- A restaurant serving free chips and salsa with the exact same menu as every other restaurant serving free chips and salsa
- Home of the “hot plate”
Usage Example: “I love ‘Mexican Restaurant.’ They have the best burrito covered in cheese sauce, served with refried beans and rice.”
Background: The American Mexican Restaurant Commission sets certain guidelines to be observed by every low-priced, local Mexican restaurant. These guidelines are as follows:
- Greet customers with the phrase “Hola, amigos!” Use this phrase even if you are the child of Irish immigrants.
- Serve free chips and salsa.
- Adopt the universal Mexican restaurant menu. This menu must include:
- Numbered dinner meals
- Fajitas, Burritos, Tacos and Nachos
- At least 75% of the menu must be completely covered in cheese sauce
- All rice must be some shade of orange
- Fried Ice Cream
- For birthday celebrations, utilize a novelty sombrero.
- Fajitas must be generating a noise louder than 80 decibels when delivered to the table.
- There must be no less than 40 Corona advertisements within 20 feet of the front door.
- Be aware that 50% of your customers will think that they are fluent in Spanish, and will try to engage in Spanish conversations with you. Smile and humor them.
- Servers must repeatedly yell the phrase “hot plate” when delivering plates to the table. This warning must occur regardless of the actual temperature of the plates.
- Key player in a FIFA scandal
- The adopted color of an underrepresented fruit with deep pockets
Usage Example: “It’s a blue popsicle… of course it’s raspberry flavored.”
Background: In the early 1980s, the American food industry held its famous “Who Wants to be a Blue Fruit” contest. Food manufacturers had long desired to offer a blue colored fruit flavor, and this was the contest that would award the color blue to a deserving fruit. Blueberry was the early favorite and was expected to coast to an easy win. This was likely because blueberries are actually blue. However, the food world was rocked by the final decision.
The former president of the Food Industry Formulation Association (FIFA), Sepp Blatter, announced that the color blue would be awarded to the raspberry. The world was shocked. Raspberries do have a little known variety that is purple, but blueberry clearly made the most sense. However, in the world of FIFA, logic doesn’t matter. The raspberry lobby had deep pockets, and they bought their way into the big time.
One day raspberry is an anonymous fruit, the next day it’s a famous blue flavor. Today, whenever anyone eats blue candy, they assume that it is raspberry flavored. We can thank FIFA for that.
- Optimal diet for those long woolly mammoth hunts
- Perfect excuse to avoid eating fruitcake
Usage Example: “The Paleo Diet gives me the energy that I need to invent fire and outrun saber-toothed tigers.”
Background: At some point in our recent history, we decided that cavemen were healthy… really healthy. In fact, they were probably the healthiest people who ever lived. They may have all died at the age of 20, but if they hadn’t been killed by animals or the elements, they probably would have lived to be 150 years old. This is the basic concept behind the Paleo Diet.
Developers of the Paleo Diet realized that a full three months had passed since the last “new diet plan” was introduced, so the market was long overdue for the next miracle diet.
After watching an old episode of The Flintstones, developers noticed that Fred followed a caveman variation of the Atkins Diet. This diet allowed him to work long hours and still slide effortlessly down the back of a brontosaurus after work. This inspirational event led to at least three hours of development in which they asked themselves the question: “What would cavemen eat?”
In spite of the fact that mammoth meat is expensive and difficult to find, the Paleo Diet exploded in popularity. The Paleo Diet allowed people to finally live out their lifelong dreams of being frightened hunter-gatherers. The success of this diet is an excellent sign for the developers of the Great Depression Diet and the Dark Ages Cleanse.
- Tiny, waxy pieces of candy gravel
- Fun and easy way of ingesting car wax
Usage Example: “Did you put your mouth on this box of Nerds?”
Background: All kids love to eat rocks. The trailblazing candy developers at Nestle banked on this premise when they created Nerds candy.
Today, Nerds are the top selling candy in the crowded “candy gravel” market. Nerds combine all the fun of eating handfuls of gravel, with the benefits of ingesting Turtle Wax. Nerds contain a substance called carnauba wax. This wax is commonly used in shoe polish and car wax. The public has long demanded that car wax enter the candy market, and Nerds is one of the products to make it happen.
