The most wasted of all days is one without laughter – E.E. Cummings

Food for Thought

This week, General Mills announced that they will be removing all artificial flavorings and dyes from their cereal lines; goodbye Yellow #6, it’s been real.

Seriously though, I watched a news report about the GM secret lab and how they are working to substitute the artificial dyes and flavorings with natural stuff – instead of using red dye, for example, they are extracting the color out of a fruit like cherries to give the cereal its highly-coveted red color. The whole thing was very Mission Impossible meets Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: two parts amazing to one part ‘duh’, Baker Aker. Why didn’t someone think of this before?!?

I have to give General Mills some major mom-thumbs-up for this move. It was probably a lot of work to make these changes but hopefully those health-conscious moms that care what their kids eat will go to the store in droves to buy the new ‘flavored-by-broccoli’ Trix.

This unexpected change in my world (seriously, we eat a lot of cereal in this house) left me in a thoughtful mood, wondering what else I could do to change my food world for the better. How can I contribute to this ever-growing food consciousness that is sweeping the nation? What can I do to feel better about the products that we are eating? And then it hit me: obviously big food production companies are reading my blog so maybe I should say something in behalf of consumers everywhere to try and convince them to make some changes to our favorite products. So, with that in mind, I present to you. . .

Food Alterations to Carlee’s Adored Modified Products (better known as F.A.T.C.A.M.P.)

Below is a list of suggested alterations to food products that are widely consumed. The good news for all of you major food production companies is that after some intensive research on my part, the changes that I am suggesting are pretty simple and would require only slight modifications to the current product offering and could potentially increase sales. It’s basically a win-win. So without further ado:

Oreos

oreos2The invention of Double Stuf Oreos basically ruined the regular Oreo as we know it; who wants to settle for the ‘regular’ amount of filling when such abundance is available two shelves down and to the right? The issue is that by putting Double Stuf on the packaging, you are instantly giving me a visual of trying to stuff myself into my jeans after eating these cookies. The name just isn’t appealing in the slightest.

So, my proposal is this: rename the Double Stuf Oreos to just ‘Oreos’. Then, in a gesture that will surely increase sales, change the name of the previously ‘regular’ Oreos to Half Stuf Oreos. This accomplishes a couple of things: it acknowledges that the amount of filling in the Double Stuf Oreos is actually the correct amount and how God initially intended them to be made. (Apology accepted). Second, it will make new Half Stuf Oreo buyers feel better about their consumption choice – you can practically market them as a healthy alternative. Welcome to Diet-ville, Oreo; it’s good to see you.

Big Mac

Is there a ‘Small Mac’ somewhere that I am unaware of? I feel like I am pretty astute to the ways of the fast food market and in all of my years, I am yet to encounter a mini version of the Big Mac. Is the adjective (that’s the word ‘Big’ for all of you Math and Science majors) really necessary? Nobody really wants to order anything with the word ‘Big’ in front of it. “I’m already at McDonald’s so I think we are both already keenly aware of my choices today, thank you.”

I propose that we rename the ‘Big Mac’ to the ‘Mac’; or, if an adjective is absolutely necessary, let’s use something flashier like . . . well . . . flashy. Yes, the ‘Flashy Mac’. Think of how much more enjoyable ordering that would be: “I’ll take a large Coke and a Flashy Mac.” Initial research shows that not only will consumers be more confident in their ordering choices but that morale of the McD’s drive-through workers will increase three fold.

Salt and Vinegar

World, I know many of you are wondering what I could possibly do to alter the chip goodness that is Salt and Vinegar. Well, I’ll tell you. MAKE THE RATIO CONSISTENT FOR CRYING OUTLOUD! Nothing ruins my morning . . . I mean my late afternoon . . . like biting into a S&V potato chip and immediately getting the sense that the top layer of my tongue is going to be burned off by what feels like a flesh-eating overload of vinegar. Seriously, it’s that bad. Most regular potato chips taste the same so I don’t know why some companies that make the S&V go so far as to eliminate my taste buds entirely. Is your product tester a masochist? You’ve missed the mark on my taste for the tangy.

I propose that every chip company that makes S&V send a secret spy into the Pringles factory, high-jack a can of their S&V and get to work copying the recipe. Or maybe you could go to your local grocery store and accomplish the same thing but it seems less fun and less ‘we’re trying’ that way. Their flavoring is always consistent, despite what you would assume about flavors and their ability to intensify while in a tight cylinder.

Speaking of that can. . . .

Pringles

I’m wondering if Pringles actually started out as a toddler snack. You know how they have regular granola bars and then “toddler granola bars”? They are inherently the same thing but come in different packaging just to make it fun and encourage the kiddies to eat up. I believe that’s how Pringles started because that chip can was clearly made for a three-year-old’s hand to be able to reach all the way to the bottom. I basically have to dislocate my pinky finger in order to get my claws in there. Do you know how difficult it is to pick up a stack of chips with your middle and third finger without crushing them into oblivion? Of course you do, we’ve all eaten Pringles. It’s a tragedy because Pringles is right, “Once you pop, you can’t stop” . . . until your hand gets stuck in the can and you have to call the fire department to free you and you spend fifteen minutes explaining that you were actually trying to get the Cheeze-Ums out for your daughter and you were really only grabbing two but when your hand got stuck, you panicked and inadvertently grabbed 15 chips . . . anyway, I digress. The point: you’ll stop. I promise.

I propose an expansion of the can. I appreciate the cylinder design because in general, it does keep the chips in better shape than other pre-historic chip containers (don’t even get me started on the balloons that are chip bags) but the cylinder itself is too dang small! Now you are going to fire back at me and say “It’s the right size to cradle the chips – too much larger and it wouldn’t serve its purpose.”   Good point. But to that I say, “Then increase the size of the chips as well.” Duh, Pringles. Duh. My pinky and our local fire department thank you.

You guys, this advocacy stuff is really up my alley. Seriously, I feel so much better having voiced my concerns. Feeling like you’ve made a difference in the health and self-esteem of moms just like me is an important part of what my blog is all about.

Because these changes will likely come to fruition (that’s another big one – it basically means ‘it will happen’ it doesn’t mean that all of the above-mentioned products will change to fruit, don’t worry) and you’ll probably see me on G.M.A. in the next ‘Food Expose’ story, feel free to leave your feedback on the food items that you’d like to be changed and I’ll see if I can slip them into my interview with Robin Roberts. If we’re going to save America, we need to do it together.

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Carlee Hansen

https://www.carleehansen.com

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