I don’t go out of my way to eat a lot of artificially-colored snackfood, but I have to admit that there is something both frightening and awesome about science that enables us to eat food ranging the entire spectrum of the rainbow in color. And since I love quirky holidays that only a small crowd observes (for instance, September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day), it seemed appropriate to joyfully take part in Strangely Orange Snack Appreciation Day (S.O.S.A.D.) Especially when the founder of this amusing little holiday is going to come up with a custom bit of art for the winner of his S.O.S.A.D. contest.
The task is to take a photo of yourself and at least one other person enjoying orange snacks—John and I don’t do anything by half, so we tore our tiny apartment apart to fake a studio shot that attempts to make orange snackfood look sexy. I won’t say that we quite manage that, but here are a few of the shots, for your amusement.
And this is me very, very patiently lounging around playing with Cheez-Its (the king of orange snacks) while John fiddled with lighting and composition…
On a cool science note, did you know that the orange color in Cheez-Its comes from paprika oleoresin? This is an extract from red chile peppers used to color a number of orange things—like orange juice and (via chicken feed) egg yolks. Neat, right? As food additives go, this one seems pretty mild, and makes me feel slightly less weirded out by orange food. Granted, I’m not one to be easily put off my munching by knowledge of what’s in my food, but still, food color could come from worse sources than chemically treated pepper extract, right?
The funny thing is that this is not the first celebration of orange snackage that has crossed my path recently. Wired Magazine did a nifty series of short pieces on how things work last month, and one of their topics was the making of Cheetos. Frito-Lay doesn’t make their own cheese product, by the by. And after looking up the ingredients list to see if paprika oleoresin was on it (it’s not), I think I’ll stick with the Cheez-Its.