Photo: I wrote this last year (2007) when I found a can of these in the back of my kitchen cupboard. I posted it, but this version is edited. This is what I do when I feel bad about throwing unused food away; I lend that food a voice.
Our anniversary looms large on the horizon; I don't expect you to remember. I'm insignificant to you and your self-indulgent lifestyle. But in case you were wondering, and I'm sure you aren't, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the day we met, the day you found me on the shelf at Safeway and brought me home to supposedly use me. I'll admit right now, I had high expectations at the time. I thought you would allow me to settle in, get my bearings, and that we'd start collaborating immediately. I assumed when you purchased me, you had big ideas in mind for our relationship: a sassy bean dip destined for the annual Mexican-themed block party, perhaps, or maybe a healthy soup to share with your loved ones.
Now I see the writing on the wall.
For 364 days, I've been repeatedly pushed around and forgotten, until I came to what I now call "my final resting place": the back of the cupboard. What, you think I have friends back here? You think that No-Fat Refried Beans and cumin have a lot of common ground? I can't even think of a tactful way to ask the Cumin what it's useful for without looking like an inconsiderate asshole, so here we sit, together in silence, hour after hour. You assume that the chicken stock and I have something chummy to chat about? You think we're gossiping like carefree teenagers and comparing tattoos? That chicken stock has been here longer than any of us, and, like a crotchety old man who will not die, it revels in our failures. This paltry pantry existence, this JOKE of a life, is unacceptable. The back of the cupboard is where orphaned foods go to die, and I'm not going down like that.
I understand the misconception; No Fat Refried Beans aren't generally thought of as a fun food--but "No Fat" doesn't mean "no fun"! So my packaging isn't all that exciting--you knew that when you met me. You could have bought an expensive brand-name can with fancy lettering and showy colors, but you didn't; YOU got ME. There is nothing wrong with generic brands, especially when those brands deliver a delightful, health-conscious treat for your entire family. If you would just give me the chance I so rightfully deserve, I could display all of my features and benefits, to you and the entire world. First of all, I'm only 120 calories per serving! I don't actually know what that means, but in my limited mathematical experience, it seems quite low. Back here, the canned green beans continually boast about how low in fat they are, but seeing that they have no real food value, I scoff at their false bravado--up until yesterday, they thought they were real green beans! In a fit of frustrated rage, I told them what they really are and where they came from, and sadly, they don't talk much anymore. Their silence is pervasive, but the silence if preferable to a can of long-winded, egotistical green beans. To continue, I am also quite easy to prepare. Heating instructions are as follows: Empty contents into saucepan and stir over low heat until warm. How easy is THAT?! A suicidal can of fake green beans could do that in the dark.
The point is: I'm delicious and user-friendly, I have patience AND personality. But NO, all you see is your fancy blue tortilla chips and your overpriced cookies. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't ingest corn chips the color of my laundry detergent or trust a dirty bunch of elves to bake treats for me in their sketchy, crackhead treehouse. But that's just me and my lofty standards of food preparation. And who am I to you? Just another can of insignificant matter, a refried notch on your food belt, an unperishable that will surely perish from your scorn and neglect. I don't know if you want to re-connect with me and what we had; I don't know if you miss "us" at all, or if you remember our budding relationship fondly. All I know is, you have until January of 2008 to make amends and turn this relationship around. That's not a threat, that's a promise. Don't make me regret ever having met you. Do the right thing. Don't give up on us.