So I just passed through the local Dunkin Donuts drive through as part of my daily lunch routine. I normally order a large, unsweetened iced tea with lemon and enjoy that throughout the afternoon, but today I decided to get a little crazy and order a chocolate chip cookie to go along with the iced tea. I have a meeting scheduled to start at 1500 and go until 1600 tomorrow, so I figured I would need the extra sugar. On the other hand, adding the cookie breaks my record of consistency with the ordering process. I strive to achieve what my mother did back in the day, she could call the local pizza place, just say “It’s Sandi” and hang up the phone and 30 minutes later a pizza cooked to perfection would arrive at the door. No directions, no topping notices, no haggling over the tip.  Consistency got the pizza joint trained like so many cocker spaniels and it was good. I was hoping to achieve the same with Dunkin Donuts with the intent of them recognising the hum of the Acura but now it’s all crazy because of that chocolate chip cookie.

But I digress.

And I didn’t get the chocolate chip cookie.

Instead, I got the aforementioned iced tea with a toasted bagel smothered in pink goo. The goo was acting like a glue and holding the two halves of the bagel together. I figured one was suppose to eat it like a sandwich.

First of all, pink food of any nature just makes me nervous unless it’s a jam and then it should be much more red than pink. This pink was almost neon pink, kind of like something you would find on Cyndi Lauper’s hair back when she was telling us that She Bopped. Pink is not a natural food color. However, I was feeling adventurous and thought I was give this errant bagel a try, since it was toasted and all.

I’d rather eat shaving cream.

Wow, that pink goo had the strongest, foulest taste of strawberry substitution I had ever had in my life and that includes any attempts at downing a glass of Strawberry Quik. It was just plain awful. I chucked the bagel with goo into the bag and hastily grabbed the lemon out of my iced tea glass and licked the lemon, hoping to get the goo taste out of my mouth.

This got me to thinking, this chemically induced taste ‘sensation’ can not be good for us. If one peruses the interwebs in the right places you’ll find Public Service Ads for various things back in the day, and by that I mean back in the early 1950s. You know how many of us cringe now when we see Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel smoking up a storm on every episode of “I Love Lucy” or when the Flintstones were smoking in their cave and the like? I’m sure more than one person has muttered to themselves, “What in the world were they thinking back then?” It’s like when we dumped chemicals into the river and killed Onondaga Lake or, and this one really gets me, when we covered models’ faces with radioactive dirt from Yucca Flats so a cleansing cream company could demonstrate how well it really worked. (They never show the part where their faces melt). Again, reading those sentences may make you think,”What were they thinking?”

Do you think in 20 or so years that we’ll be saying “What were we thinking?” when we think back to the all the artificial flavors and fake sweeteners and genetically modified food that we are eating today? I have told the story of when Frito Lay was doing a trial of their “Olean” product here in Upstate New York back in the mid 1990s. The stuff erupted my stomach in a way that hasn’t happened again and quite frankly to this day I still can not look at that tree just off Thruway Exit 24 without remembering how much I desperately needed toilet paper after a few munches of some sour cream and onion chips with that crap in it. Explosive bowels, my ass (no pun intended). Hiroshima had it good. Now do we run (no pun intended) around screaming that we want Olean (aka Olestra) in our food? Not so much. We know better.

One can’t escape High Fructose Corn Syrup these days unless you just make something yourself and now that it’s getting a bad rap they want it renamed to “corn sugar”. Why is it getting a bad rap? Because it’s probably bad for you and renaming HFCS as “corn sugar” is the same as renaming cancer sticks as “Kool”.

The bagel with the pink goo is now in a trash bucket where I have no doubt that it will survive 2012 and beyond. It’s much like that Happy Meal everyone has been chatting about this week, the one that was left in the garage for six months and it didn’t decompose, it looks the same as it did the day it was made. That’s freakin’ scary to me.

I think I’ll just start making an extra thermos of tea so that I don’t have another pink goo catastrophe.