You consider the potential olfactory implications of what you are about to do. But then you place the red and white striped package in your microwave, press start, and watch as it inflates. A faint popping sound can be heard after about 30 seconds. From outward appearances, this could be a typical evening, a minute away from settling down in front of the television.

No, it is not.

The trajectory changed earlier, in one of the chic new markets now found in every gentrifying neighborhood. The shelves had been replaced with islands, arrayed with glass canisters and seagrass baskets that carefully nestled each artisanal item. Knowing that you had to buy something to justify your presence, with relief and some glee your eyes lit upon Yaky Charms. You read the package: “100% yak cheese, lactose-free, gluten-free, grain-free. Made in the USA.” You palpated the contents, which were small nodules. They felt sort of like the gravel that gets stuck in the tread of your shoes. You became unreasonably intrigued, notwithstanding the fact that this product was also emblazoned “Dog Treat.”

You do not own a dog.

The microwave dings. As you open the bag, there is a faint milky whiff, but no strong odor. That’s a relief. You grab a knife to slice open the package, and find about a cup-full of white cloudlike puffs, still faintly crackling. They feel like air and taste like a dry and crispy nothing, although not unpleasant. “Needs salt,” you think. However, at 73 calories per bag and a guaranteed analysis of “Crude Protein min of 63%,” you can see these becoming your new go-to snack. You wonder if you should get a dog to share them with.