As the old year winds down I offer up three things that I think we would do well to leave behind us as we turn to new resolutions and opportunities.
Cool Whip in a Can
From a Sunday coupon circular from earlier this fall, we see Cool Whip in a can. I havent looked for it on my grocers shelf, but I do wonder: does the spray version manage to retain the weird gelatinous consistency of the tub version?
Of course actual whipped cream is incredibly easy to make, and while Im not sure what the Cool Whip can retails for Im fairly confident you could produce a comparable amount of the real stuff for a lot less money and only a few minutes with a hand mixer. Of course regular whipping cream is not exactly low in fat, though its fat load generally doesnt include trans fats. But which do you suppose is better for a healthy lifestyle: a small, controlled portion of a real food that you can savor, or larger and more frequent helpings of sugar-free and fat-reduced processed foods that encourage you to build your appetite for sweets and additives? (I couldnt find product information about the canned variety on the Cool Whip site, so I couldnt check whether it has the same ingredient list as found in the tub, which includes such yummy-sounding items as palm kernel oil and guar gum.)
Ore-Ida Steam n Mash
Well, at least this isnt Potato Buds. Peeling and chopping potatoes is certainly more tedious than whipping cream, but if youre that pressed for time are you really making the kind of meal that calls for mashed potatoes? Im not a big fan of microwaving potatoes, but I tend to think that you could peel and dice potatoes yourself during the weekend, throw the cubes into the freezer, and then toss the cubes into a pot of boiling water if you want quicker-prep potatoes. Plus youd get to control the amount of added salt.
The top section of the ad (cropped out) notes that this product is already a Sandra Lee time saving favorite. Ah, yes, the diva of Semi-Homemade products, aka shilling for processed foods with recipes that you could just as easily make yourself with real food. Well be getting to those in a future post.
Finally, it loses points for punctuation. n is not a contraction of and. Or perhaps the products full name is Steam no Mash?
Hersheys Kisses Mini Cookies
I picked these up at a gas station in June (thus violating Michael Pollans eminently sensible guideline, Dont get your fuel from the same place your car does), but I couldnt bring myself to open them and see what they were like. When I got home from my trip I set the bag on my desk to write about. Now its late December. I strongly suspect theyre just as palatable as they would have been in June, but Im not going to find out.
I think that if you want Hersheys Kisses you should eat them. I think that if you want chocolate-chip cookies you should find fresher ones from a bakery, or make them yourself (theyre probably the easiest cookie to make and customize). I think that if you take me on a road trip and dont get me access to decent coffee within the first hour, youre going to find that I make silly purchases like this one.