Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Be warned: not a pre-dinner post.
Yesterday I brought no sustenance along with me for my long day of finals week, so I broke down and hit the vending machine. I thought, "Hmmm, licorice sounds fine and reasonably harmless for brunch," and purchased me some Chewbilee Chew Goodies.
I suddenly became aware of this habit that I have: if I buy a package of something from a vending machine, I open the package, take a bite of whatever, and then read the ingredients. While I'm chewing. This, it turns out, is not the wisest order of progression.
So, as I'm swallowing my first and only Chewbilee Chew Goodie, I get to the part of the ingredients where shellac is listed. SHELLAC. The shellac is right before the beeswax and right after the glyceryl monostearate. Other fine nutrients.
I know that shellac, when not being consumed as part of a balanced diet, is usually used for coating furniture and whatnot, but I have to admit that I didn't know what it was, exactly. The kind librarian decided to research shellac to help calm me. She looked at me apprehensively, knowing I would not be so calmed by her results. Shellac, it turns out, is a beetle secretion.
There's something to be said for ignorant bliss. Last semester, one of my vegetarian students wished she had remained thusly ignorant when she finished her vending machine carrot cake and then found it to contain "beef fat".
And now that I am reading every ingredient of everything, I both sincerely do and sincerely don't want clarification on what exactly the "tree nuts" in the 70% cacao Lindt bar I've been saving are.
I don't want to become one of those people who obsesses over the perfect quality of her food. I just want my food to be made of...food.