There are few things that bring greater joy to my Mexican heart than limón. Sandía? Con limón y sal por favor. Tacos o elote? Tantito limón. Chips? A little limoncito never hurt nobody. Until now.
It seems America has caught on and decided to commodify limón, and worse, with a particular Latin flair. As a protector of all things unimportant to everyone else, I can’t help but feel a little territorial. I mean, Limón 7 packets from the ice cream man were to me what twinkies and fruit roll-ups were to normal children.
It began with Lay’s chips and their limón flavor. Aside from the fact that the company in charge of Lay’s bought out my beloved Mexican brand, Sabritas, many a year ago, I wasn’t too angry about the situation. It saved me the effort of two squeezes per chip.
Last month, though, it became too much. First, I saw a commercial for Bud Light Lime. Bud Light, the #2 beer among Latinos in the U.S., was trying to hit a niche, and damn it if I wasn’t wavering! That curvy bottle rotating before me on the television screen, first unattractive in its regular packaging, but then, slowly stripped of its dull brown exterior to reveal a clear bottle with a green wedge of heaven slapped on the front. All this, while Santogold’s “Creator” played on teasingly. Have they no shame? Have I?
And it’s not just food. That would be too simple. Windex, I believe, should be one color, as we remember it to be – pure and blue. Last month, however, I found on the shelves of Target a Windex with “el poder de limón” calling my name. Light green and with a citrus scent. Sigh.
It’s not the first time something from my culture has been taken, repackaged, and made appealing to the masses. Am I mad? Well, like my limón, it tastes a little bitter, but that doesn’t make it any harder to resist.