Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Self Heating Meals...

This isn't a deep one, merely a random outtake from my life. So today, I had a meeting with the Executive Director of the Champions of Hope mentoring program- Carly Pickens. We were meeting to talk about possible marketing initiatives for CoH and ways to turn that into fundraising opportunities. In all, a great meeting with a cool person I met because of a bad-ass church, The Village (yes I called my church bad ass- you should check it out at www.thevillagechurch.net). CoH offices out of a church in one of Dallas' more underprivileged communities, Cornerstone Baptist Church. Occasionally (ok, regularly) Cornerstone will get donations of some of the most random stuff imaginable. A few days ago it was a 6 foot baby grand piano. Today- foodstuffs.

Now, I am hesitant to refer to it under the stricter guideline of "food" because it had a rather ominous label on it which indicated that it had a 3 year shelf life. How any real food could have that long of a shelf life is beyond me, save an overwhelming amount of preservatives and processing to the point that you fear a certain amount of glowing light may emanate from the packaging when the lights are turned off. My assumption is that this food was designed for the military, and when even they didn't want it, the remnants were pushed off on the unsuspecting public. Now, the extended shelf life isn't what made this so unique or blog worthy, it was instead the "self-heating" properties so boldly advertised on the packaging. That's right folks, no microwave needed here. Just open the bag, pour in the water (supplied of course) insert the foil lined, vacuum sealed food pouch, and watch as the chemical reaction takes place, making a seemingly innocuous element in the bag heat with enough intensity to heat an entire meal (in our case it was chicken and dumplings) to a "just right" temperature. It's really quite ingenious. That is, except for the ungodly smell created by the heating element, and subsequently the food once the pouch was breached. It was so bad in fact, that we had to hurriedly cast it out of the room in the hopes that we could exorcise it of the awful aroma.

Needless to say, we didn't eat any of it.

I'm sure this seemed like a brilliant idea to someone on paper and posed a lot of great potential. In actuality, however, it proved to be a tad bit...well, awful. The worst part though, is that somebody along the way had to know how bad this would bomb and how terrible it smelled- but no one stopped production. It instead trudged along through production and delivery, where it was destined to languish in misery upon store shelves until mercifully being withdrawn, recalled, or outright given away. This makes me think about my own life and that of those around me. How often do we start down a path that looks promising and, instead of aborting the plan when it becomes apparent that we were wrong, we continue on doing the same things, even as our actions and lifestyles reek of bad decisions and missed callings and opportunities? Even more daunting is when those of us around people who are following down a destructive path don't speak up, even though they know the actions will just leave the person stagnated and on the shelf for years. Why?

Why don't we speak up, change our course of action and see where better decisions take us? I'll tell you why. Because complacency and comfortability is often more acceptable than difficulty and work. Sure chopping carrots, cleaning chicken, and stewing dumplings is hard work. But in the end, the payoff is something people can actually use. Think about it. Ok, I lied, maybe it was a little deep.

Pursue. Original

1 comment:

Shelly said...

So...I've actually seen these before, and I loved them. During hurricane Ike, our school was turned into an evacuation shelter, and--of course--the teachers were the volunteers. Anyway, the Red Cross delivered them for lunch, and can I say life-saver. The heating up process entertained the insanely bored kids, warmed up tired and frightened adults. All in all, I think they served their purpose...Can't say I've actually tried one, but they definitely have a purpose : )