Thursday, June 24, 2010

Artificial Flavors

TheWife and I worked hard to keep the kids eating real food as long as we can before the larger cultural influences started exerting their unhealthy pressures. The less short of the short people had a class camping trip and on it, she tried soda. Come the school's closing ceremony, they had coolers and she asked if she could have a soda again. We gave in and since she was having one, we offered the opportunity to the shorter of the short people. He LOVES grapes, so jumped at the opportunity to try grape soda. You could see the anger and disappointment on his face when he took the first sip. "This doesn't taste like grapes."

After his baseball game the other night, everyone else got ice pops brought by one of the parents. Again, you have to pick your battles, so I said o.k. and he took a red one. On the way home, I asked him what flavor it was. He thought for a second and said, "I don't know. It doesn't taste like anything I've ever eaten." I asked if it was strawberry or cherry and he said that it didn't taste like either one.

Of course, it was one or the other. Our words for fruit are ambiguous, they refer to the actual fruit and to the artificially created chemical combinations that we label with fruit names. What is odd is that for many children the artificial flavor is the primary meaning of the term. We have so corporatized our food supply that the actual meaning of flavor words are no longer the flavor to which they initially referred.

Indeed, the alienation is so complete that we don't even need to connect them by color. Artificial blue gets labeled "raspberry." I grow raspberries. I have red. I have gold. I have black which is actually dark purple. There is no blue raspberry. There are blueberries, but even they aren't blue, they're purple. But the point is it makes no difference to children who don't eat raspberries. It is just a word. So, why don't we create new words that are completely distinct from natural vocabulary? If we are not even trying, why bother trying?