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AM I BLUE?

Watching a small girl eat blue cotton candy at the Italian Festival (sorry, the Sorrento Cheese-a-Rama), blue-lipped as a drowning victim, I decided to take a stand, albeit a personal one.

According to a variety of research studies, blue remains America's most perennially popular color. Blue is coolness, serenity. A crystalline swimming pool in sweltering July. Blue is a state of mind, and a powerful marketing tool.

However, blue was historically not anything you wanted to put in your mouth. There are almost no naturally occurring blue edibles. Mold is blue. Dead people are blue. Ti-D-Bowl

is blue.

Then human civilization evolved to the heights of blue corn chips on airliners, Fun Dip (candy chalk with blueberry dipping sugar), Boo Berry Cereal, blue ketchup, and Jones Blue Bubble Gum Flavored Soda, among other ... foods.

Nevertheless, there remains in my genes a hint of natural reticence regarding the ingestion of blue. Vision in fact is a biologically built-in component of food appeal. (Try eating in the dark; curiously unsatisfying.)

Because it's so unnatural, kids love blue food. Most blue foods are either kid-targeted or are products such as blue curaao that are unholy to begin with and therefore color-proof.

Kids especially love blue food because often it stains your lips and tongue. Watching the girl with her cotton candy, I remembered that both FDA-approved blue food dyes, FD&C Blue 1 and Blue 2, are petroleum-derived triphenylmethanes. I also remembered the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Director Stanley Kubrick wanted to create something totally alien in the famously enigmatic final Star Child sequence. So, in 1968, Kubrick had the astronaut character played by Keir Dullea eat a bowl of blue food.

Dullea's career tanked after that movie. Bad luck? Maybe. But, when the girl sweetly offered a sticky fistful of what looked like blue insulation, I smiled and said "No, thank you." And next time, I'm passing up the snacks on JetBlue.

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