Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Everything is sweet, these days. And that's not a good thing.

Breads. Sauces. Beans. Pizzas. Any pre-packaged food you look at, these days, it seems to have corn sweetener in it. Sometimes it's just stupid-- who the hell wants corn syrup in their picante salsa?!?

Part of the issue is that sugar is a preservative. It's a joke how many foods have "No Preservatives" on the packaging, but the top ten ingredients will note corn syrups, salt, and modified fats, the likes of which Mother Nature never heard of.

The other part seems to be that, in small doses, sweeter foods seem to taste better. "Well what's wrong with that?" you might ask. Hear me out.

As a poor kid in college, I used to occasionally run down to the food labs at the local university, where they would give you three slightly different versions of chips, crackers, juice, or whatnot, and I would taste them and rate different qualities about them ("Crispiness?" "Tangyness?") from 1 to 10. The samples were usually about the size of a souffle cup, such as what you would get some ketchup in to dunk your french fries when dining in at a fast food joint. They were mighty small. And here's the thing-- food tastes different in smaller servings. Think about the old "Pepsi Challenge." Ever take it? I did, several times. I consistently picked the PepsiCola, even though I personally preferred Coca Cola as a drink. The secret was in the serving size-- it was about 1 oz. The Pepsi was sweeter. In a tiny dose, it was better.

But who eats that way? A quarter ounce of Cheetos. A jigger of cola. I don't, and I don't care if you're Kate frickin' Moss-- you don't either.

As I get older, food just plain tastes too sweet, anyway. I don't need more sweetening in it. Not to mention, why are we packing my food full of simple sugars that don't do my waistline or my friends and family with diabetes any damned good?

So when I read Tamara's jeer on how government subsidies on corn may be messing up the market, my first thought was "at least if they're putting it in my gas tank, they're not putting it in my food." (Or my beer. Do you have any idea how few American beers actually use barley malt, these days?)

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At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 6:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Research indicates that high-fructose corn syrup is a bad bad thing--it doesn't trigger the digestive hormones in your body correctly (glucogon, insulin, a bunch of "ases"). Problem is most of the research is funded by anti-HFCS groups so it's kinda hard to accept it as totally unbiased. Interestingly, HFCS is cheaper (probably due, in part, to subsidies etc to corn growers) than cane or beet sugar, but it actually takes more of it to reach the same sweetness.

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 6:25:00 PM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

One of the methods I use to judge prepackaged spaghetti sauce before actually buying and tasting it is to see if sweeteners are in the top ingredients. If they are down low on the list, or entirely absent, there's a better than average chance that the sauce will taste like something decent.

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 7:35:00 PM, Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

All the more reason to drink better beer! I'm not gonna hate on ALL domestic beers, mind you. Sammy makes a couple of zingers.

German beer (purity law beer) is righteous stuff, and Belgian beer just tastes right for all the right reasons. But I digress...

Maybe it's me, too. I used to love going to Micky-D's (or other fast-foodery) every once in a while, but these days that crap makes me sick. Not indigestion sick, I mean the stuff is flat nasty.

GOD growing up sucks...

feeling older every day tweaker

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 8:54:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I've actually got a rough blog in the can on beer, including a mention of Reinheitsgebot.

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 9:57:00 PM, Blogger none said...

pasta, pizza sauces and salad dresings are the worst. I don't want my penne with marinara and my greek salad to taste like it came from a candy store...

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

As long as they spare me a couple of bushels of Silver Queen every summer they can put the corn anywhere else they want. Prepackaged food is bad for you and nutritionally empty, period.

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:44:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Hammer hit it, with the salad dressing. Blech.

And why is it that anything that is listed as "Low Fat" has to be "High Corn Syrup"?

It's almost impossible to get a hamburger at most joints with real mayonaise-- you get that Miracle Whip crap.

Have you had potato salad foisted upon you with that sweet dressing in it? Blech.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 7:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do love corn. Corn on the cob, kernel corn, creamed, corn meal for breading, pudding, corn bread, grits, hominy, posole, tortillas de maiz, Fritos, Doritos, Corn Nuts, flaked as breakfast cereal, corn whiskey - - most any way. Even, when indicated, corn syrup for sweetening. Some of the finest desserts are frankly based upon Dark Karo -- but I have limited patience for any product made with "hidden" corn sweeteners.

When I prepare hamburgers at home, I generally use mayonnaise on one side of the bun. When I buy one at any retail establishment, though, I order mustard, to avoid that "salad dressing" stuff.

Same way with commercially prepared potato salad in bulk cartons. If bought at a deli where I know the management uses mayo, it's probably fine. Otherwise, even the pale yellowish potato salad likely has a LOT of HFCS in it.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 7:42:00 AM, Blogger Todd said...

The pervasive use of corn as an additive in addition to the traditional use as feed and now increased export is driving food prices through the roof. Kind of argues against the use of corn to produce ethanol fuels...

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:28:00 AM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Well, on the beers, it's vastly preferable to drink the Germans and Belgians, in my opinion. There's a pub I like in Dallas that always has at least one Trappist ale on draught, and when I'm really lucky, they'll have a Trippel. Good, good stuff.

I don't understand why people are satisfied drinking the stuff that should have been left in the horse.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that baking potatoes taste sweeter nowdays? I want them to taste like the ones I picked up out of the field years and years and .... ago

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 10:40:00 AM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

Everything IS too damn sweet. Even (especially?) desserts.

And what the hell is up with putting sweetener in my corn bread? That's not corn bread, that's corn-flavored cake. Abomination!

I do like Miracle Whip on sandwiches, though.

Personally, I'm on a vendetta against soy. Try finding foods with no soy in them.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 10:53:00 AM, Blogger knitalot3 said...

