I had thought I had seen how low food could go on my return from my summer studies in the Soviet Union in 1987. I had come home acclimated to the dour and sad Soviet supermarkets, with aisles of cabbages, dried apples and two brands of canned fish (but also with some surprisingly fine and cheap black bread). On my first grocery trip back home, I felt barraged within five minutes. I thought I would hold it together well enough until my mom and I passed the deli case and I saw something called "macaroni and cheese loaf." It was like olive loaf (for those dear friends not familiar with olive loaf, it is a bologna-like lunchmeat with sliced pimento-stuffed green olives dotted through it; it looks like a bit like mortadella, but doesn't taste nearly as good), only it was flecked with macaroni and cheese instead of olives. I thought it was the most revolting thing I had ever seen.
It *was* the most revolting thing I'd ever seen, and remained thus until I started working at the box factory, when I read an article in an industry mag about a company that was test-marketing microwaveable breakfasts in a push-up tube. It was disconcerting to read salespeople and R&D weasels talk about being able to drive with one hand and eat scrambled eggs with the other, and to talk about this as if it were a desirable thing to do. I do not want to contemplate what sort of eggs are used for these push-up scrambles. I have seen pictures of them. They are the most revolting things I've ever seen.
At least they were until last week, when I went to visit Raspberry Sour at The Sour Patch, who wrote a brilliant essay about the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. How much plastic has been disgorged into our landfills and watersheds as a result of this grand experiment? (Have no fear, the "Fun Facts" section will tell you!) How much hydrogenated fat, how much high fructose corn syrup, had to be added to this formula to make the peanut butter sheet like that? How much of the original peanut is left in this nonsense? Why in the world do we need it? Does anybody, in fact, want to buy it?