"Can we try it, Mama, please, pretty please? All the kids at school are using it!"
"OK." Mama Bear took her famous stew off the stove and reached for the box on top of the cupboard. The new iPlate sure looked pretty--a shiny multi-colored platter with miniature light bulbs around the edge. Best of all, as part of the new Bear Land Agricultural Needs Department initiative, every family was entitled to one for free.
"Hello. I'm an iPlate, here to help you make healthy food choices. Please deposit acceptable food and wait for green light to start eating."
"I'll go first!" Jumping with excitement, Sister Bear grabbed a spoonful of meat from the stew and dropped it on the iPlate.
"Unacceptable food. Red meat: high saturated fat content. Please remove."
"You did it wrong! Let me try!" Brother Bear removed the offending meat and replaced it with a scoop of potatoes.
"Unacceptable food. Stewed potatoes: high starch, low vitamin content. Please try again."
Mama Bear was confused. Beef and potato stew was a family staple going back to her Russian grandparents. Why was it unacceptable? Still, the cubs were so excited about trying their new educational toy, and she did want them to learn to eat healthy...
"Maybe it doesn't work well with homemade food. Let's try something simple, like a banana."
"Unacceptable food. Banana: high in sugar, promotes tooth decay." This time, the device did not ask for another try. Instead, the light bulbs around the edge flashed red, and a different, louder voice sounded.
"You have performed three unsuccessful attempts. Please report to the nearest B.L.A.N.D. center for Food Re-education."
"No way! I know how to feed my cubs!" Mama Bear grabbed the iPlate and turned it over, looking for a switch. "Let's just set our normal plates for dinner."
As soon as Mama Bear's finger found the switch, the iPlate shook violently, slipping out of her hand.
"Hostile consumer! BZZZZZZ!" The iPlate flew in a circle around the kitchen, then aimed straight for Mama Bear, barely missing her head. "Violation of B.L.A.N.D. food guidelines in progress. Enter Emergency Response mode. BZZZZZ!"
"Cubs, get out of the kitchen!" Mama Bear yelled. Brother and Sister Bear didn't need to be told twice. The iPlate looked terrifying, like an attacking alien spaceship from old human movies.
Ducking under the wildly circling plate, Mama Bear pulled out an old-fashioned rolling pin out of the drawer. Swinging it like a bat, she was able to safely back out of the kitchen and lock the door behind her. The iPlate was still buzzing ominously and issuing threats, but other than breaking a few dishes, it was powerless to do any harm.
"Are you OK, Mama?" The cubs were peeking from behind the living room couch, scared but unhurt.
"I'm fine. It takes more than a crazed little toy to get a Mama Bear down."
The front door opened with a loud creak and Papa Bear walked in. He was still wearing his logger's gear: a hard hat, goggles hanging from his neck, and an axe on his belt.
"Hi Everyone, Papa's ho... Hey, what's going on?"
"It's the iPlate," sighed Mama Bear. "We wanted to try it out, but it declared my stew unacceptable and then went nuts and started attacking us. I held it off with a rolling pin and locked it in the kitchen."
"That's stupid! I love your family stew recipe. How can it be unacceptable?"
"It's those new B.L.A.N.D. guidelines. I don't know what we'll do now."
"I know what we WON'T do." Papa Bear pulled the goggles up over his eyes and took the axe off his belt. "We won't let anyone tell this family what we can and can't eat." With that, Papa Bear disappeared into the kitchen. There were some crashing sounds, and then all was quiet.
"All done!" Papa Bear came out, garbage bag filled with weakly buzzing iPlate remnants in hand. "Unfortunately, it crashed into the stew pot before I could stop it."
"I'm sorry you won't get proper dinner tonight," said Mama Bear. "You must be starving."
"Not really." Papa Bear leaned in close, out of the cubs' earshot, and whispered. "I ate another anti-logging protester today."
"Ooh, sweetheart, you should really stop doing that. They are much too hard on your digestion."
"I know. I'll try not to. They were just so annoying today... Now," Papa Bear turned to the cubs and gave them a big smile. "Who wants to go out for some honey?"
"Real honey?" The cubs squealed in delight. "Not sugar free like they have at school?"
"Straight from the hive! The guys at work found the spot last week. After today, I think we all deserve something sweet."
The Bear Family walked out of the house and towards the woods, leaving the shattered iPlate buzzing helplessly in the garbage bin.
"Unacceptable... unacc...ept...able... un...." Then the battery finally ran out, and the Bear house was peaceful again.