Thursday, December 29, 2005


Like the sea, a supermarket contains many secrets that it does not willingly give up. Sometimes it takes some squinting at the fine print to tell what's really going on. Unfortunately, the labels often pose deeper questions than they answer.

Let's ponder Mighty Dog Prime Cuts Chicken in Gravy Dinner. If you've ever used a Mighty Dog product, you know better than to buy any of the "in Gravy" variants, because it's a cup of water with some chunks in it. But Prime Cuts Chicken goes even further. The ingredient list starts out OK: Water, Chicken, Turkey, Animal Liver.... Wait a minute. ANIMAL liver? Note that they identify chicken as a meat. Turkey is a meat. They could've said "chicken liver" or "beef liver." But the fine folks at Mighty Dog didn't want to make that commitment. They could only go so far as to say "animal liver." Why couldn't they say "liver?" The word "liver" doesn't open up nearly as many questions as the phrase "animal liver." I thought that it might've been a misspelling of "animal lover" and that they'd been able to sneak a couple of PETA activists in the 2000 gallon grist vat that day, but no. Animal liver. ANIMAL liver, and you had just better walk backwards, slowly, out of the factory and stop asking questions.

Slim Jims used to list beef lips on their label, but they seem to stick to "mechanically separated chicken" now. If I'm not mistaken, that's what you get when, having picked all the meat off the bones, the factory shoots jets of boiling sludge at the carcass, removing all the rest of the little bits into a delicious, Slim Jimmable slurry. Other brands of beefy snap sticks, like Rolets chevies, still list beef lips. However, their ingredients are: beef, beef lips..... Why must they list these as two separate things? It doesn't help the reputation of the first "beef" to then toss in a second, lippier version.

But today, I was greeted with the worst product yet. I've said it for years - the end of human civilization as we know it will originate from somewhere in Washington State. Today, I found us one step closer, courtesy of the King Kullen produce aisle. I spied this misplaced set of four apples, shrink-wrapped, with the Grapple brand name. The label announced that they looked like an apple, but tasted like grapes! The ingredients? Washington State Fuji apples, artificial grape flavoring.

Why is this worse than animal liver and beef lips? When you buy Mighty Dog, you kind of expect the main ingredients to be floor sweepings and offal. When you buy Slim Jims, you're not looking for filet mignon in a convenient pocket pack. However, when you buy an apple, you want an apple. Not another piece of candy. (Except when you get caramel apples around Halloween. Mmmm mmmm good.) It's not even some weird hybrid that tastes like a grape. It's just some crappy old apples they had lying around and shot up with fake grape flavoring.

I wanted to find out more about this Grapple, so I tried to go to their site. It was down for servicing or something. So I checked out the Google cache page. "With childhood obesity increasing at alarming rates, Grāpple brand apples could go a long way to improving the eating habits of children and introducing them to more produce." Yessir. When everything tastes like candy, everyone will eat better! Their home page also features an animation of Chicken Little, dancing for his pathetic little life, looking as fake as, well, a Grapple.

Unsatisfied with this visit to a fake page about a fake apple that showed a fake chicken, I went back to try the "similar pages" list. I now know that the following are similar to Grapples: earthquake maps of North America, high-tech robot skin, Nestle Smarties, portable keyboards for the Palm, Texas Motor Speedway, and 80s music. Grapples: There's no making sense of them.


#8 said...

Sounds like you're "grappling" with the concept...

Oh, by the way, it's me, Chris Clemmons.

kernIGs said...

dude, they taste good though. Like grapes. The WHOLE APPLE tastes like grape, and then so does anything else you eat really quickly while your front teef are coated with grape flavoring.