This #$!% Has Got to Stop: Part One

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This is a periodic column about ridiculous foods, and ridiculous events around food. No doubt it will inspire you. Send me your ideas: mark@markbittman dot com.  

Not that Shaw’s is worse than most supermarkets; it just happens to be near where my father-in-law lives, in Vermont. So I go there, maybe four or six or ten times a year. An excellent place to buy paper towels.

But look at picture number one: Here’s our local baker, practically Mrs. Shaw herself, telling us that “cookies taste only as good as the ingredients put into them.” We hear about “finest wholesome ingredients” and “real homemade goodness.” None of this is new.

Neither is the information on picture number two. Rolled oats: great start. Then we get into margarine – the curse of the 20th century – sugar, flour, raisins, more sugar, etc. etc., and artificial flavoring.

Now that’s real homemade goodness.

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12 thoughts on “This #$!% Has Got to Stop: Part One

  1. Don’t you remember your grandmother asking you to get the soy lecithin and diglycerides out of the cupboard when she was making cookies?

  2. Eh. I think you could’ve found a better example. What do we have here? Oats, margarine, brown sugar, wheat flour, raisins, sugar, eggs, baking soda, flavorings, & whey protein. Not really that much for a packaged good. OK so margarine could’ve been shortening maybe, but is that much better? Other than the "flavorings" it’s a pretty decent looking ingredient list, IMHO. I think what’s throwing people off is the enriched flour, but is that really "crap"?

  3. A couple of years ago I was at my local supermarket, shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, when I overheard two young twentysomething women talking. "Which one is better, butter or margarine?" asked one. "Oh, definitely margarine!" said the other. "Yuck," I thought.

  4. People. If margarine isn’t crap, I don’t know what is. But fine, we’ll do something even more egregious next time. Send ideas! – mb

  5. So is this food bad only because it contains margarine? Because many of the other ingredients–flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda–are all in the coffee cake recipe posted above.

  6. Yes, this is outrage-worthy. The food marketing here is gross and obviously misrepresents the product, but that’s nothing new. What really saddens me, however, is that people are so disconnected from the experience of an amazing cookie, the kind that you might make at home with real butter (but now, thanks to Pillsbury, you just scoop out of a tube, full of artificial butter flavor and "mouthfeel") that they eat these and think they are getting something amazing, or at least, good enough. Thus, people don’t take Shaws up on their money back offer, and Shaws continues to crank out cheap product. And another real artisan baker dies, not to be dramatic or anything.

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