Wednesday, January 10, 2007
What's that smell?
See this? It's a pesto pizza from Amy's Kitchen. According to the box, it's "a light tender crust topped with Amy's homemade pesto, part skim mozzarella cheese, garden fresh organic tomato slices and broccoli florets." However, the copywriter left out an important feature that I discovered when I baked one last night: It stinks.
I don't mean it stinks in the sense that it's a bad product. I mean it literally stinks, in the sense that when I opened the oven, I was knocked back by a pungent wave of something that smelled like a cross between an unwashed public toilet and a pair of funky gym shoes. I’ve eaten plenty of pesto in my life, and this was not pesto. It was a stench from the sewers of medieval London, from the Nile in full flood, from the deepest pit in Hell.
"Dear God!" I said, and I meant it as a heartfelt prayer. Dear God, please tell me that smell isn't my dinner!
"What, Mom? What is it?" asked G, who was already at the table with her own meal. (It was Morningstar Farms Chik 'n Nuggets, and no, I’m not getting paid to mention the names of natural-foods companies, although they’re welcome to send me money if they like. I accept PayPal.)
“This pizza smells like a – uh, um, I mean it smells like poo,” I said, because “poo” is clearly a much more acceptable way to describe your meal than “ass.”
“Let me smell it!” said G, jumping up and running into the kitchen. (OMG, why?) She bent over the cookie sheet that held the offending food, sniffed, and pulled a face.
“I hope it doesn’t taste like poo,” she said.
"Me too," I said.
I stared down at the pizza. The pesto topping oozed greenly out from under the edges of the cheese, looking not unlike the contents of a newborn's diaper. I considered pitching the whole thing into the garbage and skipping dinner altogether, but then I thought of conversations G and I have had in the past about being picky and sampling new foods, and I realized that this was a golden opportunity to set a good example for her.
“Are you going to eat it?” she asked.
“I’m going to try it,” I said, and picked up a knife.
The first bite was terrifying, particularly because I had to bring the slice so close to my nose to take it, but I am happy to report that Pesto Pizza doesn’t taste anything like it smells. In fact, it tastes really, really good, so good that I ate three-quarters of the pie and would have finished it if I hadn’t been so full. I don’t know whether the lesson G learned was "Try new things even if you don't think you'll like them," or "Eat stuff that smells bad," or possibly "Eat poo,” but there was definitely a lesson in it. And a yummy meal.
That said, I do think it would help if Amy’s Kitchen added something to the box to reassure nervous first-time consumers of their product, so out of the goodness of my heart, I've crafted a few potential taglines for them:
Don’t Let the Stench Fool You
Smells Like Ass, But Made of Yum
Just Hold Your Nose and Taste It
Aren't you feeling hungry already? I knew you would!