Nerds are often sold in cardboard boxes with two separate compartments. This allows two flavors of Nerds to be packaged together. This packaging also invites kids to put their mouths on the box when eating them. Always assume that anyone offering you an open box of Nerds has already put their mouths on the box.
In the days following the initial release of Nerds candy, the public wondered how long it would take until Nestle decided to plaster Nerds all over a gummy rope. The answer is: way too long. Finally, the makers of Nerds caved to the inevitable and released the Nerds Rope. It was only a matter of time.
- A mixture of tomato juice and clam juice…for some reason
- The answer to a question that no one ever asked
- Bottles of red liquid used to help grocery store shelves look full
- A real thing
Usage Example: “This tomato juice isn’t bad. I just wish it had more bivalve mollusk flavor. I need some Clamato.”
Figure 1 – Clamato – Note the small clam on the label.
Background: The lack of shellfish in mass-produced fruit and vegetable juice is alarming. Thankfully, the people at Mott’s produce Clamato: one of the few fruit and vegetable juice products to include the flavor of clam.
Thankfully, Clamato eliminates the messy process of mixing clam juice with your favorite juice drinks at home. Everyone is tired of doing this. For years, I struggled with tiny funnels and tape, trying to mix the clam juice that my kids demanded, into their Capri Sun “Pacific Cooler” juice pouches. Now, I just send them off to school with Clamato. Thank you, Clamato.
With clam juice finally finding its way into fruit and vegetable juices, the market is now ripe for more garden-ocean juice combinations. Cranberry-Oyster, Grape-Squid, and Orange-Pineapple-Horseshoe Crab are flavors that we all can agree are long overdue.
- Pellet of compressed sawdust designed to help people feel better about their decisions
- Edible Fitbit
Usage Example: “This daily multivitamin only has 40 mcg of chromium. That is not acceptable.”
Background: The daily multivitamin comes in many forms. The most commonly available multivitamins are the standard compressed sawdust variety. However, the water-filled plastic pellet and gummy placebo forms are also available. Regardless of the form, multivitamins serve a single important purpose: to help adults feel better about ordering the triple-bacon-cheeseburger with unlimited fries.
Ingesting a daily multivitamin feels like a healthy decision. This helps people justify participating in a nine hour Storage Wars marathon with a fifty gallon drum of cheese balls. Similar to buying a gym membership or wearing a Fitbit, a multivitamin doesn’t actually do anything, but it makes people feel healthier. This opens the door to all kinds of unhealthy activities.
Adults who choose to take gummy vitamins are people who enjoy making unhealthy decisions disguised as healthy decisions, in order to make more unhealthy decisions later. In short: they are geniuses. However, after taking their daily candy medicine, they are constantly faced with the temptation to eat the entire jar…It’s a good thing they don’t really do anything.
- Magically delicious boxes of breakfast sugar
- Breakfast crack-for-kids which successfully redefined the word “marshmallow”
Usage Example: “Since eating a bowl of Skittles isn’t socially acceptable, I’ll settle for some Lucky Charms.”
Background: Lucky Charms is a breakfast sugar product sold by the General Mills food company. It is composed of delicious, sugary chunks of Styrofoam that are branded as “marshmallows,” and an unidentifiable filler product.
To most kids, Lucky Charms is the holy grail of breakfast cereals. Approximately 100% of kids have asked their parents to buy it for them at some point. However, relatively few parents agree to the deal. The cereal is called Lucky Charms, because kids who end up with a box feel like they have a winning lottery ticket – a lottery ticket that guarantees a prize package of several trips to the dentist.
Lucky Charms completely redefined breakfast. Before Lucky Charms, few people consumed bowls of sugar for breakfast. Now, this practice is commonplace. This innovation has greatly advanced the social acceptance of the leprechaun and elf communities.
Despite all of this, the most culturally significant contribution of Lucky Charms is the fact that it successfully redefined the word marshmallow. Lucky Charms claims to be full of marshmallows. Absolutely no one questions that this claim is true. However, upon closer examination, Lucky Charms is actually full of brightly colored, sugary chunks of Styrofoam. These chunks barely resemble marshmallows, but society has accepted that they are marshmallows. This shows the sugary power of Lucky Charms.
Lucky Charms is a magical part of a complete childhood obesity plan.
