The Twinkies Experiment
Posted at 12:54PM - Comments: (11)
You know those stories of how Twinkies can last forever? I kind of want to run my own experiment after something I witnessed recently.
There is a cute cat who lives somewhere in my neighborhood who comes over to beg for food from time to time. For months last year, I thought she had been abandoned; I asked all my neighbors if they knew were she belonged and no one did. (I even took her in to have her spayed and it turned out that she had a spay scar, so I brought her back to the neighborhood, but with her tummy shaved.) Eventually, I found her owner, who cheerfully told me that so many people feed the cat, that she doesnít have to. Oy!
At any rate, the cat had gone missing. I havenít seen her in at least six months, and I thought the odds were good that the owners had moved or she had gotten killed. And then suddenly, there she was again, on my front porch, begging for food.
Well, I had JUST finished our annual canned dog food review (which appears in the November issue) and there are pouches and tubs and cans of canned dog food all over my office. I grabbed one of the ďdoes not meet our standardsĒ foods, one that was packed in a plastic tub, popped the top off, and put it on the porch. I patted the cat and went back to work.
About six hours later, I was taking the trash out and saw the plastic tub. First odd thing: the cat hadnít eaten a single bite of the food. Second odd thing: there wasnít a single fly on the food.
Now, Iíve been fostering six puppies, and I live in northern California, where weíve been having a terrible drought. The flies have been NO JOKE this year. And itís gotten so that I can locate any pile of puppy or dog poo in the backyard by the buzzing of flies, which descend within seconds of the poopís deposit. When I feed the puppies a plate full of (good) canned food, if they donít finish it, the food is covered with flies within minutes. How there could be no flies on this food six hours later was beyond me.
So I tried a little experiment: At the puppiesí next mealtime, I prepared their (good) food on a plate, and put the plate next to the tub of icky food. I went in the house to get a camera, and went back out. The results?
Within two minutes, there were about 10 flies on the puppy food, and two flies on the tub of poor-quality food. And I think the ones on the icky food were just confused by the proximity of the good food. Itís as if even FLIES didnít recognize it as actual food!!
Now I want to run further experiments, similar to those people who put a Twinkie away in a cupboard and see how long it will look edible, with no visible mold or rot. Generally, canned foods do not contain preservatives, but there is something in there that seems to repel flies. When I took the good food away, the low-quality food again drew no flies Ė the first time in my life Iíve been grossed out by the LACK of flies.