Saturday, June 8, 2013

Food for Thought

Recently a friend and I were discussing the taste of various food items. This was prompted after watching a TV commercial advertising a childhood favorite cookie.

"I always loved those," my friend said, nodding toward the commercial.

"Me, too. Nothing better with cold milk." I paused. "But have you eaten them recently?"

"No. Why?"

"Because they taste nasty now."

There are certain foods that we all remember from childhood. These items may have been popular as after-school snacks or comfort food meals. Maybe these foods were special because of the era during which we enjoyed them. Most moms didn't work but stayed home and prepared actual meals. It might be that we associate the foods with a nice, contented period. During the post war years a significant number of processed foods were introduced and we liked trying something novel and unusual. But many of those foods were simply tasty and we enjoyed them.

In those days, going to a restaurant was a special treat. There was not a fast food franchise on every corner in every town. Today we can rarely find any town in the country where there isn't at least a McDonalds or Subway. Even the smallest community tends to have at least one eatery for those needing a quick fix. Our family went out to eat on special occasions, especially for Mother's Day or Easter. But these trips were to nice, sit-down restaurants where we practice niceties of the time, like ordering from a menu and using table manners.

So as my friend and I talked about the favorite edibles from the 1940s and 50s, fast food was omitted. (Besides, the topic was actual food, not fake food.)

I have to wonder about those foods which are now much less tasty than their former version. Why are they so different now? It seems logical that the ingredients simply were revised. Perhaps this revision was to save money on production or to extend shelf life. Maybe a few ingredients were replaced because a newer alternative had been created. But the end result is that the products listed here are simply not as good as they once were. Too bad.

No doubt you have your own entries to add to the list.

Foods That are Not as Good as They Once Were
Fig Newtons (now called simply Newtons)
Hershey's Chocolate (except for Chocolate Syrup, which remains fabulous)
Three Musketeers candy bars
Most soft drinks (it must be the sweeteners)
Canned food items like ravioli, stew and corned beef (it must be the high sodium)

Foods Which Remain Tasty Despite the Passage of Time
Kool-Aid (unsweetened varieties which require sugar)
Peanut butter
Cheerios, corn flakes (and many cereals)
M&Ms (plain and peanut only)
Orange juice
Spam luncheon meat (how do they make it so yummy?)
Mounds candy bars
Pay Day candy bars
Jell-O products (including pudding)
Campbell's soups (especially tomato and chicken noodle but not the low sodium stuff)
Dairy Queen treats
Potato chips (but why so many strange flavors?)

Sometimes when I see an item at the grocery that I haven't eaten in decades, I decide to give it another try. On several occasions I have found the result extremely disappointing. This might be because the product has changed. Perhaps this is because my tastes have matured. The end result is the same: Can't stand it, won't buy it.

Consumers usually vote with their wallet. So if sales for a particular food product drop off, manufacturers might want to examine the reason why.

No comments:

Post a Comment