June 9, 2007

Heart Attack? Really?

Edwin Traisman died Tuesday. He was 91. Sure you know who he was. Well, you at last know of his contribution to your life. He invented Cheez Whiz, instant pudding and McDonalds french fries. Maybe not single-handedly, but he played a large enough role in the development of these amuse-bouches to get to carve it in his tombstone.

You really have to wonder who would sit around and invent such certifiable crap. It reminds me of Chevy Chase's character in Christmas Vacation inventing the tooth shattering cereal shellac. Only that was a joke.

When did we start deciding it was a good thing to develop food with a half-life instead of a shelf-life? By the time Edwin et al developed this playdough food, refrigeration was pretty much a part of all of our lives. Cheez Whiz is like Cheetos, Cheesies and CheezDoodles - a cheese-free zone.

I used to like Cheez Whiz, when I was about ten. Then I read a Cool Whip container, and saw the words 'an edible oil product' - and thought of Quaker State. After that, I became a label reader, and got scared of the first ingredient listed ending in 'ite' or 'eride' or 'azine'.

So, farewell Mr. Traisman, I'm sure you made it to 91 because you didn't eat any of the junk you invented. I just wish the rest of us could have been in the lab with you to garner our own fair warning.

I don't think it's an oversight that we only hear of these guys after they're dead.


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