Friday 12 April 2019

Don't eat this ADS home kids

Monday was GLORIOUS [well, not actually hosing down with rain] and I had wrapped up my Monday classes with exams the previous week, so I headed off for the Waterford coast to make the divil-a-lot of noise mowing grass and then having tea with Pat the Salt.  Because it was there after a visit over the weekend, I was offered cake! More to the point I was offered choice-of-cake in the form of Ryan's of Tipperary "We're not such a long way - Away" 50/50 Gateau. This peculiar confection is two half-cakes with slightly different ingredients and quite different colours "Chocolate" vs "Vanilla". I've no idea what it costs but I fear that you're getting less of it than a while ago. Googling gets a number of hits from garages and convenience stores across the Republic, from one of which I have clipped the picture [R]. Those website are claiming 700g but the sticker on Monday's cake says 600g. This is likely a retail finagle: the 'price-point' has to be maintained or sales will collapse; but the supplier / bakery has significantly higher costs. They square this circle by making smaller cakes for the same price. The wholesale price of cocoa increased 50% in 2018. The list of ingredients gets no shorter, though! What you see on the lid is only part of the list because the label continues down the side of the plastic packaging:

Ingredients: Sugar, Vlargarine [Vegetable oils (Palm oil, Rapeseed oil), water, salt, emulsifiers (mono & diglycerides of fatty acids, polyethylene sorbitan monostearate), acidity regulator: citric acid, Vitamin E, flavouring, Colour: beta carotene), WHEAT flour (with calcium, iron, niacin, thiamine), modified starch (Maize), Vegetable Oil (Rape), Whey solids (MILK), Raising agents: (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifiers (propane-1,2-diol esters of fatty acids), WHEAT gluten, Whole EGG powder, Vegetable Oil (Rapeseed), WHEAT starch, vegetable Oil (Palm/Shea), Fat reduced cocoa powder, emulsifier: rapeseed lecithin, Glazing agent: gum Arabic, Shellac, Whole hen EGG, SOYA flour, skimmed MILK powder, maize starch, humectant (glycerol), icing sugar (sugar, potato starch), Unhydrogenated vegetable fat, water, colour: (allura red AC, quinoline yellow, indigotine, sunset yellow FCF, carmosine, ponceau red R4, Black PN), Preservative: potassium sorbate, raising agent sodium dihydrogen carbonate, monocalcium phosphate. 

Sunset yellow, quinoline yellow, carmosine, allura red AC, ponceau R4 may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children

Produced in a factory where nuts are present. 

Allergy advice 
see highlighted ingredients. 

I've deliberately left the print small, as it is on the packing. If the font was easily readable by pensioners, you wouldn't be able to see the goddam cake. There are 50+ ingredients in the list - depending on how many times you wish to count WHEAT - that seems a long way from food or even food-like products. Notes and queries:
  • How can you print the red warning about colour-triggers for ADS / ADHD in children on a cake and not question if the whole enterprise needs re-thinking? 
  • What is shea oil you ask?
    • A viscous glyceride abstracted from the nuts of a West African tree Vitellaria paradoxa. It is used as both a cosmetic and food. It is a cheaper substitute for cocoa butter although the taste is quite different its engineering properties are similar.
  • Vlargarine must be Margarine but the print on the label is so cheap the first letter is corrupted.
  • It is ominous that water is so high up the list in any cake. When I make cake I don't add any water. But water is free - it falls from the sky - and weighs 1g / cc so is an effective way of bulking out food-like products to save money.
  • Shellac! I have painted shellac on furniture. What's next? boot-polish in the 'chocolate' icing??
But perhaps the most ominous information on the label is Best Before 14 May 2019 - that's six weeks away! If it can survive on the shelf or in the pantry for that long, it's because no microbes can make in-roads. If shelf and cough microbes can't digest the stuff, then my intestinal flora is going to choke on it too. It is looking less and less like food.

Here's an antidote: Kouign-amann is a Breton indulgence [transl: im cĂ­ste | cake butter] that has only three ingredients: bread-dough, butter 30%, sugar 30%. Why bother with another 50 additives?

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