Thursday, April 10, 2008

Simulated Flavor[s]

Potato chips are about my only real vice, when it comes to junk food. Don't do candy bars. Don't drink pop.
Unless hamburgers are counted as junk food…. which to me would seem sort of a bit blasphemous, since I am convinced that hamburgers are proof of the existence of God.
I could live quite happily on a planet that had only hamburgers, as food.
I wish that all hamburgers were as large as the cows they came from.
They are made from cows, aren’t they?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what various food products are made from!
For instance, today I was in the lunchroom at work, reading my book and eating a bag of Salt & Vinegar potato chips.
My second favorite flavor, salt and vinegar.
When my break was over I closed the book and started to scrunch up the empty bag when I noticed two words on the package → Simulated Flavor.
I stopped in mid-scrunch.
Simulated flavor. What does that mean, exactly? It disturbed me.
Something about the whole idea of potato-chip deception made me unfold the bag and look at the ingredients.
I mean, [licking my fingers] I knew that those chips contained about a month’s worth of sodium, but as I continued to read through the list of ingredients, I DID NOT SEE THE WORD VINEGAR ANYWHERE!
No vinegar!
That is disturbing.
How do they make them so…. vinegar-ry, then?
Well, they do it with all kinds of stuff that is NOT VINEGAR!

That is unnerving.

But then, as I went back to work, I began to speculate on the level of deception that is going on when I eat a lot of the stuff I love to eat. It is probably unfathomable, the sheer extent to which my bacheloric diet of processed food probably contains a lot of multi-syllabic, unpronounceable, and unearthly ingredients.
Stuff that even God does not know what it is!
Stuff that did NOT grow in the Garden of Eden.
Sticking with my potato chip scenario…. what have I been unconsciously assuming about my favorite flavor, which is Barbecue?
What do I think they are using to make the chips taste the way they do?
A frigging barbecue?
What kind of entrepreneurial scientists even invent this stuff?
Can you picture it?

SCENARIO → [phone ringing, some scraggly-haired guy answers…]
“Bill, is that you?”
“Jim. How’s it goin’? Hey, seriously. About me throwing up on your couch last Friday…. I’m really sorry abo…”
“No time for that right now, Bill. Listen, what are you doing this afternoon?”
“Not much. Was going to shave my back and play some Atari and…”
“Can you get over here quick? Me and a bunch of the new interns are going to try and invent a new flavor of potato chip.”
“Really? What’s the flavor?”
“We want it to taste like a barbecue.”
“You’re kidding.”
“No. Never been more serious. Humans will buy this!”
“What are you using for ingredients?”
“Just the usual simulated stuff. Remember how we invented Dill Pickle? Today, for Barbecue flavor, we’re going to start by scraping some of your crusty puke off the couch, and then…..”

See how it works?
And these guys are RICH today!
While people like me are sitting around hoping that somewhere a scientific team is [even as I write this] scraping something off of something else, trying to create simulated Hamburger Flavor!



Beth said...

This inspired me to check out a bag of chips I bought yesterday. (Not for me.) You should buy “Miss Vickie’s” potato chips – no artificial flavour, no MSG…
And every time you mention hamburgers, I want one – from Harvey’s.

Isabella said...

Coincidentally, as one hand clicked over to this blog, my other hand was inside a big fat bag of Lay's, and when the picture loaded I got really confuses. Only my favourite flavour is Wavy Original. And let me check... ingredients: specially selected potatoes, sunflower oil, salt. Yum.

(Go Habs!)

cipriano said...

Honest to God, I stopped at a gas station today. Just as I was leaving, I noticed on the potato chip rack, a new flavor.
Roast Chicken flavor!
Think they used chickens to get that flavor?
I think not.
I never looked, but I don't think you will see "chicken" anywhere on the ingredients listing!

Anthony - Motojournalism said...

I'm writing from just down the road in Montreal. I've got a bag of Lay's salt & vinegar in my hand now - only because there was no Miss Vickie's - and was wondering the same thing.

Your page pops up #1 on Google for "Simulated Flavor"

On the ingredients under "seasoning" is listed:
Sodium acetate, acetic acid, corn maltodextrin, salt, lactose, citric acid, malic acid.

Mmm, tastes like chemistry...