How can Food Be Scary


skulls_cFood can be very scary for many reasons. Much food is scary not on its own account but because of the pollutants, chemicals and synthetically engineered production process. And all those scary additives and preservatives. Yes, that is very scary, but most scary food is just plain personal.

By Toby Hatchett

Does anyone remember Dan Quayle and the "new" scientifically altered tomato? That creation, so not like a tomato that only schools and other captive institutions bought it, to force feed those with no alternative, was truly scary. To boast it could survive being run over by a truck is not very warm and fuzzy. Scary and a big yuck.

Much food is scary because it is alien. The taste is unfamiliar. It looks weird. Have you ever seen the head of monkfish, up close and personal? One scary fish ...; a bit too much cat-like for some. Yet, monkfish is popular and it does taste good, once you conquer the slime factor.

To some, flouring a raw, bloody piece of calves' liver can bring on a fright. That icky purple side of a chicken liver can make a strong person go weak at the knees.

Some of those exotic mushrooms in the market, upon careful observation, can induce nightmares. Who would eat such a thing? But wait! Try it and the taste overcomes its other-worldly appearance.

So-called luncheon meat and what may be in it is enough to send shivers down the spine of many people. What IS in that stuff? In "A Country Life" by Rachel Cusk, she vomits after eating a sandwich made with some alien luncheon meat in a tin. She suspects it may be left over from World War II, perhaps Spam. The kind with a little opener all its own. The next morning, when she goes out to bury her clump of vomit left on her doorstep, she finds it is still glowing a bright, sickly pink! Now, this is pretty scary. The luncheon meat that won't go away, even after being vomited.

Yes, yes, don't read this story if you haven't had your breakfast.

Some food is just plain scary.

Could you and do you cook brains for dinner? Do you like tripe? Do you not mind eating a live oyster? One can do this easily, you know. Oysters are one of life's greatest pleasures, but to some, oysters are scary.

Perhaps one of the scariest foods is that pre-packaged burger or sandwich, enveloped in plastic wrap and sold at the counters of many convenience stores. How long has it been there? Why is it encased in a plastic coffin? Why? Even worse, zap it in a microwave and then cut open and eat it. What? Really? How scary is this? When food becomes not food and just some medium to nuke and inhale it seems pretty darn scary. Halloween all year-round?

Perhaps one of the scariest of foods is that orange slice encased in plastic and called cheese. Not cheese. A fake cheese. Does it resemble cheese in any respect? No. Yet how many kiddies grow up on this sad and scary substitute for real cheese? How many homes ply this non-food orange-glow nightmare-making cheese upon their children? Scary ...

Another really, really scary food is colored cereal. Yes, truly! Grains don't really grow in colors. You are eating food dyes, you know! Isn't this more than scary? Real cereal is gray and brown and beige and not decorated by a designer. Well, oatmeal is always oatmeal colored, yes? Colored grains are very, very scary.

Try reading the ingredients on a box of frozen fish sticks. Use your magnifier. Do you see any fish in there? Scary.

Now, hot dogs. Many of you will hate to read this and pay no attention. So skip this section. Hot dogs are one of the scariest foods of all time. They last for centuries. Even the so-called organic varieties have a shelf life that defies rationality. Yes, yes. Organic. All natural. Or not. Those ball park ones are a squalid pink not found in any nature known, but perhaps known as some arcane organ in some odd animal. Who wants to really think about it? Many do, amazingly. Some people just say, "hey it's a hot dog and what is more American than a hot dog?" OK. Still scary.

This country is used to scary food, but scary food of its own kind. Namely, chemically enhanced. All natural calves' liver is nasty to many, but they don't bat an eyelash at a scary hot dog. Yikes!

Perhaps, it is fitting that the kiddies mostly get candy. While it may have too much sugar, it's pretty identifiable for what it is. A sweet. A treat. Better to have a treat on Halloween than a trick. The trick on this nation of mass production is the crap they try to sell us. It's not only crap, it's plain scary. It's the worst sort of joke on a country that deserves better.

Won't happen until we all wake up and say "no more scary food!" Not even on Halloween. Least of all, not on Halloween. It makes poor Lizzie Borden look good, with that cold lamb stew on the burners after she murdered her parents. Or did she? Maybe she just hated that nasty, scum-encrusted old lamb, or mutton ...;never a pretty sight, to be sure.

One person's scary food is another's delight. Variety is the spice of life, to be sure.

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