Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Look! Same Great Taste!

My mama brought me up right. And by "right" I mean "as a cheap bastard". Despite not being the primary grocery shopper in the household (except when I get those 4:30pm calls to pick up sour cream on the way home from work), I regularly clip coupons, scour the local ads, and watch for sales on canned pineapple. Yes, it's a sad life really. If only my mom had let me play sports in school.

It appears that society has invented all the food products that need to be invented. All the vegetables have been discovered. We've killed every animal that looks like it might be tasty with BBQ sauce slathered on its hindquarters. So what's a manufacturer to do in order to keep our interests? Well, it seems that for quite some time now, selling the simple Oreo is no longer enough. Today, Oreos must be double-stuffed. And Chocolate coated. And inside out. And pink. And dare I say it, fried. Manufacturers are continually putting new spins on old products that are really nothing more than new packaging. How often have you seen a label on a box that says, "New Look! Same Great Taste!" Look honey! Our favorite Ritz Crackers now come in a big zipper pack, pre-crushed!

Recently my wife reported that Keebler now has a new Graham Cracker offering. It seems that the Keebler Elves held a focus group and determined that the average American was struggling with the task of breaking those rectangular crackers in half in order to construct a S'more. Oh, those jagged edges. Those accidental trapezoidal crackers. At last Keebler answered our call by producing a square graham cracker. Brilliant. Now if they would just get rid of the danged plastic wrap that you can't re-seal, so that after eating one cracker the rest don't go stale resting on the kitchen counter overnight.

Our local supermarket is considering building an entire wing on the store, solely dedicated to the sale of "100 Calorie Packs". Who decided 100 was the right number of calories? Is 100 calories worth of hostess cupcakes somehow better than, oh say, NO cupcakes? Or a pear? And why the hell does a potato chip that previously came in a large bag now have to be supplied in eighteen tiny bags, all packaged inside a box? Did someone recently decide there wasn't enough trash being thrown out in America? Are Americans not smart enough to control their own portion sizes? Okay, you got me on that one.

And then there's the ice cream I bought recently. Edy's "American Idol" flavors. Mint chocolate chip ice cream with special, more colorful packaging, and chopped up pieces of David Archuleta's dulcet tones mixed in. Fact is, it's still mint chip ice cream, but they charge extra for the swell hairdo on the container.

I am constantly astounded by the seemingly annual innovations released by the Kraft company to make Mac 'n Cheese that much more mindless to make. First, there was a box of noodles with a packet of powdered cheese dust. But Kraft realized the hardship of having to boil water in the old fashioned "heat it with fire" way. So they changed it up so you could quickly radiate the noodle water with but a modicum of effort. But then they realized what a hassle it was to actually was use a bowl. So not the noodles and cheese come pre-bowled. Just pour water in and nuke. Brilliant. I can't wait for the pre-chewed noodles to come out.

Alright, back to my coupon clipping. Oh look! Lego-shaped Eggos are on sale. Nifty. And part of this nutritious breakfast (of eggs, milk, Flinstones Chewable Vitamins, antioxidant-laced chai tea, and persimmons)!


Howard said...

Deep fried oreos are good.

Not having kids or packing a lunch I've avoided the 100 calorie pack type stuff. I am smart enough to control my portions, but only if I do it in the kitchen. If I take the large bag of chips into the living room, I'll finish them. If I take a few handfuls and put them in a bowl and bring that into the living room. I'm good.

But for the most part I've stopped most of that stuff. I'm not into pears, but apples and bananas and strawberries are good. And why are there NEVER coupons for those?

I rarely make mac and cheese, but when I do, I do it like mom used to make. Boil Ronzoni elbow macaroni, put it in a casserole dish with the entire contents of a jar of cheese wiz, bake for a while. No it's not food, but I grew up with it so I like it. I like real mac and cheese too, but if I'm splurging to make this at home, I'll do it like mom did. And she never had a microwave or used a box.

Foms said...

I thought a large bag of chips WAS a single serving....

Your blog is a treat. I stumbled on it several days ago and check back in when I need a lift. Hope you don't mind!


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