There is a food-supplement drink called Ensure Plus that my doctors have me taking twice a day, with the aim of putting back some of the weight I’ve lost in the past five or six years of assorted ailments. It isn’t bad.
I’ve had worse shakes from some of the fast-food chains, and it comes in four mostly potable flavors. Their butter pecan and the chocolate are particularly tasty (and I speak as a man who has once sent back a Steak ’n Shake chocolate as unfit to drink) and the strawberry isn’t bad, though it tastes more like jam than fresh fruit. As to the vanilla I recuse myself from speaking, partly because that isn’t a flavor I’m very fond of to begin with, but mostly because I read the label. (Which refers to itself as “Home-Made Vanilla” in spite of the fact that the ingredients include many substances that I don’t believe are to be found in anybody’s home cooking.)
Anyway, I learned (from Stephen Colbert’s fake news show — the papers and news magazines I read haven’t mentioned it) that Ensure Plus has played a significant role in the “harsh interrogation” — we won’t use the T word — that our people used on the detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. One of their techniques was to restrict feeding the subjects to a diet of 1,000 calories a day — just enough, that is, to keep the subjects from embarrassing them by dropping dead of starvation. And, if Colbert has his facts straight — anybody out there know? — those daily calories came from a single bottle of Ensure Plus each day. (Compare with my two bottles plus three square, regular meals a day.)
I can see where that would make almost anybody say almost anything for a bologna sandwich — though, of course, you’d have no way of knowing whether or not what they said revealed a truth or was an invention. But that’s always a problem with enhanced interrogation, isn’t it?