Friday, December 18, 2009

Were the cashews poisoned? Looks like we'll never know. Unless . . .

I just ate a whole bag of cashews from Starbucks. Yea for healthy lunches! Hey, at least it has nutritional value of some sort. But even aside the fact that the bag has about 500 calories, I’m thinking that I may have made a mistake. I’m afraid that it might have had some of what you might call “artificial flavoring,” a/k/a "I don't think that's supposed to be in there."

I’ve eaten far more bags of Starbucks cashews than I probably should have over the years, but I think I may have to give them up. While I was eating the cashews today, about halfway through the bag, I noticed that they tasted a little funny to me, but I thought maybe cashews just don’t go with gingerbread latte very much. Or possibly my taste buds were still a little wonky from the peppermint puff I’d had earlier in the day, the one with the red dye food coloring that makes me feel bad enough that I’ve started to believe the “red food dye will kill you” stuff in the Internet.

But now, I’m thinking it was just the cashews. I’m thinking they were a little “off.” Y’all, I really don’t feel too well.

This is not my first experience with Starbucks cashews What Gone Wrong. A few months ago, I bought some cashews from Starbucks, and they also were a little “off.” If you’re thinking that after my previous experience, maybe I should have figured out this time that something was wrong a little earlier in my dining experience, you’re wrong. First of all, I was in a hurry to eat and move on to work, so I was barely even chewing. And second, that time before , it was pretty obvious after eating just one that something was wrong.

“This tastes weird,” I thought. I tried to figure out what the problem was, exactly. “Kind of a chemical taste,” I thought. I tentatively sniffed the bag. Yep, chemical smell, too. A specific kind of chemical smell.

I took the bag to a coworker, because of course that’s what you do when you eat something that tastes bad—get someone else to try it. I usually don’t try to make people eat stuff that I really think could kill them or give them cancer or even just food poisoning, but I’d already eaten one! I needed to know that if later, I started having stomach cramps or went blind or something, that it was or was not because I’d eaten a toxic substance. So, yeah, my coworker was asked to participate in a small clinical trial of sorts.

“Do these taste funny to you?” I asked her. She hesitated, took one, put in her mouth, and made a face, nodding.
“Maybe like gasoline, maybe?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said, spitting out the cashew. Then she got mad at me. I can see that. The whole “may or may not be coated in gasoline” thing was information she should probably have had before the tasting, I just didn’t want to put the idea in her head and taint my data. Now I had confirmation that it did, in fact, taste and smell like gasoline. And then I made her feel better by suggesting that we get another coworker to try it. But then I felt bad and only made coworker #2 smell them. The consensus was—definitely gasoliney.

Of course, the whole thing was kind of worth it later. I’d left the cashews on my coworker’s desk so that she could remind me to contact Starbucks and ask for a refund (which of course I never did). A few weeks later, in her office, another coworker said something kind of snarky to her. She paused, looked him straight in the eye, and held up the bag to him. “Cashew?” she offered, straight-faced. She totally would have let him eat one, too, and my wide-eyed look of horror didn’t even make him pause, and although I thought it would be funny, I had a pang of conscience and stopped him. But her devious payback for the snark made her go up a notch in my list of cool people (and she was already pretty high up there).

So, anyway, yeah, I think I’m done with Starbucks cashews.


Deals On Wheels said...

5 posts in December? I am so proud of you! I enjoyed catching up!

Heather said...

...unless she dies too!

Deals On Wheels said...

And she might. The cashews were bad.

RR said...

[leaning over the back of the sofa and staring at JLR]

JLR said...

heather: brilliant. This is why you are awesome.

And that reminds me, I haven't seen Clue in a year, I think. Too long!

Deals: I almost bought some more the other day. It's like a disease or something, I can't stop buying them. And I know! I was on a roll there for awhile! And then, it was over.

RR: :)

jvw said...

The same thing happend to me with the wallgreens cashews. the gasoline taste it comes from the tea mosquito. Its gets processed with the nuts there comemon pest for cashew farmers. That's best guess. Your the only other person besides me that I could find with the same problem.

jvw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JLR said...

jvw, that is so weird. I'm glad SOMEONE else has had this happen to them, and I'm glad that I have a possible explanation. I still don't like that I ate some of it, though!

Pascha said...

My six year old son had some Starbucks cashews today, and after a few he started freaking out that he had a burning smell of latex in the back of his nose. I told him to go outside and get some fresh air. I ate some of the cashews while he was trying to get fresh air, and about on the 5th cashew, I knew exactly what he meant. For me, it felt and smelled like gasoline. Given that my son had a few more than me, I thought I better get him to the doctor right away. I called 911 and they basically offered to come and get him with an ambulance or for me to take us both to the closest ER. I brought us both in and he vomited all over the poor triage nurse. Turns out that if the cashews did have exposure to gasoline or anything else like it, it's apparently not all that toxic. I'm curious in which state you bought your Starbucks cashews. I bought mine in Massachusetts. So, now I have $400 in ER co-pays because of their nasty cashews.

JLR said...

Oh, Pascha, that's very interesting (and how horrible for you---you must have been scared for your son). I bought mine in Fort Worth, Texas. I wish that I had saved the rest of the package. Not that I'm advocating suing them or anything, but if you do complain to them, I'd be happy to write up an affidavit telling what happened to me to support your story. Apparently the problem is pretty wide-spread, if it's happened to you, too, all the way up there.