I don’t usually read the labels on the food I purchase, but something happened in my kitchen today.
Sure, I’ll examine the ingredients list with surgical precision (you have no idea how often one company or another will try to sneak beef stock into something masquerading as vegetarian) and I maye give a cursory glance at the nutritional content, but the rest of the label might as well be non-existent as far as I’m concerned. Why? For one, I discovered long ago that the other 90% of the label is reserved for the usual marketing bullshit. You know, that section where they cram as many “top quality”, “100%”, “premium grade” and other nonsense praising the subtle aromas of grocery store wine. It numbing and it’s all the same.
Or so I thought.
Earlier this evening, as I paced my kitchen waiting for some water to boil I passed the time by picking up a near empty bag of Mr Goudas rice and, for whatever strange compulsion, I read the labels.
At first I was put off by the poorly constructed phrases and other bizarre turns of English phrasing, leading me to assume it was simply the victim of transliteration. But then, in a matter of seconds I realized I misjudged the flavour text on my bag of rice and, simply put, everything I thought I knew about product labels came crashing down before me.
Mr. Goudas wasn’t try to play ball the way your average bag of rice tries to play ball. Quite the contrary: Mr. Goudas is playing a game of its own.
Instead of finding cooking instructions, I found a three paragraph rant on why cooking instructions on products suck and how we should never follow them. At first I thought it was just a long-winded way of getting to the topic; but nope, the label had no intention of telling us how to cook rice.
Intrigued, I continued to read. I suddenly noticed the crazy jingle about the quality of Mr. Goudas rice (it’s so very nice) that was smack on the front of the bag as well as the offer to visit the company’s website. I knew I had to.
The company’s website is, to put it bluntly, absolutely, marvellously insane.
Picture your average website, circa 1997: there’s an animated intro with a theme song; we’ve got Rastafarian beans praising the quality of Goudas’ rice; there’s a scrolling banner pulled by an airplane; there’s an an e-Book about cow’s feet and Rastafarian culture, with the opening disclaimer that that one should use the washroom before reading it lest they laugh themselves so hard they have an accident (it even contains the occasional smattering of phonetically cringeworthy patois yaaaa mohn); there’s also thousands of words of biography, history, blog posts, assorted rants and everything else under the sun.
Mr. Goudas is a remarkably bizarre brand, which kind of also makes it remarkably awesome. I don’t know whether half of what I saw was satire or just out of fashion, but I do know what brand of rice I’ll be reaching for the next time I’m at the market.