Leslie and I were walking home with a hankering for the cold and creamy so we popped into the local drug store and grabbed a carton of vanilla. It looked good enough and was from a blue-lidded brand we knew so we bought it quick styles and came home for a perfectly healthy late night snack of waffles covered in maple syrup and ice cream.
Yes, that’s when we noticed our ice cream was a little … strange. It tasted like plastic. It didn’t melt. And it had the consistency of the foamy white stuff you spray into drafty holes in your attic.
A closer inspection of the carton made us realize this wasn’t even ice cream at all! Nope, it was “Frozen Dessert”, something so mutant we can only refer to it by its temperature and the time of day it can be consumed. It sounded sort of like some terrible meal pill from the future. “One-hot-break-fast-please,” the robot says to the holographic employee. “And-three-fro-zen-des-serts.”
It made us realize that maybe the days of milk, cream, and vanilla are slowly going away. Maybe we’re losing the ice-cream loving of yesterday in favor of oil-infused aspartame air that goes down cheap and doubles as bleach.
Well, to that I say for all the ways our food keeps changing, one thing remains a rare beauty in the grocery store are those one-word ingredient lists. Spot them like endangered snow owls when you spy them on bags of almonds (Ingredients: Almonds), packs of dried plums (Ingredients: Plums), or slapped on the side of orange juice cartons (Ingredients: Oranges.).
Because maybe injecting whey protein powder loaded with omega-stuffed vitamins is the way to eat your breakfast cereal.
Or maybe it’s time to go back to oatmeal.