They say advertising is a powerful thing. With just the right turn of a phrase, the masses can often be convinced to buy whatever it is you're selling.
For years, grocers have known that to merely picture whatever food items they have for sale is often enough to get the gastric juices of most shoppers flowing.
But today's food salesmen have caught on to an even more effective ploy. All it takes is the mention of a particularly evocative place or description in connection with some food item, and grocery shoppers are like putty in their hands.
Not long ago I'm embarrassed to say I was persuaded to pay the outrageous price of $15.99 a pound for perfectly ordinary salmon filets - simply because the sign said they were "fresh, wild Copper River sockeye salmon filets." It immediately took me back to the time Ken and I traveled the Copper River on a particularly memorable trip to Alaska, and I found myself willing to pay the price to try to recreate the meal of fresh salmon we ate there.
That's the way it goes - today's grocery ads are suddenly rife with tantalizing "come-ons" such as "Maryland-style crab cakes," "fresh picked Florida grower-style orange juice," "imported fresh Australian shoulder lamb chops."
Somehow, that type of "creative writing" hooks in buyers for food items that might not otherwise be all that exciting.
"Range fed Black Angus steak" conjures up images of juicy rib eyes sizzling on the grill of an open campfire; "real Amish leg quarters" summons up visions of pure, organic country living; "line-caught fresh Alaskan cod filets" elicits appealing thoughts of tender white filets from cold, pristine fishing waters; and the nostalgic smell of mom baking in the kitchen beckons to us when we see "made-from-scratch angel food cake."
And who among us could resist the thought of shady orchards dripping with sweet, heavy fruit when we read the phrase "tree ripe nectarines" - even though they're hard as a rock!
Last week I was shopping for a package of chicken breasts, and the label on the package stated they were from "ever-tender, family-raised" chickens.
And in one of those bazaar mind warps, I suddenly recalled a scene from an old Disney cartoon, where a row of plump hens sat cozily on their nests, jabbering among themselves over the gossip of the day and doing their knitting while waiting for their eggs to hatch....
I may never eat chicken again.