My favorite is that they want to take all the soda out of the machines and replace it with juice in the schools.

Did they READ the first ingredient on the "juice" label?!? High Fructose Corn Syrup! and somewhere it says "contains less than 10% fruit juice". Yeah, way better than that nasty soda stuff, especially diet. Or "flavored milk" that's a much better one for the kiddies.... NOT!

Have you thought of making your own beer? My DH makes some pretty good stuff and he knows exactly what he puts in it.

And then there's the salt in everything argument..... for another day.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 11:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corn isn't a viable source of ethanol anyway. I did research on it for an industrial engineering course a few years ago, and it would take 100% planting of an area the equivalent of Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, , Louisiana and Mississippi put together. And thats just raw acerage, not accounting for any non-plantable terrain (mountains, bogs, rivers, lakes) or infrastructure (homes, streets, support systems, etc).

Stuff like prarie switchgrass, which has a much higher glucose content could be viable, but it doesn't have the multitasking benefit (feed/grain) that corn does.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:51:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

John, you're against soy?

But... it's a tasty bean! :)

And it has healthful benifits!

And it adds protien with minimal cholesterol!

And it makes your nipples tender...


Heh. Seriously, I used to be down against soy, but as long as we're not trying to make soy be something it's not (e.g.: "Tofurkey"), then I can handle soy. Some soy stuff is actually pretty damned good. ("Silk", steamed beans with salt, fried tofu with rice...)

That brings to mind my thought about corn-- we can't seem to decide if it's a vegetable (steamed on the cob or on the plate), a grain (meal for bread and crusts), a drink, an additive, a raw material for fuel, a dry snack, a cattle feed, a fertilizer... or what.

Strange. What else could be used so variously? It's a fascinating plant, this derivative of maize. Now let's get most of its syrup out of my food.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 2:02:00 PM, Blogger Caleb said...

Technically, it's a grain. And I for one <3 the corn industry; but mostly because my wife's family are farmers.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 3:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Vanilla Soy Milk makes one hell of a white russian.. ;)

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 5:38:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Jason, it also makes good ice coffee, and is good in a smoothee. It ain't milk, and don't try to foist it off as genuine cow sqeezin's to me, but if you'll up and admit that it's somehow derived from a nutritious little green been grown in the MidWest, I'll prol'ly like it.

Have I not made clear, by the way, that I LOVE corn, in almost all its creations?

Corn pone. Chowder. Corn bread. Johnny cake (which is not cornbread, but some folks seem to think so). Hominey. Corn tortillas. Popcorn. Polenta. Grits. Corn on the cob, raw or overcooked. Corn chips. Candy corn. (Yes, yes, I know, I know...) Corny dogs. Corn batter on just about anything. Corn flakes crispy fresh with ice cold milk. Sucatash. Heck, I even like Shiner Bock, which is largely a corn-based beer. I'm missing a bunch, but you get the picture.

It's not just that I kind of allow it to be in my diet-- I embrace the stuff. But corn syrups getting too profligate.

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 5:39:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Er, that would be "bean."

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 9:00:00 PM, Blogger Sabra said...

I avoid soy because I need to not have the estrogenic effects it's known for. I'm firmly on the anti-soy side, actually, though fermented soy products seem to be OK (stuff like tofu, soy sauce, & natto).

As far as HFCS, I decry its prevalence as well. It's much harder than it should be to find simple tomato sauce without it. Oddly, the cheapest stuff seems to be the purest--Hunts & Hill Country Fare are both HFCS-free.

Once upon a time my husband dumped a whole cup of Splenda in the spaghetti sauce he made; apparently his mother used to sweeten hers with sugar (she's a diabetic).

At Thursday, July 19, 2007 8:41:00 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

Yep. Males in the US are becoming less fertile. It is known that this is partially the result of all the female birth controls which are hormones- which get in the water, and unlike chemicals, are not filtered out. (Saw this on the Discovery Channel, IIRC, the last time Byron had his eyes operated on.)

I believe the additional estrogen-like effects of soy products are contributing to this.

My understanding corresponds to Bellalinda's, in that fermented soy
products like miso are okay.

And I love corn, by the way.

At Friday, July 20, 2007 12:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spent a few weeks last year in NZ - they use sugar in their sodas! Tasted great. You can still get Dr. Pepper with sugar from the original bottling plant. But it is expensive. Saw an article recently that says Coke is selling sugar sweetened soda in limited areas. And Coke [and Pepsi?] sells sugar sweetened soda during certain Jewish high holy days. [And would someone help me out on the latter, please!] OldeForce

At Friday, July 20, 2007 3:40:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Yeah, I've made the pilgrimage down to Dublin.

Funny thing, though-- they only sell it there-- they don't actually make much of any soda there. They have an old bottling machine from the 30's there and will bottle up Dr. Pepper there for you (for a pretty penny) if you bring them the old bottles. They don't can the soda, though. That's done in Waco, then trucked in to Dublin to be "blessed" by passing through their plant warehouse, so that it may be called "Dublin Dr. Pepper."


I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about with regard to sugar Coke on high holy days, though, OldeForce.

At Friday, July 27, 2007 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Miranda5 said...

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread (around Easter) you can get Coca-Cola made with real sugar.

To keep kosher during the festival observant Jews will not consume any grain products, because of the law to refrain from eating yeast. Just to be on the safe side, they include corn, too, which eliminates Coca-Cola and other soft drinks if they are made with HFCS.

At Friday, July 27, 2007 1:01:00 PM, Blogger Miranda5 said...

An Addendum: They don't avoid ALL grain products, they just avoid leavened ones. But what constitutes leavened is a sticky subject, so they will only purchase products that say "Kosher for Passover".


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