Not What It Seems Like

During a recent family dinner at Casa De Freak the conversation turned to foods that aren’t what they seem to be. The most obvious example is margarine which isn’t really butter, but then we started talking about other marvels of modern food science. Which of course made me think about music that deals with the same topic.

Artists In Resonance “Would I Lie To You?” (Eurythmics)
The purveyors of faux food don’t lie about what it is, but only because the government forces them to be relatively truthful. After all they wouldn’t call it “lemonade flavored drink” if they could get away with calling it lemonade, would they?

Pine Valley Cosmonauts “What Is Truth?” (Johnny Cash)
The contortions that companies go through when they describe their food products can be absurd. I remember a comedy routine from years ago about “cheese food,” where the comedian pointed out that it’s not cheese, it’s what they feed to cheese before they feed the cheese to you. Such distinctions can indeed make one wonder about the nature of truth.

Mathias “Substitute” (The Who)
Often times the foods I’m talking about are substitutes for other foods. And there’s often good reasons for that. Margarine has less cholesterol and saturated fat than butter. Artificial vanilla flavoring is less expensive than vanilla extract. Sometimes the substitution works and sometimes it doesn’t. Margarine on toast can be adequate, but margarine just doesn’t work as well for baking as butter.

Noel The Coward “Artificial Flowers” (Bobby Darin)
The problem with stuff like chocolately-flavored syrup is that the manufacturers create those flavors using various substances that nobody but chemists recognize. Artificial flavors may or may not be better for you than the real thing.

Bop Skizzum “Brass In Pocket” (The Pretenders)
In the end we’re talking about foods that pretend to be other foods. And just like a movie or a book, the key to pretending is the suspension of disbelief. All these pretend foods taste better (or at least more believable) if you just don’t think too much about what they really are.