The Good Old Days
Essay by Wilma
old days may not have been as good as claimed but they most certainly were
simpler. Take cream for instance. I remember cream as either coffee or
whipping cream and the top cream of milk which my Dad used in his coffee. Cream
according to my memory, and supported by a 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking, is
that fatty part of whole milk which rises to the surface on standing. The
longer it stands, the richer it gets, with coffee cream being about 18% to 20%
butterfat, light whipping cream 32% and heavy whipping cream 40%.
Recently I have found cream an ordeal to whip, taking as much as
ten to fifteen minutes to reach a wimpy consistency. I wonder if my memory or
my mixer are faulty as I remember in the past having to be careful not to over
beat the cream into butter.
complain to my friend, Jacque, she asks me if I have read the list of
ingredients. The list of ingredients? What list? Can one item, cream, be
considered a list? Being concerned that the butterfat content wasn’t what it
should be, I had tried to check it but to no avail. All I found was the
percentage of the adult daily recommended amount each serving provided, which I
found most unhelpful. But nothing about the total percentage of butterfat.
According to Jacque, however, skim milk is sometimes added. I am stunned. If
skin milk is added is it still cream?
This I must
investigate, so off to QFC I go. And sure enough the half pint of QFC whipping
cream has a list of ingredients; cream, skim milk, carrageenan, dextrose, mono
diglycerides, and polysorbate 80. The pint of Darigold, no half pint is
available, also has all the above ingredients listed except for the skim milk.
It is more expensive but buy it I do and later discover it whips up like a
dream, quickly and firmly. One mystery solved. The other, what are all the
other unpronounceable ingredients?
I passed on
this new information to Delores and again learn something new. According to her
the half pints add skim milk, the pints do not. I am now off to the Greenwood
market for more research.
Here I find
three brands, only the Organic have both half and full pints. Darigold with a
whipping and heavy whipping cream, is only in pints and has only the
unpronounceables added. Western in half pints, has skim milk added as well as
the unpronounceables, and Organic is just plain old fashioned cream with no list
of ingredients. None have the percentage of butterfat listed, however.
Back to the
research. What are the unpronounceables? What are these strange items being
added to whipping cream? Thank goodness for Google. Here I learn that
carrageenan is a thickening agent made from red seaweed by using a powerful
alkali solvent and is a questionable safe additive, that dextrose is glucose or
sugar, and mono diglycerides are emulsifiers as is polysorbate 80. Do I really
want all these things added to my cream when good old fashioned cream will do
the job? I don’t think so. From now on it’s the organic for me.
talking to Delores earlier, she told of Darrell’s trip to the grocery store for
half and half for his coffee and coming home with a carton of it identified as
fat free. This boggles the mind. What is it half and half of? Should such
creams be spelled differently as the artificial crab is by changing the “c” in
cream to a “k”?
isn’t simple any more. Producers of our food products slip in these strange
ingredients in place of the real thing, put less food in the same size container
to fool us but keeping the same price, of course, and do all kinds of strange
things to our fresh produce to make it look good while making it less tasty,
however. On the other hand, we have resources such as Google to check up on
them. I guess it is up to us to do so.
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