The Lurid Discovery of Steakon
A Short Story by William Hrdina
Uh, is this thing on? Okay, uh, this is, uh, Barry McCarthy. I am a technician at one of the world's largest food laboratories- IYOYAEIWSI- which is a terribly awkward acronym for "If you or your animal eats it- we sell it." I have been asked to sit down and make this recording as my deposition in the case of The United States vs. IYOYAEIWSI (eye yo yay ew see), I am to record my recollections regarding the origin of the product known as Steakon- the once best-selling food product of 2012.
I suppose I should say out front that many of the worst rumors circulating about Steakon are actually true- particularly regarding the source of the meat. I should also admit I find telling this story almost as hard as pronouncing IYOYAEIWSI. I know there's a tendency to be disgusted by the particulars, but this is a legal document and all of the corporate lawyers said it was my duty to explain what happened the behind the scenes. So I'm going to do it- I'll even tell you the parts that probably make me look like a bit of a freak.
I might as well start with the grossest part. My job, if you can believe it, is to find a food dogs like eating- but will then become rancid and inedible after the dog defecates the food out of its system.
In my mind, it would be a fair question to ask why on earth anyone would ever want to know something like that- who cares what foods dogs like to eat that then becomes disgusting when they poo? To we humans, the answer to such a question is obvious- what food tastes gross in poo? ALL food tastes gross in poo.
But to a dog- poo is a tasty treat- as all dog owners are aware. For some dogs, poop eating becomes something of an obsession- much to the understandable dismay of the animal's owners. This is especially true when the dog wants to lick the owner's face right afterward.
In order to combat this problem, the executives at IYOYAEIWSI decided they wanted to release a whole line of dog food for the scatologically inclined canine. Because I work in the pet food research facility, it fell on my team to find our "secret" ingredients. Starting out we had only one, pineapple. And frankly, that was enough for me. My original plan was to just put pineapple chunks into a variety of different types of dog food, slap on a clever label, and be done with it.
But then the bean-counters got involved. Unbeknownst to me, it turns out there was a drought last year in pineapples and there are regular shortages of the prickly fruit. When they added in the expense of taking off the skin- the price point for the food went through the roof. We weren't given a choice- we were going to have to do testing and find a cheaper, more plentiful ingredient.
Since we already had a hard time with the price of ingredients, I asked our bean-counters to send me a list of the 100 cheapest foods we have access to. The one that matters to my story is number 67- liver. It turns out Americans have almost completely stopped eating beef liver- but it is still extremely plentiful as the rest of the cow remains quite popular.