Everything was going so well until The Devil showed up on my doorstep bearing cookies.  I should have learned from the coleslaw incident that The Devil is the King of Egg Trickery.  But these cookies were  from a health food store. I know the brand. The front of the box reads “Wheat-free, Gluten-free, Non-dairy.” I thought they were safe  and it had been so long since I’ve had cookies. And I’m a woman. I have needs: chocolate.  I snatched the box up and ate three cookies back to back.  Rapid fire cookie crumbs flew everywhere. Even The Devil took cover.   This was on the fourth consecutive day of my 14th attempt at a vegetarian diet. Only later did The Devil read the label on the BACK of the box.

INGREDIENTS: Flour Base (Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Xanthan Gum); Organic Chocolate Chunks (Oganic Natural Evaporated Can Sugar, Organic Cocoa Paste, Organic Cocoa Butter, Non-GMO Soy Lechithin, Gluten-free Organic Vanilla.  (Chuncks may contain traces of milk prtein due to manufactoring equpment); Monounsaturated Safflower Oil; Organic Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar; Eggs; (!!) Molasses; Gluten-free Natural Flavor; Non-GMO Soy Lecithin; Rice Syrup and Grape Juice; Sea Salt; Baking Soda; xanthan Gum.

AAAAAEEEE! Foiled again!

The irony here is that The Devil is highly sympathetic to my vegetarian plight.  He hasn’t eaten meat in years. He does eat seafood and eggs. Despite this he’s been remarkably supportive of my enlightment fiasco – even going so far as to learn how to make eggless French Toast and eggless cake, and to  buy insanely priced eggless icecream to satisfy my cravings….and win my trust.  The Devil is well-versed in food.  He is the one who educated me about the meaning of “natural flavor” on food labels.

According to Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the  Code of Federal Regulations, “natural flavor” or “natural flavoring” means:

“the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating, or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, eduble yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutrional.”

Castoreum, for example, is one such additive approved by the FDA.  It is one of the many ingredients referenced as “natural flavors” commonly found in vanilla and raspberry flavorings.  It is extracted from the caster sacs located under a beaver’s tail.  I like to refer to it as Beaver Butt Juice. Though that’s a slight misnomer, it makes me both happy and sad to say.  It also creeps me out more than a little. Even The Devil must pause to ponder why Beaver Taint is in his ice cream.

 A wide spectrum of human emotion on display this evening in the Euphoria household. Oh, so many things to ponder on this (un)enlightened day.

Day 1 of vegetarianism starts tomorrow. Tonight I drink wine and try to forget.