I complain a lot about all sorts of things. I suppose that means I’m getting old and cranky and have nothing better to do. This time it’s about people messing with my favorite foods. Again. Changing stuff to make it healthier for me. Well who the hell asked ’em to!?
I’m not one to hold a grudge, but do you remember back in 1990 when McDonald’s made the big change with their fries? Took the beef fat out of their frying oil. Ruined the world’s best fries. I used to buy parts of my meals at other drive-ins and then go by McDonald’s for the fries. Since they changed them, I rarely go to McDonald’s anymore. The fries just aren’t worth the trip, and the rest of the menu never was that great.
Then there was last summer. I’ve talked about it so much, I thought for sure I’d written about it, but apparently not. Anyway, sometime last summer I happened to notice and buy Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch ice cream. Wow! Instantly my new favorite. Thought I’d died and gone to heaven. A few weeks later, or perhaps two pints later (I go through a pint a week at most, and often much less), I settled down for another bowl of my new fave. Yuck! What the hell!? A bad batch? The rest of the pint was tossed.
The next time I went to the store, I was browsing for a replacement flavor and suddenly noticed — it wasn’t Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch anymore. It was Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Toffee Bar Crunch. That’s what I’d bought the last time without noticing the label had changed.
A little Internet research revealed that Ben & Jerry had changed their recipe, substituting their own (putrid) toffee for the Heath Bars because Heath uses GMOs. I was furious. And I wrote them and told them so. I have absolutely no problem with GMOs, but they apparently do, or think their customers do. (I wondered if they polled their customers about it first. Had there been a demand, an uprising, for GMO-free ice cream?) They replied with platitudes, boasting about their determination to used only the finest ingredients, blah, blah, blah. And included a coupon for a free pint of ice cream. And much to my surprise, about 6 weeks ago, they sent me three more coupons for free pints and suggested some flavors I might like (all with caramel, not toffee).
Okay, so at no cost to me I found Americone Dream is pretty tasty. And Salted Caramel Core’s core is too salty. But I’m not letting them off the hook for ruining a really fabulous flavor when no one asked them to. And then using deceptive labeling to try to pass it off as the same product.
Which brings me to my latest disappointment/discovery. Original Wishbone Italian Dressing. Not Robusto or Mediterranean or Lite, but Original. I’ve bought it for as long as I can remember. My favorite, never-fail, always delicious salad dressing. Used in salads, marinades, sauces, and probably other things I’m not remembering at the moment. About two months ago, I settled down to enjoy a bit of salad and thought the dressing tasted kind of “off.” A little too vinegar-y, with less of the smooth, rich, something-or-other taste I was used to. Maybe it was past its expiration date or had spoiled or something. After all, it takes a long time for one person to use up a bottle of salad dressing. So I tossed it.
A few weeks ago I bought a fresh bottle, and a week after that, forgetting I’d bought the first, bought another one. So, two big bottles in the fridge. This evening I fixed another salad and sprinkled it with my favorite dressing. And you guessed it. The taste was off. Again. Suspicious, finally (at my age, I always suspect my senses or memory first), I checked out the label. Nothing really warned “New Taste!” Just something about vitamins being better absorbed.
So I went online and sure enough, on their website, Wishbone brags:
Try our improved Wish-Bone® Italian salad dressing, bursting with more herbs & spices. We took our original famous Italian salad dressing recipe, already filled with Italian herbs and spices, and then we packed it full of even more herbs, seasonings and flavors for an extra zesty boost of flavor you’ll love! No high fructose corn syrup.
Why the hell would a company change a formula that has been so good and sold so well for decades? Decades! I’m guessing the additional herbs and seasonings are an effort to cover up the deletion of high fructose corn syrup. (Wish I still had that old bottle so I could compare the ingredients.) I personally think there’s no problem with high fructose corn syrup or any other sugar — in moderation. It’s just sugar. Scarcely different from other sugars (sucrose, galactose, maltose). I’ve yet to see an explanation of why, suddenly, high fructose corn syrup is evil but other sugars aren’t. (Maybe beet sugar and cane sugar producers are out to get corn producers?)
So once again one of my favorite foods has been ruined because some health nuts somewhere decided that after all these decades (7.2, to be precise), suddenly my food isn’t good for me and they’re going to change it. If they want to change their foods and diets, fine. But there are foods I’ve enjoyed for a long time, that I’m still alive to talk about, and I’d have liked to enjoy them for some years to come.