There were two things everyone knew about
the cat-food factory: one, it smelled really bad,
even driving by; the other amazing fact:
the taster was a human being. If that’s hard
to believe, tell me—would you expect cats
to run the laboratory kitchen at the plant?
A cat’s brain is the size of the brain of an octopus.
Would you assign lab work to an octopus, for all
its prehensile limbs? No, a human palate and brain
are needed to determine flavor and consistency:
Is there enough hog liver in this batch? The proper note
of muskiness? Have these fish guts fermented sufficiently?
We imagined the need for expertise even greater
when developing the elegant brands, huge salaries
tempting Parisian chefs to oversee the fancy little cans.
We never met the cat-food taster, but I always thought
while driving by: To us it’s a nauseating odor;
to him it’s a craft, a calling, an art.