#157 One-word ingredient lists

I had a bad ice cream experience on Saturday.

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.

Everything seemed fine until we dug in.

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.”

Yes, the name explained a lot as did the twenty-seven word ingredient list that read like what goes into making a tire.

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.

(Ingredients: Oats.)


Photos from: here and here

42 thoughts on “#157 One-word ingredient lists

  1. “…in favor of oil-infused aspartame air that goes down cheap and doubles as .”

    Ummm… Forgetting something, Neil?

    It’s okay – still getting the gist. Funny and awesome, as per usual! :)

  2. oh god yes, I made the mistake of buying “processed pizza topping” instead of shredded cheese. what that was I don’t even.

  3. Is vanilla on the actual list? Mate you are incredible. Look forward ti your posts here as a displaced Canadian in Australia.

    1. yay! – yet another person in australia! :)
      welcome welcome!
      hope your enjoying our wonderful country – where ever you may be right now! :D
      where abouts are you staying – syd, melbourne, perth?
      & how do you like it here ‘down under’

  4. High ten for that one, Neil. I tried to be the person who read the labels before I bought the food, but it was no use. I didn’t know what most of the ingredients were let alone pronounce some of them.

  5. Great post, Neil! Some say you should not eat anything that has more than 5 ingredients (that have more than 3 syllables each) that cannot be pronounced by a 3rd grader (or something along those lines). The ingredients shouldn’t be anything that you wouldn’t already have in your pantry or that your grandmother wouldn’t have eaten. Seems pretty simple when you think of it that way.

  6. Weep for us lactose-intolerants, because “frozen dessert” is as close as we can get to ice cream… But I still don’t eat it.
    I wish I could remember who to credit this saying to, (it might be Dr. Oz) but these are “edible food-like substances”. Technically, you can eat them, but you probably shouldn’t.
    One more note: wash your friuts and veggies well, kids. Maybe wash them twice. And then enjoy your one-ingredient snack!

    1. jdurley and other severely lactose intolerants : pls go to http://www.valio.com and read about the actual zero lactose dairy products that have been around for 10 years already! Here in Finland the selection includes not only milk and yogurts but also ice cream, not sure how wide variety is offered elsewhere.
      Here is a short copy/paste from their site :
      “The lactose free products, in particular, have been a great success because they really are lactose free. As a result, even people with the highest degree of lactose intolerance can enjoy the taste of fresh milk. In fact, many lactose intolerant customers have started drinking Valio’s lactose free milk drink so that they can taste the healthy goodness of milk again, something that they have missed from their diet for a long time. Since lactose free products taste as good as normal products, now one product can suit everyone, making life easier for everyone from households to food services.
      Lactose free by Valio and its subsidiaries
      Lactose free by Valio’s licensees
      South Korea (Maeil Dairies)
      Switzerland (Emmi)
      Spain (Kaiku)
      Norway (Tine)”

      1. WE have a family full of this too, so THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Alternatives aren’t near as tastey!
        You are kind to take the time:)

  7. In Canada, Chapmans ice cream is the best.
    Yes, we have got to get back to the garden and the one word ingredients, or like someone said, at least fewer and those can be pronounced.
    Has anybody read the list of consequences from aspertame or msg?! And these are in most things these days. Look out for the red dye under the guise of numbers and such as well. This is made from a potentially life-threatening red cactus beetle. For many, most of these things are a slow subtle process, but doing nasties nonetheless.
    If you have a computer, you can google this on 16×9. It’s crazy what is allowed in foodsand drugs!
    Eat an apple today.

  8. I like it even better when you have something and it’s listed as “Ingredient.” Canned Pumpkin, Ingredient: Pumpkin :)

      1. Hey! Those warnings are important. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve nearly died from eating a can of peanuts without realising it contains traces of peanuts…

      1. Yes this is true but then how to deal with the stringy strands of witches hair?
        Canned is delectabley perfect for pies and muffins!

        1. Not that I’ve ever had pumpkin pie (pumpkin is strictly a savoury vegetable in NZ), but I guess I’d put the pumpkin through blender or a potato ricer to deal with the witches’ hair (lol)? I dunno, I’ve never thought about it!

      2. And you could just buy an ear of corn, or dried beans, or a peach! It’s canned for convenience. :)

        Personally, I would much rather buy canned pumpkin than gut a fresh one because the smell of raw pumpkin completely grosses me out. I can’t carve pumpkins for Halloween because the smell makes me gag.

      1. Oh, you know, just checking in for my bit of sunshine during this overwhelmingly busy day/week =).

        And yes, I will weep for you lactose-intolerants =,(. I cannot imagine not having that comfort food.

  9. You’ve redeemed yourself for the post entitled, “Reading the Label and Eating It Anyway” … Amen to this one!

  10. Champans is one of the only ice creams I will eat, apart from presidents choice it’s also made by champans, that’s what I found out this summer from someone who worked there. They have so many choices

  11. I always wondered why they just don’t have a central list online of all food ingredients so people can just go to it and check what they are. I guess that idea is too crazy ha.

  12. Neil!!! i commented this awesome idea on one of your ‘best awesome idea gets posted days’ I believe I made the reference about me eating a bag of carrots in class and it said ingredients: carrots. Give me a shout out! You know you used my reference!!!

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