In Defense of (Fake) Food

Digging into a bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch the other night I had a major epiphany.

The epiphany that I’m referring to is peanut-related.

You see, after all these years of considering myself to be a huge fan of peanuts and peanut butter I realized that I actually like fake peanut butter flavoring much more than I like real peanuts or peanut butter…hence my love of Cap’n Crunch’s delicious spin-off cereal, Peanut Butter Crunch.

(Reese’s Puffs are actually better than Peanut Butter Crunch but I try not to stock Reese’s Puffs in the house because they’re way too good and I run the risk of eating an entire box in one seating. Seriously, giving me a box of Reese’s Puffs is akin to giving George Michael a wheel-barrow full of crack and a key to the men’s room. But I digress.)

The evidence is pretty overwhelming. For instance, I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups but I’m lukewarm on Snickers. I adore Butterfingers but I’m ambivalent about Baby Ruths. I obviously favor fake peanuts over actual peanuts.

Thinking about it, it’s not just peanuts that I prefer in the fake form. A couple more examples of delicious fake foods:

Real coconuts are terrible. The meat is dry and unpleasant. The juice is much too thick and tastes gross. But process that bad boy into a Pina Colada or a Mounds bar and I’m almost paradise!

Genuine crabmeat is generally disappointing. The texture is odd and gritty and it’s just not worth the effort of cracking open those pointy shells. But fake crabmeat rocks! It tastes like you think crab should taste and it has a much better consistency.

I think it’s nice that today’s ethical consumer is concerned with environmentally-responsible and healthy foodstuffs. I commend efforts to support your local farmer’s market and to buy sustainable organic produce. But I think it would be irresponsible for us not to realize that modern science has helped to make some marginal foodstuffs palatable.

So let us take pause today and celebrate the fake foods that so enrich our lives. Let us be brave enough to finally admit that Swedish Fish taste better than real fish. Let us be bold enough to declare our preference for candy corn over real corn.

Or maybe I just like candy.

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