Friday, March 8, 2013

Seven signs of the coming Food Apocalypse on your supermarket shelves

Image credit: Netrition
1. Jelly (and Jam) with fiber

Whole wheat bread has fiber.  Peanut butter has fiber. Fruit has fiber. Lettuce and tomato possess fiber.  Many potential components of a healthy breakfast or lunch contain fiber. If your fiber intake is so low you need to insert fiber into your JELLY, you are probably living on white bread and jam.  In which case, you should re-read Bread and Jam for Frances, because that book has an important message for you.

Click for image credit
2. Whole wheat sugary cereals

I hate to say it, but if you are buying your kid these types of cereals, you're probably turning on the TV as a babysitter while you drink in the bedroom.  Or you have a problem with sugar yourself.  Why not just be honest and give him a pack of Reese's peanut butter cups and a glass of chocolate milk for breakfast, send him off, and let his teacher deal with him?

Image credit: The Impulsive Buy
3. Peanut butter with omega-3 fatty acids

One of the ingredients on the label is anchovy.  You seriously hate fish that much and are that neurotic about balancing your omega-6s with your omega-3s? Let me guess--you read a lot of articles on nutrition on the Internet and eat lots of protein bars but real food kinda scares you.

Image credit: Aunt Jemima
4. 'Complete' pancake batter

Scratch pancakes can be made from butter, sugar, flour, milk, eggs, and baking powder. That's seven ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now. Okay, growing up my mom totally cheated and used Politically Incorrect Pancake Mix.  Okay, famed restauranteur Kenny Shopsin uses Aunt Jemima pancake batter at his restaurant and says making good pancakes is all in the technique, not the quality of the batter. But still--you can't throw in some melted butter or oil and an egg into a standard mix?  Why is this necessary?  The label: "A good source of Calcium & Iron" is a nice touch.

Click for image credit
5. Splenda with fiber

Proof that the food industry can target all demographic groups, including anorexics.

Image credit: General Mills
6. Reduced fat croissants

Hello?  The point of croissants is that they contain fat. Croissants are, in effect, fat delivery systems in pastry form. It's not even like a brownie, where you can amp up the chocolatey component if you reduce the fat a little bit.  If this is in your freezer, you probably eat a lot of egg whites, turkey bacon, Lean Cuisines, and other 80s retro food. The acid-wash jeans still don't look good, no matter what Urban Outfitter says.

Image credit: Unilever
7. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

I Can't Top Anthony Bourdain's witty comment in Kitchen Confidential to this product: "I can." However, I Can't Express how much the grammarian in me hates the name of the product, as well as the fact that the substance itself tastes frighteningly similar to the plastic container in which it comes encased. My jeans aren't called 'I Can't Believe These Aren't Lucky.'  My car isn't branded 'I Can't Believe This Isn't a Lexus.' Clearly, the marketing whizzes who designed this product Could Believe The American Public Was Pretty Gullible (and irrationally afraid of fat). Extra bonus points for advertising its 'whipped and creamy taste.'  'Whipped' is a description and 'creamy' is a texture, not a taste.


  1. I smiled all the way through this post! No doubt we Americans are the few that have processed foods to this level. Next to diabetes we must have hemorrhoids too, a close second for all the fiber that is needed to be added to food.

    My first time visiting your blog. I enjoyed it. I am a new follower.


  2. It's not a food, but the one that makes me shake my head is Tums with calcium. If a person is taking enough Tums to make it an efficient way to get her calcium, then she'll probably be dead from an ulcer long before she's old enough to worry about osteoporosis.

  3. @Velva--thank you so much for becoming a follower! That truly made my morning! And yes, while I'm not above certain 'cheats' when cooking (I don't make my own mustard and yogurt like some bloggers, for example) the idea that we have to somehow pack nutrients into our snacks (and jelly) because we eat so little real food is profoundly troubling.

    @Flurrious--I think you are right--the Tums ARE the most scary thing on the shelves marketed as 'nutrition,' right along with those gummy critter vitamins. Because that totally doesn't encourage kids to OD on medicine. Yeah.