What Vampires Abhor

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It began as an innocent trip to the grocery store. I was in the produce section seeking the various vegetarian foodstuffs I need to make it through the week when I came across a monster. Well, more precisely, the mention of a monster. Brad’s Crunchy Kale. Vampire Killer variety. Now, I’m not the world’s expert on vampires; I’m a dilettante at best. Still, I’ve never heard of kale as a vampire bane. (The store didn’t have wolfbane on offer, that I could see.) But this advertising ploy made me wonder about the use of vampires, and other monsters, as means of selling food. The Count Chocula family of breakfast cereals is perhaps the most famous example. Kids love their monsters. Especially with milk. Perhaps Brad is trying to get kids hooked on kale? Start them early on the right path and they’ll not soon depart from it.

Walking through the aisles I didn’t see much else that related to monsters. More the daily bread than the undead. After all, this was just post-Easter and people won’t be thinking about ghosts and ghouls until the other equinox rolls around. The brighter half of the year is a time for sunnier prospects. Monsters go into hibernation. Long, light-filled days are ahead. Why are we putting Vampire Killer on the shelves now? I looked at the ingredients. Garlic didn’t seem to feature prominently among them. I had to admit to confusion. And a desire for garlic bread.

Food, so scarce in many parts of the world, is something we need to decorate to get the attention of the modern consumer. Who’d buy a bunch of generic green, leafy stuff that requires some preparation—you at least have to wash it. And even then it might not protect you from vampires. Try a little packaging. All you have to do is open and eat. Rather like a vampire, actually.

We used to shop in one of those stores where they eschew fancy packaging and you pay for grains and dry goods by the wholesome, unwrapped pound. There seemed to be little ambiguity about what you were getting then. But we wish to be entertained by our food. This could be part of Buffy’s buffet, could it not? I find myself having to hold up a crucifix to stop from dropping it into the cart. There are vampires out there, I’m just sure of it.

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