I have once again fallen victim to an evil genius with an advertising degree. Usually it’s restaurants that sucker me in with their promises of three course meals for under $12 or a pile of chili cheese nachos glistening with drippy fatty goodness. It doesn’t matter that I know my food will never look (or taste) half as good as those no doubt corn chip colored bits of styrofoam with perfectly molded plastic ooze pretending to be cheese promise. I see them and I want the taste sensation they present to me.
I took advertising classes as part of my journalism degree. I know that what looks like creamy, melty mint chocolate chip ice cream is actually lard, died mint green with bits of chocolate chunks stuck in for effect. I know that perfect bowl of Cheerios only looks perfect because that is a gluey substance, not milk, keeping each O in place. I know special lighting and dyes are used to make food look more appealing. The thinking, logical part of my brain knows all of this, and yet the part of my brain attached to my salvatory glands merely sees mounds of nacho cheese and cries out for it in a way the cogent part of my brain can’t defend against.
This time it was not a dish at the local fern bar. It wasn’t even a new flavor or ice cream or a scrumptious new chocolate bar. For the first time, it was a drink. Even stranger, it was a new flavor of soda: Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper. I’m not usually very picky about my sodas. Since I gave up both caffeine and regular soda, there isn’t really much for me to pick from. I’m pretty much a Diet Rite or Diet Caffeine Free Coke girl. The only time I grab any other type of soda is when it’s the only choice and the water tastes funky.
The commercial changed all that though. A luscious, fudge frosted cake, filled with what looked like cherry pie filling flashed onto the screen. It rotated so I could see it from every angle. And while I realize a cake doesn’t change much when viewed from different angles, the prolonged exposure of the image to my eye made my mouth start to water. I could almost taste it melting in my mouth. I had to have it.
I thought about it all week. I’d already been to the store and since the temperature are unreasonably cold and I hate exposing the baby to the cold, I couldn’t bring myself to make an extra trip out to get it. Instead, it flooded my every soda thought. Each time I reached for a glas of water, all I could think about was how it should be liquid chocolate running down my throat.
Finally, grocery day came again. As I made my way down the snack aisle, there it was, complete with the limited edition stamp on the front. My little cup of heaven. I rushed home to try it. Well, really I went the normal pace to get home and put it in the fridge because I wanted to try it unspoiled by ice and the threat of watering down.
So today, I took my first drink, thrilled at the prospect of something with 0 calories tasting like a chocolate cherry masterpiece.
The first whiff of the drink let me know disappointment was soon to follow. It smelled like a cherry Tootsie pop. You know the ones Mr. Owl used to peddle. And just like when I was a kid and I went from the sweet cherry taste to that mixture of Tootsie roll mingled in, I paused and debated whether or not to keep eating (drinking in this case). The first sip was exactly what the scent set me up for. Liquid Tootsie pop, not diet chocolate nirvana.
I guess I’m not really surprised, just saddened that I have once again been prey for someone with a strange ide about what tastes good and a goal to market it. I also am not quite sure what to do with the remainder of the two liter sitting in my fridge. Throwing it out seems wasteful, especially since I kind of like cherry Tootsie pops, but drinking it, well, I just don’t have any desire to do it. I should have stuck with the plastic cheese.