Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Serving Suggestion

I've just eaten a lovely Waitrose roast chicken breast in honey and maple marinade. The packaging showed a very appealing photo of pieces of the chicken on a bed of mixed leaves, with a sprinkling of spring onions on top. That's a good serving suggestion.

Yesterday, I bought a packet of Sweetex, because I don't want to go back to sugar, but nor do I want to have my brain chemistry messed up by phenylalanine/aspartame/NutraSweet™. The packaging showed a picture of the Sweetex dispenser hovering over a cup of tea, with the legend "Serving Suggestion".

I remember buying a tin of beans once. The label was covered in a picture (not a photo) of beans, except for those parts that showed the ingredients, etc. Somewhere on the label, it said "Serving Suggestion".

The first example is a serving suggestion, albeit one that I'm not very likely to follow.
The second is completely pointless, because you don't serve saccharin tablets. (If you do, please never invite me to dinner.)
The third is totally random. An abstract picture of beans entirely covering the label of a tin. In what way does that suggest how they should be served?

It has puzzled me for a while why food manufacturers feel obliged to continue in this sometimes absurd vein. Do they think that we're so clueless that we would stick the whole Sweetex dispenser into our tea? What purpose does it fulfil? Or is there some bizarre legal obligation at work here?

13 comments:

Tickersoid said...

Yay, I'm first.

I used to look at stuff like that and think of the manufacturer, 'Oh for fucks sake'.

Now I look at people like my old self and think 'Oh for fucks sake'.

I'm not being offensive, it just takes time.

Qenny said...

I'm puzzled. What takes time? To get from despairing of the manufacturer to despairing of those who despair of the manufacturer?

???

Brad Fitt said...

I have no comment to make on serving suggestions but wanted to say congratulations on getting in to the magic circle, I thought if I commented on that post you might not see it. Thanks for the link. Lal x

Qenny said...

brad: thank you - and that was very sweet and considerate of you. And how could I not have linked to your blog after reading it? It cracks me up.

Jay said...

Quite frankly, suggesting that you serve your ready meal on a bed of mixed leaves with a sprinkling of onions defeats the whole point of ready meals.

I suppose as Sweetex can also be used in your coffee, showing it being used in a tea can vaguely be considered a 'suggestion'.

The beans? I dunno. I suggest you buy another brand.

Qenny said...

jay: I hadn't thought of that contradiction, but you're right. A serving suggestion for a ready meal does defeat the point rather.

Maybe they should all adopt the same generic thing, which might go like this:

Serving suggestion - we suggest that you serve this


I'd like to see a tennis racquet with a "serving suggestion" on it, ideally featuring Martina Navratilova.

Da Nator said...

I believe it is a legal thing, as some people complain when what comes out of the can or box doesn't look exactly like the picture. "Where are the spring onions?" "Where's my giant, animated tiger?"

That said, being a magician, I suggested you do make the Sweetex hover over your tea. Makes for a more exciting breakfast...

Qenny said...

I get the "where are the spring onions" bit, but it puzzles me why they have to put a "serving suggestion" on at all, for the most part. Sure, if they have actually shown the product served with something else, and it is something of a suggestion, fine; but otherwise, why bother?

As chance would have it, I was animating (rather than levitating) my Sweetex box only yesterday. Made it slide across the desk, then tip over. All good fun.

Bizarrely, I was playing a game about 10 minutes ago, and the phrase "Da Nator's bastion of bloggitty blogness" popped into my head. I looked on here when I'd finished my game, and lo! I wonder if this newfound power was bestowed on me the day I held aloft my magic sword and s.... I mean, the day I became a member of The Magic Circle.

Qenny said...

BTW, da nator, when I tried to visit your site, it crashed Firefox. I tried again with IE and it crashed that, too. Could be something up with my PC, but I haven't had it happen on any other sites, so you might want to investigate. When I tried with IE, it produced a pop-up asking about an ActiveX control, if that helps.

Da Nator said...

Crumbs! Thanks for telling me, quen-quen (you don't ming if I call you quen-quen, do you? Terrif!). I'm pretty sure it has to do with some Quicktime movies I put on there, perhaps in combination with the troublesome template I'm trying to fix.

Any chance you could use your magic powers to fix it?

Oh, and I'm so pleased we now have a psychic connection! I could go on about the various paranormal experiences I've had, but since you are starting to tap into me, I'll let you read my mind. ;o)

Qenny said...

I'm not sure about the quen-quen thing. There's very definitely no "u" in qenny.

I got to see enough of your site to find out that you are in the middle of a refurb, but I was quite surprised when it trashed both IE and Firefox. Best of luck getting it all fixed.

That was a bit spooky last night. I had another brush with the paranormal. A group of women were celebrating a 60th birthday of one of their number. The birthday girl and her best friend were, until recently, a group of three best friends. One of the three, Mary, died recently. They left an empty seat for her at the dinner party. Later in the bar, I was performing some magic for the birthday girl, and her daughter showed me photos from the evening. At one point, the birthday girl and her best friend addressed the empty chair, and said they welcomed Mary to join them. They sat as if putting their arms around her. The daughter took a photo of that moment, and although there was nothing wrong with the camera (as evidenced by the other photos), in that shot, there was an indistinct, glowing circle in the space above the empty chair.

*shivers*

Tickersoid said...

yes.

Da Nator said...

Sorry, qenny - just joking about the qen-qen thing (I was a little loopy from a long day). Also, sorry for the misspelling!

Very spooky about the birthday photo! Did you see it during or after the party? If during, how did everyone react?

I've actually worked as a professional animal communicator, so I've had a lot of "psychic" experiences. I've also had a number of such experiences with people who'd passed on. I don't want to clog you comments, but if you're interested to discuss, let me know, and we can exchange emails.

Of course, if you think this makes me a complete nutter, then we shall not speak of it again. ;o)