Monday, February 15, 2010

Oddities in the Grocery Aisles

Who would have guessed that a trip to the grocery store could be so astonishing? I don’t often venture into the aisles of the grocery store—unless I need tea or canned tuna or somesuch, I stick to the meat, dairy and produce sections. I understand things like eggs, lettuce, grapefruit and sliced ham. Lately, I’ve seen some oddities when looking for things like oat bran in the aisles:

  • Onion flavoring. What’s wrong with a real onion? Is less than a buck a pound too much to pay? Is chopping it too much work?
  • Labels proclaiming “Real Sugar!” I’d expect to see this in the baking aisle, but the labels were on soft drinks. Maybe it’s because the sugar-free craze of the 1970s is etched in my mind that this strikes me as odd. (If you don’t remember the 70s, it was a time when people were a lot thinner.) If Bill Cosby ever revives his comedy routine about giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast (because he thought that wheat, eggs and milk were healthy), he can add sugar to the list of healthy ingredients.
  • If, unlike Mrs. Cosby, you think that wheat, eggs, milk, chocolate and sugar are a good breakfast, there is over half an aisle devoted to breakfast cereals, pancake and waffle mixes, and maple-like syrup. (You’ll have to go to the dairy section for eggs, though…even though eggs aren’t dairy products.)
  • Nearly all the yogurt had added sugar of some sort, but the announcement was in the fine print. Maybe it wasn’t that Real Sugar that’s worth bragging about.
  • Crackers and other junk foods were labeled “All Natural!” as if that makes it good for you. Things like lead and botulism are natural, too.
  • One container of “All natural!” yogurt had 10 grams of saturated fat. And plenty of good bacteria. The fat will give you a stomach ache but the bacteria will cure it.
  • Aisles and aisles full of wheat products. Would a feed lot full of cattle being fattened up for slaughter use this much grain?
  • There was a whole section of the store devoted to flavored (read: sugary) water, another whole section to junk food, half an aisle to ice cream, and almost half an aisle to candy (in the baby stuff aisle, of course). Shelf space devoted to oat bran: four inches.

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