Talking food and the age of innocence

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26th March 2014

I don’t generally rant. At least I don’t think I do. Perhaps you’d have to ask my family and friends whether this really is the case. But anyway, I personally don’t think I do. Today I must.

The story, I believe, begins around ten years ago when a little company called Innocent appeared. They bounded onto our supermarket shelves with smoothies to change the world. Drinks that were good for us. Strawberries, bananas, raspberries and mangoes all mushed up into pretty to look at, deliciously tasting drinks. But it was the packaging and more so the words used, that grabbed my attention. The smoothies were almost human. A dotted line pointed to an unexposed foil hole on the top accompanied with the words: “Just pop your straw in me here.” On the back, the packaging told me “You are just going to love me.” or “Share me with your friends.”

The smoothies were alive. They spoke directly to me. It was a personification overload. There were times when I actually felt that the smoothies were my friends. Part of the family. Sometimes lonely at home I’d sit a couple of cartons on a cushion alongside me on the sofa. I felt a deep sense of loss when I had to open and drink one.

The words were brilliant. Innocent had got me.

Fast forward a decade.

Good god, it’s everywhere now. Every single company is trying to connect in the same way. Look in your cupboards. It’s overwhelming. Every single Asda product says “Try me” somewhere on the packaging. My custard states, somewhat cockily “I’m at my best when heated and poured over freshly chopped bananas.” I have an extremely needy box of white wine which ‘suggests’ that I “curl up and stay in with it.” God only knows the ramifications if I don’t obey it. I have cat food which tells me quite clearly that “I am the only food your cat needs.” Big-headed tinned mandarins who simply state “You’ll love me.”

All my food is now talking to me. I fear the messages from within the cupboards; within the fridge. And worse still, they are all egotistical. They all love themselves. None of them suffer with the self-doubt and anxiety that I do. I hate them. I now hate the kitchen.

Enter “The Saucy Fish Company” – the new kids on the block. And sadly, the trigger point for this little diatribe. Going into the kitchen is unbearable enough as it is but today things hit an all-time low. I have to say I was looking forward to trying their Roasted Sweet Chilli Salmon Fillets for the first time. I unwrapped the pretty funky looking packaging, and laid the fish on the baking tray. And then, I flipped over the packaging for guidance. And there it was. Underneath the suggested cooking instructions.

“…use the instructions as a guide, I’m sure you know best.”

“I’m sure you know best?” What? I apparently know better than the food itself how it likes to be cooked? That’s impossible. How the bloody hell should I know how a piece of fish enjoys itself to be cooked? It’s utter nonsense. We now have a dead fish speaking from beyond the grave suggesting that I know what it likes. The world has gone absolutely crazy. It’s completely tipped me over the edge.

Bloody nice fish though.

Washed down with a talking smoothie.

From a talking kitchen.