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!


Well-heeled mom said...

I wonder at what point kids outgrow that need to come and sniff whenever we say "PEW!"

Vanessa said...

>I wonder at what point kids outgrow >that need to come and sniff whenever >we say "PEW!"

I think it mutates into that adult need to say "Oh God, this tastes terrible -- here, try it!"

writermeeg said...

You had me laughing out loud, a much-needed laugh after a week locked in the house with an infant with a cold. Thanks. And, yes, I think it must be human nature to be fascinated with funky stench... ;)

mandycole31 said...

Thank you so much for this post. I was just eating my first Amy's Pesto Pizza and literally had to google why it smelled like poo, I was worried it was rancid, thankfully, I found this post so I can rest assured the smell doesn't mean it's rotten and it does taste good...once you're past the stench.