Category: Food

Twinkie offense

Twinkies-Ad

When I was in college my co-op had a special junk food brunch. Among other things we ordered sugary cereal, Pop Tarts and Twinkies. The normally staid, academic bunch went temporarily insane (thankfully no one was killed!), breakdancing on top of tables and jamming Twinkies into the ceiling with forks. Those Twinkies stayed there for a whole semester without changing color or shape. Makes one wonder what’s in those darned things. Well, now we know. I’ll give you a hint: they are not baked. Read on…

Decoding the 39 Ingredients in a Twinkie – Newsweek Health – MSNBC.com:

At the heart of the book is the fundamental question: why is it you can bake a cake at home with as few as six ingredients, but Twinkies require 39? And why do many of them seem to bear so little resemblance to actual food? The answer: To stay fresh on a grocery-store shelf, Twinkies can’t contain anything that might spoil, like milk, cream or butter. Once you remove such real ingredients, something has to take their place—and cellulose gum, lecithin and sodium stearoyl lactylate are a good start. Add the fact that industrial quantities of batter have to pump easily through automated tubes into cake molds, and you begin to get the idea.

Even so, it can be unsettling to learn just how closely the basic ingredients in processed foods resemble industrial materials. Corn dextrin, a common thickener, is also the glue on postage stamps and envelopes. Ferrous sulfate, the iron supplement in enriched flour and vitamin pills, is used as a disinfectant and weedkiller. Is this cause for concern? Ettlinger says no, though you wouldn’t want a diet that consists solely of Twinkies. Ultimately, all food, natural and otherwise, is composed of chemical compounds—and normal ingredients like salt have industrial applications, too. Still, it gives you pause when he describes calcium sulfate, a dough conditioner, as “food-grade plaster of Paris.”

“Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats” (Steve Ettlinger)

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Fruity packaging

Kix

No fruit in this package

Fruit Shown on Label Often Not in the Box, Kids’ Food Study Says (Via commondreams.org):

Fruit is a big seller for parents who want to feed their children nutritious food. So it’s no surprise that manufacturers prominently display berries, cherries and oranges on boxes of breakfast cereals, drink cans and yogurt containers.

Berry Berry Kix contains no berries whatsoever.
Unfortunately, according to health advocates, many companies fail to put the fruit where it counts — inside the products.

The Prevention Institute and the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, an Oakland-based coalition of California’s leading public health, physical activity and nutrition organizations, say more than half of the most aggressively advertised children’s foods that show fruit on their packaging or even put the word “fruit” in their name contain no fruit.

Yoplait Go-Gurt Strawberry Splash yogurt, Fruity Cheerios and Berry Berry Kix are just a few of the products named in the organization’s study being released today, “Where’s the Fruit?”

TV dinning

They’re not just for trucks stops anymore…

Prime Rib, Minus the Prime-Time TV:

“[National Restaurant Association] surveys show that diners increasingly view restaurants as extensions of their own homes, and a large percent would like to see table-top TVs installed at their favorite eating joint.”