This one's only a little better. It's the kind of bag that would have one of those kitten posters hanging on its wall, the one that says "Hang in there."
And there's this label, tweeted yesterday by Wired editor Bill Wasik, offensive for its sheer volume of "foodie" "buzzwords":
It appears we're in a new era of the food label, a time in which one doesn't look at whatever his or her food comes in to make sure there's not MSG, or too much sodium, or weird chemicals, or carbs. Or that it doesn't cost too much, or hasn't gone bad. Instead one must look at one's food label and confront the idea that it contains love, nurturing, good feelings, emotional support, and a strong moral high ground. Or, conversely, find that it's a terrible, twee portmanteau. Or "bespoke." That there's some wacky story about what the people who made the food feel about it, and the food's eater (you), and the process of making or eating the food. What does love taste like? "It was very good salsa," says the eater of the salsa below. Its primary ingredient? Love. Is it wrong to simply want food to be food, to want food to stop yapping all the damn time and to have so many feelings?
Kat Kinsman, managing editor of Eatocracy, told me of all the verbose labeling, "It's gotten seriously out of control... the first thing that comes to mind is my favorite chocolate, Fine & Raw. It's so sumptuous, the soles of my feet actually have tingled with delight as I've eaten it, but on the website (and I think the package), DUDE!" It goes like this, she continued: "Creaminess warning: made in a chocolate lab where people eat a lot of chocolate and believe in sustainable design for your tongue. for the eco-chic & forward and any one whose tongue is bored and heart plays loud music that no one else can hear."
She added, "I've never had a 'creaminess warning' before in, uh, that context, but that's the least of it." Yes, there is more. "Fine & Raw's mission is to save the world through silliness and chocolate!"
Do we actually even want our food made with love? It seems more important that our food taste delicious, but maybe we'll accept cloying labels if the food is tasty enough to make us return for seconds. After all, I'm still buying Faux Gras, though I try not to consider how respect fits into the flavor palate. Each of the products I've cited above, from Bespoke to Love-Salsa, are things that actually taste pretty good. Or as Kinsman said of Fine & Raw's chocolate packaging and stated mission: "Mission vaguely accomplished. Now shaddup and make more."
Stephanie Lucianovic, Grub Report blogger and author of Suffering Succotash, told me, "I think the 'made with love' thing has become so overused that it's lost all possible meaning. How can someone expect me to believe that something was 'made with love' when they don't even know me? I see through it as a manipulative marketing technique that doesn't work well on me because I don't find it cute... I roll my eyes at such affected earnestness. Also, it's not like it's an FDA-approved labeling, right? (I mean, I'm assuming the FDA doesn't go in for testing the love levels on food.) So in that sense, it does beg the question of what exactly they're trying to tell us: do you love me? Do you love what you do? Did you love each individual ingredient as it went into the jam and if so maybe I don't really want to know about it? 'Made with care' would mean a lot more to me than 'made with love' because the love part is just so self-consciously cute that it verges on over-the-top histrionics. Like Zooey Deschanel."
What does your favorite food feel about you? Once you start paying attention, you see it everywhere (it's so needy!). And, of course, if your food isn't treating the way you feel you deserve to be treated, you can also buy "Made With Love" stickers on Etsy.
*This post was written with a frisson of rage, a sprinkle of joy, some saffron, and mostly just a lot of amusement.
Image via Shutterstock by Ambrophoto.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.