I live a pretty healthy, sheltered food life in the SF Bay Area. Discovering a "new food" usually means trying something from another culture like pupusasas (a tortilla stuffed with cheese from El Salvador) rather than a the latest exploding neon colored kids cereal. But I am mesmerized when I see the newest colorful inventions when I visit the big chain grocery stores, like the H.E.B. in the Huston suburb where I am now.
Every thing stops when I see the neon colored cakes. I can hear my nutrition professors sneer in the back of my mind, but my inner six year old wants to stare up close. A cake with a dinosaur bursting out of a volcano! A pink castle cake with princesses doll on each plastic tower! Cakes shaped like pirate ships! Oh my God! You want to play with them, not eat them! The frosting is so bright it looks like play dough. I am in an alternate universe, where image is everything, and the question of what it's made out of is unimportant. Even the pictures on the boxed cake mixes are more vivid than any cake I've made. Andy Worhol would be proud.
I can see how people who think this is food would be afraid to cook. This stuff is to the whole grain chocolate and cherry scones I enjoyed for my birthday what porn stars are to the average, attractive woman. Real food doesn't look like that, and you can get a real complex if you confuse image with reality. It's fun to pretend, just remember that it's not real.