SCENE: Suburban kitchen. Afternoon. An older
teenage girl, 16 or 17, sits on a barstool
contentedly eating a bowl of chocolate ice
cream covered with white jimmies. A young
teenage boy, 13 or 14, bursts in the door.

BOY
Hey, Jennifer, whatcha eatin'?

GIRL
Ice cream!

BOY
But, Jenn, you're lactose intolerant!

GIRL
(points to her huge bowl of ice cream)

CLOSE-UP on ICE CREAM

V.O. GIRL
It's okay, I've added Lacties!

CUT TO - Product shot.

V.O. ANNOUNCER
Lacties -- ice cream sprinkles from Lactaid.

CUT TO - Kitchen. Girl sitting as before.

V.O. BOY
Mommy, can I eat ice cream now too?

END

Or, at least, that's how the television advertisement would have gone, if this remarkable product had passed test-marketing. As it was, I saw a package of Lactaid Ice Cream Sprinkles only once. It came in an opaque plastic bottle with a lid that had flaps for both sprinkling and a spoon, packaged in a blue and white box with a hang-flap. The sprinkles themselves were shaped like basmati rice and slightly off-white in color, like the opalescence of yogurt-covered raisins. I didn't eat them myself (I'm not so afflicted), but the lactose intolerant housemate thought that their neutral sweet taste was easily covered by that of the ice cream. The housemate in question had found them at the nearby outlet grocery1, between a pile of sacks of sautéed button mushrooms and stacks of number 10 cans of ketchup. Although we went back the next day, we never found any more Lactaid Ice Cream Sprinkles. Looking at Lactaid's website, it would seem as though it never existed.2

I suppose that the packaging of this dietary supplement created a problem of self-dosage: ice cream servings vary widely from a 3 ounce scoop to a whole pint. But I suspect that the any food product that has to encode its instructions for use in its name, must be doomed to failure.

1. I often get a feeling of disquiet when I visit the outlet grocery store. There are shelves of foods that are just a little strange: instant rice past the expiry date, canned guacamole, pre-made pb&j sandwiches (frozen), wines from Texas, sacks of sauerkraut, IQF bananas. It is as if reality itself were thin; as if these were imports from some other world, only slightly dissimilar from our own.
2. Actually true. Lactaid website, <http://www.lactaid.com/>
3. For witchiepoo.