The Helpful iPlate of Doom


Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

Here is an excerpt from “The Helpful iPlate of Doom,” a clever satire inspired by Goldilocks and the Three Bears (also check out ten more stories in the contest here):

“Can we try it, Mama, please, pretty please? All the kids at school are using it!”

“OK.” Mama Bear took her famous stew off the stove and reached for the box on top of the cupboard. The new iPlate sure looked pretty — a shiny multi-colored platter with miniature light bulbs around the edge. Best of all, as part of the new Bear Land Agricultural Needs Department initiative, every family was entitled to one for free.

“Hello. I’m an iPlate, here to help you make healthy food choices. Please deposit acceptable food and wait for green light to start eating.”

“I’ll go first!” Jumping with excitement, Sister Bear grabbed a spoonful of meat from the stew and dropped it on the iPlate.

“Unacceptable food. Red meat: high saturated fat content. Please remove.”

“You did it wrong! Let me try!” Brother Bear removed the offending meat and replaced it with a scoop of potatoes.

“Unacceptable food. Stewed potatoes: high starch, low vitamin content. Please try again.”

Mama Bear was confused. Beef and potato stew was a family staple going back to her Russian grandparents. Why was it unacceptable? Still, the cubs were so excited about trying their new educational toy, and she did want them to learn to eat healthy…

“Maybe it doesn’t work well with homemade food. Let’s try something simple, like a banana.”

“Unacceptable food. Banana: high in sugar, promotes tooth decay.” This time, the device did not ask for another try. Instead, the light bulbs around the edge flashed red, and a different, louder voice sounded.

“You have performed three unsuccessful attempts. Please report to the nearest B.L.A.N.D. center for Food Re-education.”

“No way! I know how to feed my cubs!” Mama Bear grabbed the iPlate and turned it over, looking for a switch. “Let’s just set our normal plates for dinner.”

As soon as Mama Bear’s finger found the switch, the iPlate shook violently, slipping out of her hand.

“Hostile consumer! BZZZZZZ!” The iPlate flew in a circle around the kitchen, then aimed straight for Mama Bear, barely missing her head. “Violation of B.L.A.N.D. food guidelines in progress. Enter Emergency Response mode. BZZZZZ!”

“Cubs, get out of the kitchen!” Mama Bear yelled. Brother and Sister Bear didn’t need to be told twice. The iPlate looked terrifying, like an attacking alien spaceship from old human movies.

Continue Reading at Liberty Island


image via shutterstock / Bob Orsillo