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I Hate Purple Foods

An Essay In the Style of Dave Barry

I can remember plenty of hot summer days when someone, whether it was an advisor, a friend, or a hobo, gave out those flavored ices in a long plastic tube. From painful experiences I’ve learned to accept the pink kind, the red kind, the green kind, the blue kind, and the orange kind. But I will never eat the purple kind.

Not that I have something against the color purple. It’s a majestic color. It has more pizzazz than boring green, it’s easier to look at than blinding yellow, and it doesn’t leave you depressed like mellow blue does. It’s a known fact that throughout centuries royalty have adored the purple color for probably these same reasons. (And remember this is purple we’re talking about. Not violet. I don’t care what the crayon box says; violet is not the same thing as purple.) However nowadays purple is not a preferred color, not like red or blue or black. I remember a friend who hated notebooks with a purple cover because of feeling tormented by a singing, purple dinosaur in his earlier childhood. Personally purple isn’t my favorite color either, but I still respect it.

However food is not meant to be purple. The color looks good in a crayon box, on a t-shirt, or in a candy raver’s hair, but definitely not in food. There are only two naturally purple foods that I can think of: plums and grapes. I don’t know much about plums, so I won’t talk about those. But grapes are delicious, especially when they’re cold, juicy, and sour enough to make me crave another one.

Unfortunately because grapes are one of the few naturally purple foods, oftentimes artificially-flavored purple foods will taste like “grape.” I wrap quotes around that because this “grape” is not the same thrill ride I get when biting into a real grape. Not only does this flavor taste nothing like grapes, it’s overpowering and leaves a bad taste in the mouth that feels like it lasts forever. No amount of water or mouthwash can seem to get it out. I don’t think anyone likes artificial grape flavor, yet companies still continue to produce purple sport drinks, carbonated soda, gelatin, hard candies, gummy bears, and of course those ice tubes, all of which are grape flavor. Each and every one is disgusting, and I can sense it even before I try them. (Once you try grape flavor, you develop a seventh sense that tells you to avoid the purple, assuming the sixth sense is the ability to see dead people).

Sometimes companies go way off the line and make purple foods that don’t taste like “grape” but rather the food’s natural flavor. I can recall times when I was surfing on the television and suddenly I see commercials for products like ketchup or squeezable butter, but the fun catch is that these products are purple. Ketchup is odd no matter what color it is, but I’d call anyone crazy who would spread a purple substance (aside from grape jelly) on their morning toast. I have avoided mentioning the names of the companies that make these types of products in order to prevent any humiliation they might endure. But if you happen to work at one these companies, I kindly ask you to go up to the CEO and ask him what the hell he was thinking when they made that purple garbage. (If you get fired the next day, then at least you tried.)

So anytime I’m given the chance to choose the flavor of the ice tube I want to have, I won’t be picky. Probably I’ll choose pink, but if the greedy ne’er-do-well in front of me takes the last one from the freezer, I’ll be happy with green or orange. Even red or blue are okay. But I will never, never eat the purple kind.