Have your cake (but not the sachet that comes with it)

Black muffin of death!!1

Should you eat what’s in those little packets that sometimes come with pre-packaged food?  You know, the ones that look like it might be a sachet of sugar to be sprinkled onto your cake?

Well, don’t, because it’s not, as my friend recently learned… the hard way.

To be fair:
– she was in Japan,
– the warning label was in Japanese characters,
– and the cake begged for a light dusting of sweetness.

These sachets hold something known as desiccants, a substance that keeps things around it dry as long as it’s in a sealed container.  Desiccants are generally used to remove excessive humidity that would normally degrade products sensitive to moisture — not just food, but other products as well.

Malaysia features a tropical rainforest climate with pretty much no dry season, so it’s not uncommon to find desiccants in food products.

Mooncake in wrapper

Mooncake with desiccant.  Er, what is a mooncake?

What does a desiccant taste like?

My poor friend called it “fairly tasteless powder”.

A quick phone call to the manufacturer revealed that the powder contained ethanol and the employee had a twisted sense of humour.

How does a desiccant affect your body if you eat it?

Aside from the slight shock and then humiliation of being laughed at by the manufacturer representative, my friend seems to be none the worse for wear.  She did complain though that her mouth felt a bit glued together afterwards.

So the next time you see a small, likely white packet with your food that is NOT labelled sugar (but rather silica gel, activated charcoal, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, etc.) you know better than to add it to your food.

Posted in food.

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