How many times have we been told about the power of love? Whether you consider it little more than a chemical reaction designed to coerce us into breeding, the human race is pretty much driven by the stuff. If anything, love has been the reason for some amazing music.
Many swear that food made with love tastes better. Misty-eyed Italian nonnas will wink and say the secret ingredient in their ragu is a touch of amore. Certain mezcal producers believe romance is the key to a better spirit.
If you're on the receiving end of a lovingly prepared dinner, it will undoubtedly taste better than if you had flung the ingredients together yourself. It's the reason Scarlett Johansson does all that weird, vaguely sexy stuff on the bed when John Favreau is cooking for her in the movie Chef.
Love is also a vital ingredient in the granola produced by a bakery in Massachusetts. But health and safety being what it is, the eatery have been forced to take it out. Cue pandemonium.
In addition to the usual rolled oats and nuts, Nashoba Bakery's granola lists "love" on its ingredients list. However, after the US Food and Drug Administration carried out an inspection of the baker's factory, the cutesy addition was called into question.
In a letter sent to the bakery at the end of last month, the FDA issued a warning on health and safety practices at the factory and the misbranding of certain products, including granola. Absolute killjoys. The letter read as follows:
"Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient 'love.' Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name. 'Love' is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient."
Vibe killing at its finest. The bakery's owners told Bloomberg that they were surprised that the FDA took issue with the ingredient, which, after all, does make the world go round. If I'm honest, I'd rather have love than the processed stuff we eat almost every day.
Nashoba's CEO John Gates said about as much, showing his disappointment with the FDA's "silly" ruling:
"I really like that we list 'love' in the granola. People ask us what makes it so good. It's kind of nice that this artisan bakery can say there's love in it and it puts a smile on people's face. Situations like that where the government is telling you you can't list 'love' as an ingredient because it might be deceptive, just feels so silly."
Ultimately, the bakery has to comply with the rules, but on the whole I couldn't agree more with the CEO on the 'love' issue. The FDA's quibble over the ingredient listed turned out to be a minor point, as the rest of the warnings lay out an extensive list of violations, including dirt and filth caked onto ceiling vents, as well as sprinklers directly above ready-to-eat foods.
Parts of the ceiling and floor were missing, and an FDA inspector noticed a one-inch-long, unidentified crawling insect directly underneath a batch of pastries. Hard to imagine anything being lovingly prepared after hearing that. Let's hope the team at Nashoba get their act together, and maybe they'll be allowed to stir some love into their granola bars once more.