February 5, 2007 at 9:45 am
I don’t usually buy the wet, canned cat food, but in order to use my coupon I had to bump my order up to $15.00 and the $0.60 cent can of Science Diet was the easiest way to do it. My cat got awfully excited over the treat as I peeled back the metal lid. He kept poking his nose into the can as I used a spoon to scoop out the ground up bits of animals I don’t want to know the names of. I scraped all around the edges and whacked the remaining sticky clumps into the bowl with a few thumps.
And then I licked the spoon.
It was only when the meaty mess was sticking to the top of my mouth that I realized what I had done. All those years of licking the beaters after mixing a cake and scooping up wads of chocolate chip cookie dough on the sly must have created an automatic response in my brain. I’d run down a well-beaten path in my neural pathways that said: Serve food, then lick spoon.
Since it was already in my mouth, I figured I may as well swallow. (This is a philosophy that I only apply to food, by the way.) Surprisingly, cat food doesn’t taste that bad. I didn’t start go “Ooahk, ooahk” and upchuck it on the carpet like my cat does after he’s been chewing on the spider plants. But I’m not going to be making any cat food pâté recipes either.
It does make me wonder how much the packaging shapes our perception of a food. If they’d put a label on this can that said “Ground Veal” would I be more inclined to think I liked it? Getting kids to try new foods can be a major obstacle because they don’t think they will like new foods or are scared to try new taste experiences. I recently read that some food companies greenwash their packaging to make them appear more healthy by putting images of farms or fields or sax-laying earthworms on them. Could such marketing turn something like cat food into a delicacy?
I don’t know, but I think I’ll stick to buying the dry food for my cat from now on. I’ve never found myself accidentally chomping on kibble.