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A Food Philosophy of Poptarts

Poptarts are… resplendent , might we say.

woman shopping at a grocery store with basket

There are endless flavors, some obviously tastier than others. Based on empirical evidence, I was first drawn to the strawberry Poptart due to its aesthetic value; it appeared honest- its color matching with the fruit it represents- there were no signs of self-interest in the strawberry Poptart, and it was there for me when I needed it... at my kitchen table, thinking alone, feeling watched, craving something strawberry. It was dependable; morally intact. Ah… if looks could kill, my spirit would be taken away.

But my experience with the strawberry strand could not last. Like a clingy romance, it began to make itself too available- in the dreary isles of Shoprite- lesser, even bootleg versions of the strawberry Poptart reappeared not only at the grocery stores but also in my nightmares.

And then I awakened.

While browsing on a sad afternoon, in the desolate pastry* aisle, blueberry invaded my consciousness, standing there alone on sale**.

Blueberry was… esoteric. Its greatness…impalpable, until I took matters into my own hands and, using the instrument of cognition, purchased a box for a killer*** price. As much as I looked forward to experiencing blueberry, in a moment of reaching over to grab it with my child-like wonder and minuscule hands, I had a flash of terror for the unknown. And then, the unknown came.

I inflicted pain on myself by having ever glanced at the unfrosted Poptart- a bizarre phenomenon in which the Poptart has not yet found itself and therefore lacks the will to come off as a confident, respectable tartlet. It is unrealized- irredeemable. It would take a life of experience and self-conscious reflection for this unfrosted sadness to lose its reputation as the edible atrocity it has become... a Poptart nightmare bridged by food and philosophy.

Yet still, I remained conflicted in which flavor to buy, having now a choice to exercise my self-determination. It is pretentious, really, of the Poptart to turn us into such indecisive beings, when there are others waiting in line, trying to practice their individual will. But this is due to authenticity- the essence of Poptart is not to be something it isn’t. It does not put on a front; its will is not dependent on having originated from real fruit. Rather its argument is, “take me, the childhood nostalgia-inducing, whimsical magic bread, as I am.”

So, we cannot say that the legacy of Poptarts are fake, rather the pastry themselves know more than we could ever. I imagine they’ve seen quite a bit in those grocery aisles. Parents yelling at their children not to touch the Poptarts; children begging for their flavors. They are simply ahead of us in ways incomprehensible to humankind. They teach us to accept what is unknown to us, in all their tasteful (and flavorless) glory, and go ahead and try them for ourselves, toaster or not.

*{Here, the term pastry is used very loosely as customers, held captive under the perils of a capitalistic society, have lowered their standards on what constitutes as pastry.}

**{When something is on sale, it means you must buy it.}

***{Here, killer, not to be confused with murder, is a term that is somewhat of a compliment, to say something is killer insinuates that it is beyond great. Note: there are no words in the English language that can grasp the concept of killer with the uttermost respect it deserves. May the future be more promising.}

Copyright © 2020 Oona O'Brien. All rights reserved.


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