to be for, right? They tell us what’s in the food? Except that the ingredients list is full of (mostly corn and soy derived) chemicals and vitamins disguised by chemical names to the point where that list is basically useless.

How many of those items are just code names for sugar? How many are petroleum derived? What does “0 grams of trans fat” really actually mean? (answer: less than .5 grams. not none.)

I know that packaged food is a good thing. How many of us have been thankful for a can of Campbells soup when we’ve been sick? Packaged, shelf-stable food allows a lot of people to eat who couldn’t normally access that food easily, and that’s a Really Good Thing- especially since I live in a Hurricane prone area!

But really? All this hype? All the uber-marketing research strategies?

It’s well beyond ridiculous, and it gets on my nerves.

Dear Food:

Please shut up.

Love,
Me

Peeved at the TV

I get it.  Christmas is coming. There are cards and trees and tinsel and badly played tinny renditions of carols on every other commercial on TV. (It’s only mid-November, so it’s not /every/ commercial yet)

But that’s not all that different. Nor are the “buy your kids 12 billion things to show you love them” undertones anything new.

Yesterday, however, after driving 300 miles back from Dallas (I drove up there Saturday for my mom’s birthday), I flipped on the TV to veg out a little and relax. And the first commercial I saw?

Scruffy Dude: “Hand-made Gifts for Christmas?”

Dude looks at his smiling grandmother, sitting across from him at the table. Dude stands up and goes into the garage with the (rather nice) hand knit mittens she just gave him.

Scruffy Dude: “Who wants that? Why not buy your friends something they’ll really like.  Like a snowmobile. I hear you can get one cheap on E-Bay!”

<more e-bay paraphernalia, showing the Dude doing “fun things” with extremely expensive mechanical items out in the snow, Dude playing with expensive electronics. He’s wearing synthetic gloves.>

Scruffy Dude sniffs the mittens:  “Smells like church.”

<Cue E-Bay tag.>

Alright.  So E-bay takes pot-shots at Etsy. Great.

Just what I wanted to see after spending 25 hours over three and a half days frantically making some woollen winter things for my mother’s birthday (after she mentioned not having any before her move).

I’m sure every person who spends countless hours working on gifts so that they can be pushed aside in favor of shiny, “expensive” (previously owned/USED) things bought on E-Bay is just thrilled. I have enough of a time with gifts that I make for people. When you spend many hours working on something? Having that something get rejected … hurts. (Which is why some of my friends will not get knitted things. If I figure out that your reaction will be to act nice-nice and then shove it in a drawer? Nope.  No knits for you.)

Now, am I actually putting any stock in this particular commercial?

Not really, though (as I’m sure you noticed) I’m slightly peeved.

To be honest, it reads like E-bay is feeling threatened by Etsy’s handmade offerings, and the fact that the makers of said handmade items are choosing to sell them via Etsy rather than through E-Bay (which has kinda become an odd shamble of used items and then huge shiny stores selling all kinds of things at normal (or higher) prices).  Which, you know, whatever. If they’re threatened enough to take potshots at handmade items in order to shill their “Christmas Crap” campaign, they’ll just lose even more of their sellers to Etsy.

Still, though, I think the whole thing is misplaced and… well, not that funny.

Sure, I get that a new snowmobile is “more fun” than a pair of mittens. But you need mittens to ride a snowmobile without frostbite, and, quite honestly, I can afford to buy enough yarn to make some mittens (less than $20 even for REALLY NICE yarn).

TLDR version – Ebay is stupid, commercials are stupid, and having to put up with Christmas for three months every year is REALLY stupid.

Also?  What the fuck does “smells like church” mean?