- Tiny gift bag of chemicals left by manufacturers of clothing and electronics
- Bossy, absorbent and possibly delicious substance that people are constantly warned not to eat
Usage Example: “I’d normally eat any item packaged with new electronics. It’s a good thing they warned me not to eat this silica gel.”
Figure 1: Silica gel packet containing Abraham Lincoln quote
Background: Silica gel is a desiccant. A desiccant is a forbidden and possibly delicious substance that absorbs moisture to keep products dry.
Silica gel is unique for its stern and bossy warnings to consumers (see Figure 1). On most packages of silica gel, we are told that the bag does in fact contain silica gel, and are given two instructions:
- THROW AWAY
- “DO NOT EAT”
Few products ask consumers to immediately throw them away. This warning leaves the impression that silica gel is a dangerous substance. After seeing this warning, most people are intrigued, and ready to eat the “packet of mystery” to see how dangerous it really is. Fortunately, silica gel packets also warn customers not to eat them. On many silica gel packets, the “DO NOT EAT” command is in quotes, for some reason. Some attribute the “DO NOT EAT” command to Abraham Lincoln, who was known for his staunch opposition to eating any substance contained in small mystery bags.
After reading these two warnings, most consumers are quick to throw away the silica gel, assuming it to be a highly toxic and possibly radioactive substance. However, it is interesting to note that silica gel is non-toxic. And, not only is it non-toxic, but it is sometimes used as a food additive. This fact makes the stern “DO NOT EAT” command seem even more bossy and unnecessary.
- Spreadable, pulverized cookies mixed with oils, creating a creamy delivery method for Type 2 diabetes
- A “hard butter” that users normally try after experimenting with gateway butters like Nutella
- A real thing
Usage Example: “The doctor says that my cookie butter levels are too high.”
Background: Cookie butter is a real thing. A really, real thing. This sugary, oily substance burst into the American consciousness as one of the more recent players in the now tightly packed butter market.
Figure 1 – Cookie Butter (Image credit: Trader Joe’s)
The history of butters is complex. First, humans churned milk to form butter. Later, they created apple butter and peanut butter. After the invention of peanut butter, there were no new butters created for many years. However, in recent years there has been a butter renaissance. At the beginning of this explosion of new butters, other nuts were pulverized and substances like cashew butter and almond butter gained popularity.
Most butters created up to this point offered some level of nutritional value. However, everything changed with the next butter. The gateway butter for cookie butter is a substance called “Nutella”. Nutella is basically chocolate butter. It is a chocolate spread with a few pulverized hazelnuts in it, to con the public into thinking that it is a somewhat healthy-ish substance. But Nutella isn’t fooling anyone.
After more and more people experimented with chocolate butter, the door was opened for a butter that made no excuses for its bold lack of nutrition: cookie butter. Cookie butter is made by pulverizing cookies and adding oil until the desired consistency is reached. These viscous, oily cookies can be eaten with a spoon, mixed with ice cream or made into Nutella and cookie butter sandwiches. Cookie butter is an important part of any weight gain program.
For now, the world can enjoy cookie butter while it eagerly awaits the arrival Twinkie butter, Sour Patch Kids butter and marshmallow butter… Oh, Wait… We already have marshmallow butter.
- Heroic, crime fighting fruits and vegetables
- Horrendous marketing failure
Usage Example: “Blueberries are a Superfood… Let’s eat them.”
Background: In 2003, Dr. Oz called a group of outcast fruits and vegetables to his secret lair, deep within a dormant volcano in Iceland. These fruits and vegetables were not incredibly popular, but in the mind of Dr. Oz, they possessed super powers. At this Superfood Summit, he commissioned the Superfoods to fight crime and defend truth and justice.
Each newly minted Superfood was issued a cape, mask and tights. They were then dispatched to the far corners of the earth. Among them were: blueberry, kale, spinach and broccoli.
Dr. Oz then began a global marketing campaign, spreading the word about this new group of Superfoods. From the outset, his campaign was a disaster. In a bizarre turn of events, instead of assisting the Superfoods in fighting evil, people decided to eat them. They even created entire diet plans composed primarily of Superfoods.
A dejected Dr. Oz returned to his volcano in defeat. After the Superfood disaster, he turned his efforts to finding a “miracle weight loss food”, which he found approximately 3,795 times.