Yesterday I enjoyed a microwaveable enchilada, rice and refried beans Banquet dinner for lunch. Not a fan of refried beans; they sat idly by as I consumed the rest of my 360-calorie meal. For a microwave meal, it wasn’t so bad. Because I ran four miles Sunday, and I was in pain, I decided I’d wait until I had a reason to get up to throw the plastic tray in the garbage. I’m also lazy.
Later, walking to the kitchen with the tray and now-congealed bean mass, I wondered, what genius pitchman turned reconstituted bean curd into an unbelievably popular food product? I wonder if it went something like this:
Food Taster: Why are they called refried beans?
Genius Pitchman: Well, we fried them. Then, just for added flavor, we RE-fried them.
Food Executive: Okay…but this looks like a bowl of diarrhea.
Genius Pitchman: I know, but trust me, it’ll move off shelves like Taco Bell through the large intestine. Try it.
Food Executive: It does taste better than it looks, but that just means it doesn’t taste like poop. Actually, it doesn’t taste like anything.
Genius Pitchman: Exactly. We’ll pair it with spicy food to give "balance" to the meal.
Food Executive: What’s wrong with bread?
Genius Pitchman: This is way cheaper. Plus, no wasted crust.
Food Executive: I don't know. Who else is carrying this?
Genius Pitchman: Mexico.
Food Executive: Sold.
It’s probably similar to the story of how people were convinced to smoke tobacco or marijuana.
I’m no barber-surgeon, but I’ll bet it’s a bad idea to put dead leaves in my mouth and then light them on fire. Meh, I’ll give it a whirl.
That makes me wonder how many leaves did they try to smoke before realizing only a few made them happy. Oak? Maple? Poison ivy? But the history of the world is loaded with one person’s dumb idea that took the world by storm.
Don't blame the ad genius; he’s just trying to make a living. And you can’t blame the guy who had the bad idea: 1) Taste is subjective, and you should know if something is in bad taste, even if someone tells you it isn’t. I’m looking at you, Calvin Klein and your man thongs. 2) Everyone has had bad ideas that they didn’t realize were bad ideas at the time. But not all of those bad ideas launch a national or worldwide trend.
So I place the blame squarely on the public who said, Yes, I do want to look like a genie.
Unlike genie pants and the pet rock, refried beans were probably more of a result of minimal agricultural options for particular geographic regions - without which entire populations might have starved. Then again, that doesn’t explain why refried beans are still popular today when we have food options like bread and...gum. So like I always do in situations like these, I place the blame squarely on aliens.
I think I’ve made my point.
--Captain Awesome, Copywriter