Here’s a fun fact. Although I work inside a grocery store, it’s a rare day that I pay attention to the products in the center of the store. I am a marketer, and I suppose that I should appreciate the brilliant ideas that my industry presents. But I don’t. I loathe this stuff. For a brief period of time, I was a professional in the advertising world. We’d sit in board rooms and come up with ideas to sell more stuff. The Subway Six Pack. (Imagine a cardboard case that holds six subs instead of six beers.) And the Charbroil “MAN” Cookbook. (Filled with manly recipes.) I was miserable.
Pictured above is something that was thought up in a board room, probably by an intern who realized that the oven temperature needed to bake a frozen pizza is the same as that for pre-made cooke dough. In a desire to be (somewhat) thrifty, Ben and I got ordered drinks and appetizers (Pork Belly! Carrot Soup!) at Sage, then headed to the nearest chain grocery to scavenge for an easy dinner. I bought the most expensive pizza I could find (in hopes that it would taste good) and came home with this. By the time the meal was ready, I could have made any number of much better dishes from random ingredients adorning my fridge, pantry and countertop. The pizza was okay. Not awful, but not memorable. And I can’t knock chocolate chip cookies, even from a package.
I’m a believer in the Pollan Theory that for the most part you should eat real food and that it’s all about balance. It’s fine to eat a pork belly appetizer then go stuff your face with refined sugars and low-grade cheese-like products. One DiGiorno pizza a year is enough for me. But when I see the shopping carts crowding those center aisles at stores throughout the city, I have to believe that I’m in a minority. Which means my colleagues in food marketing are doing an excellent job.