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  • Arts & Culture
  • Food
  • Issue 51

Would a Cheeto
Kill a Pilgrim?

A vague answer to a minor concern. Words by Robert Ito. Photograph by Maciek Miloch. Set Design by Zuza Slominska.

Would a Cheeto kill a Pilgrim? What a question. Let’s see: Pilgrims didn’t eat a lot of processed foods, so their old-timey guts would have probably squawked at the sorts of 21st-century junk we routinely ingest. But would a Cheeto, with its unholy mélange of chemicals, orange dye and “cheese seasoning,” actually kill somebody accustomed to a steady diet of shellfish, veggies and whole grains?1 Who knows? The better question might be: Who wants to know?

Turns out, lots of folks on the internet, who have made an intellectual game of puzzling out which modern foods might kill a child of the Victorian era, say, or at least put one in a coma. It’s easy to understand the popularity of such discussions. Unlike many similar online quibbles that require a certain base of specialized knowledge, this latest round of questions is refreshingly open to all. Anyone who knows that there are things called “Cheetos” and


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Fifty-One

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