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Oh, please. January 13, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I was going to let our friend and fellow blog contributor Richard Saunders post today, but you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow for his post (coin collectors take note). After I read an e-mail from Amazon, I just had to bump Richard to tomorrow so I could have a little hissy fit.

You see, to our friend Ben’s horror, Amazon appears to have noticed that I like to cook, and I like to buy cookbooks. So it regularly sends me e-mails with updates on the latest books about cooking and food, hoping to tempt me (sometimes successfully) into buying them. Today’s e-mail featured a book with the intriguing title Pangaea. Why It Tastes So Good. (Martin Kouprie, Key Porter Books, 2011, $35, or $23.10 through Amazon) I had to click on the description to see what it was. Turns out, Pangaea is a famous restaurant in Toronto and Mr. Kouprie is its founder and chef.

So I’m reading the book description and get to the “About the Author” part and read the following: “He [Mr. Kouprie] is the father of a son, Oliver and is married to cookbook author and food concept architect Dana McCauley.” Food concept architect. Say what?!!

Naturally, the image of the famous Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota sprang to mind, composed as it is of bazillion ears of corn. Or perhaps Ms. McCauley specializes in monumental ice or butter sculptures. Giant gingerbread houses? But wait, I’m forgetting about the “concept” part! Perhaps she merely imagines giant structures made from food rather than actually trying to build them. A cupcake cottage with an icing roof or a Disney World-style fairy castle made of ice cream and candy would be a lot easier to think about than to do, don’t you think?

What exactly is a “food concept architect”? When I checked with my good friend Google, the following description, from Ms. McCauley’s own website (www.danamccauley.com), popped up: “Brand revitalization, food trend tracking, marketing, ghost writing, recipe testing and developing and objective category analysis for the food industry.” Oh. You mean PR and advertising! Image tweaking and successful promotion of same!

Brand revitalization: Subway and McDonald’s positioning themselves as health-food destinations, the former by offering multigrain and whole-wheat monster buns and “lite” mayo and promoting lower-calorie options so you can gulp down that footlong with some chips and a soda and think you’re a paragon of diet virtue, and the latter by adding a few more salads to its menu so you can at least look at them before loading up on a Big Mac, fries and a shake. Domino’s admitting their pizzas were disgusting and promoting a revamped recipe. KFC adding a grilled chicken option to their deep-fried fare.

Geez. In a world where trash collectors are “sanitation engineers,” waiters and waitresses are “servers,” and stewards and stewardesses are “flight attendants,” I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that PR folks who specialize in food are now “food concept architects.” How lofty it sounds, far removed from the world of spin and that old game-changer, profit and loss.

I suppose I ought to contact my legal concept architect before posting this to make sure I don’t run into difficulties with a libel concept architect, not to mention potentially offending some reader concept architects or causing permanent damage to the psyches of food concept architects, according to some psychiatric concept architects. But your blogger concept architect will bravely push forward in the naive hope that somewhere, somehow, sanity will prevail.

            ‘Til next time,

                         Silence

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