Have you ever looked at the ingredients that go into a modern food product and thought 'I'm not eating that'?
I know that I'm supposed to be on a diet, but sometimes I drool with desire for a hint of a sniff of a nibble of chocolate.
What can I say? I'm a weak-willed man. Whilst wandering around the supermarket yesterday evening, I glanced at a shelf and saw a small box of "chocolate-covered biscuit sticks" with bits of almond embedded in the chocolate.
"Nuts like almonds are healthy for you," I explained to myself, "plus, these sticks are so thin that you probably burn more calories than they contain while raising them to your mouth," I rationalized to myself. So, furtively glancing around me, I surreptitiously slipped a pack into my shopping trolley, and then I sauntered toward the checkout trying to emulate the gait of a man who was not about to purchase some chocolate.
It has to be admitted that these little scamps were rather tasty. Once the last morsel had been dispatched on its way to my tummy, I idly glanced at the back of the box to peruse the list of ingredients. Good Grief! There were a lot of the little rascals. The entire list was as follows:
Wheat Flour, Sugar, Almond, Whole Milk Powder, Vegetable Oil (Illipe, Sal and Shea Butter, Canola, Palm and Sunflower Oil), Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Shortening (Palm and Coconut Oil, Hydrogenated Canola Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Emulsifier [Sucrose Fatty Acid Esters, Lecithin]), Wheat Protein, Emulsifier (Glycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Lecithin), Salt, Artificial Flavor, Yeast, Coloring (Annatto), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate).
Wow! Lecithin must be good because it's in there twice. Yum! Now I understand why they taste so good. To be honest, I'm surprised -- and not a little impressed -- that they manage to cram all of these ingredients into a large-toothpick-sized stick.
Underneath all of the above, just to make sure we're all dancing to the same set of drums, we are informed of the following:
Contains Milk, Wheat, Soybeans, Almonds and Coconuts.
I must be getting cleverer over time, because I actually understand what these words mean. To be honest, I sort of wish they'd led with this (to be really honest, sort of I wish they had ended with it also). Finally, right at the end, while one's brain is reeling in confusion and disbelief, we see the following:
Manufactured in a Facility that uses Eggs and Peanuts.
Hmmm, after seeing the list of ingredients, the fact that these tempting tidbits may have come into contact with an egg or a peanut seems a tad anticlimactic. This is not to say that I'm minimizing the effects of anaphylactic shock, you understand; it's just that I'm more than a tad concerned as to the effects things like "Sucrose Fatty Acid Esters" are having on my insides.
I'm also left wondering who on earth comes up with recipes like this. I can understand someone saying "we'll need some flour and other ingredients for the sticks themselves, plus some chocolate to dip them in and some crunched up almonds to roll them in," but how do we get from there to things like "Glycerol Esters of Fatty Acids"?
Have you ever looked at the ingredients that go into a modern food product and thought to yourself "There's no way that's going into my mouth"?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting