June 29, 2008


A small rant

I noticed some time ago that among the premium brands of ice cream that come in cylindrical cartons there is no longer such a thing as a half gallon. Even some of the off-brands have downsized the traditional rectangular carton somewhat, but the round ones are now exclusively 1.5 quarts - an astonishing pint less than the norm of my formative ice cream years. Add to that some reports that certain brands ahemBreyersahem add air to their product to boost the volume size, thereby decreasing their cost per unit, and the heinousness is a tough blow to the connossieur of true ice cream (and no time here to get into the use of whey in "frozen dairy desserts"). Folks with steel-plated willpower might notice that over time the inflated ice cream develops ice crystals and gets freezer burn much quicker. Can't say as I've had an opportunity to witness that heartbreaking development save in Albert Brooks' film Mother, whereby it worked just fine for Debbie Reynolds. I for one have taken to purchasing only half gallon containers on the now seldom occassions I buy ice cream. Blue Bell still makes 'em and for a damn fine, no air added product. Praline Pecan, mmmm.

And another thing that caught my eye just recently: Tropicana's "new improved pour spout" container is seven ounces less (more than one morning's glassful) than the old style at the same price. To me the new one is inferior because it's a snap-top as opposed to a screw-on top, making it more likely to spill whilst vigorously shaking one's Some Pulp orange juice for the prescribed time of 4.5 seconds. This conclusion assumes the non-existence of absent-minded spouses or roommates who might improperly replace the old style cap. Adding irk to ire is that to me, there is no OJ like Tropicana (not-from-concentrate), and I can't see buying any other brand despite my annoyance with their marketing quirk. Add to the list coffee - no longer a pound, but regularly sold in 13-ounce packages; cereal - brands vary widely, but almost all have been significantly downsized without a corresponding drop in price; sugar - standard bag size is four pounds not five as before. And when did a pint become 12 ounces? I've seen this with fruit in the supermarche, but even more aggravating is the American standard for a draft beer. Gotta give it to my mates across the pond for standing firm on this one.

Some may say that we Americans would do well to reduce our portion sizes and I would agree, but that has nothing to do with getting the most for your money (esp. in these sketchy economic times), unless you're in the habit of eating a half gallon of ice cream at one sitting.

As for the beer...

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I like ice cream. And pickles. I'm a simple sort.
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