We've all been a bit uncomfortable with the idea of food trying to sell itself to us. I mean, there's nothing wrong with tigers, toucans, rabbits, and leprechauns trying to sell cereal; that's just sound financial sense for them. Even cows trying to sell chicken sandwiches, while rude, is not all that weird. No, the difficulties are the crazy foods that think that their only purpose in life is to be eaten. One example is from a recent Partially Clips strip, which I believe captures the dilemma perfectly. Another example in fiction is the Dish of the Day from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, although that one wasn't trying to sell out others of its kind. And who can forget Charlton Heston proudly proclaiming the contents of Soylent Green? Still, it's not only fictional food characters. There are real food characters. Well, food characters for real food. The greatest example of this is from Hostess, the pie and pastry folk. Even aside from the "I am tasty so you should eat versions of me" factor, let's look at the naming scheme: Happy Ho ho? Twinkie the Kid? It's odd that you don't see them on TV any more. The practice hasn't stopped, either. My friend Tracy reminds me of the Frosted Mini-Wheats that are running on TV now, whose only purpose in life is to provide delicious nutrition for the youngsters in school and such. The most flagrant of the spokesfood, however, is the M&M candy. Because they know they're delicious, and they are stuck in a world that wants to eat them. Sometimes it's understood: and sometimes it's explicit: "That's just disturbing."
Serious eats asks:
And I say that I'll do my part right away. The Food Timeline is a, er, timeline of food. Food history, rather. It's a series of links organized by time, telling us important tidbits and giving us a chance to understand the context. For example, I did not realize that the koolickle (Kool-aid Pickle) is a recent invention (2007 from all accounts), nor that Peanut Butter cookies were invented in 1933 by the Pillsbury Flour Mills Company. Pre-history, apparently, involves water, ice, salt, shellfish, non-shell fish, eggs, mushrooms, insects, and rice. From there we find that the first real non-whole foods are bread, beer, and soup. All of which are related, if you think about it, and can easily make a whole meal. In any case, like the medieval recipe translations, this looks to be a quick stop for anyone wanting to learn about the history of food. Because it was created by a reference librarian and IACP member, there is even information in the "About this site" section about citing the site. It is properly copyrighted and not creative commons, so be sure to cite properly if you use information from the Food Timeline.