Mark Nuckols is the founder and CEO of Hufu, LLC, and his company has but one goal: To serve man (or some reasonable, soy-based facsimile thereof). Hufu is tofu, but textured and flavored into a pseudo-meat billed as "The Healthy Human Flesh Alternative." They say it tastes like people.

At this point, the first question to spring to the mind of a normal, well-adjusted individual is, "Why!!?" For those of us who fall outside of that category, our first response is, "How?"

As usual, the normal and well-adjusted will get a lot more satisfaction than the rest of us. The company is delighted to share details on why, but as for how, their only comment is, "The taste and texture of Hufu are the result of painstaking research and extensive testing in our kitchens. We are supremely confident that our food products would satisfy the tastes of even the most demanding cannibal." Clearly, there's no meat in that response. Cough.

As for why, the company says that they originally intended to market the product to students of anthropology who were curious about the cannibal experience, yet daunted by the task of reproducing it. But the folks at Hufu soon learned through market research that some of the general public was "interested" in such a food-- though perhaps "morbidly curious" might have been a more fitting description-- so they are now marketing it to a broader audience. And people are buying it.

So what does human flesh taste like? Their FAQ says, "If you've never had human flesh before, think of the taste and texture of beef, except a little sweeter in taste and a little softer in texture. Contrary to popular belief, people do not taste like pork or chicken."

Their ambiguity on how makes one wonder if they simply made their best guess on the flavor, knowing that any persons able to refute the claim would most likely be unwilling to do so. And who would believe such a person's claims anyway? Perhaps they used a beef-based flavoring, sweetened it a tad, and called it good; but if so, they won't fess up. Of course it's always possible that their researchers really were willing to make some sacrifices to get the flavor just right, but they would never admit to that either. No doubt the ambiguity is key to their borderline, curiosity-driven marketing: sales will dry up if they admit to shenanigans, but equally so if they claim their researchers have eaten real human flesh.

Watch for Hufu in your grocer's refrigerated section, and coming soon, Hufu "Healthy Hearts" and Hufu "Doctor Lecter's Liver."

Written by Alan Bellows, posted on 06 November 2005. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.
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