Peanut butter and focus groups

I watched SuperSize Me last night, which I highly recommend to anyone who has ever eaten fastfood or […]

I watched SuperSize Me last night, which I highly recommend to anyone who has ever eaten fastfood or plans to again. This explains my current state of mind.

Now I’m eating a celery stalk with peanut butter on it. I bought the peanut butter from Trader Joes, and when I opened it, it had a layer of oil on top, which the jar instructed me to stir back in. I have never seen this before, but I don’t think I’ve eaten peanut butter since my Jiff days either. I wondered about this creepy oil, so I looked at the ingredients list. It listed Dry Roasted Peanuts and Salt. So the oil was just peanut oil that had seperated from the “butter”.

I love it when the ingrediants list is shorter than war and peace and full of things I’ve actually heard of: peanuts. salt. And as I stirred in the (naturally occuring) peanut oil, I thought of focus groups.

I can just imagine peanut butter focus groups talking about the oil, and stirring and how they didn’t like the extra work …

well, I picture it like this:

Moderator (thinking of a new technology they have discovered): and the oil on top, that you stir in– do you like that?
User: It’s okay
Moderator: But what if you didn’t have to stir?
User: That’d be cool
Moderator (thinking): Fantastic! A user in favor for pentasodiathol 20!

… and then they put chemicals in the peanut-butter to keep it from separating. They don’t say, would you rather stir or would you rather have lab created extracts in your food. Oh no. They’ve got DATA!

Anyhow, Philippe and I have happily removed processed food from our diets (or as he likes to point out, I’ve removed process foods. He’s been organic for some time, though that does seem to include fattened duck liver. hmm)

And remember kids: don’t listen to the users.


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  1. 1

    I finally started paying attention to labels when we moved to Portland and more than half the grocery stores were of the better-for-you variety. I just couldn’t avoid it…fortunately it’s forced better eating habits upon me.

    Unfortunately many of the makers of good-for-you foods can’t help themselves from the same style of patronizing marketing themes that seem to do so well with packaged goods.

    Alas, maybe I’m just a brown-bag granola boy at heart.

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    In my case it was easier: I spontaneously removed every kind of meat from my diet a few years ago for the very simple reason whenever I started eating meat I felt as if I were about to vomit. Pretty strange since it never made that effect to me before.

    The happy consequence is that though I never succeeded before in having a level of cholesterol (or whatever the english spelling) below the maximum allowed, I now have a cholesterol level which is regularly below the maximum by a variety of dozen points.

    Butter should be eliminated downright, anyway. Cakes are fine but hey they put a lot of butter in them normally.

    Pasta and bread give amids, olive oil gives the lipids (forget butter!), tomateos, salads, fruit give vitamins, eggs (not too much red anyway: that’s pure cholesterol), soya, give the proteins. You can use as much spices as you prefer to dress all that. A good way is to use a little of olive oil and make it fry with spices before adding tomateoes or whatever. Rosemary, sage and the alike.
    If then you get occasionally some fish or a steak is ok, but remember that evenm one single amount of animal fat can have a significant impact on cholesterol.

    By the way I was once told by a doctor that without animal fat and a bit of that cholesterol, you could have unexpected consequences.
    You will find it is true the exact contrary – there is an impressive amount of oligoelements that we nearly never get in our diets simply because our diets are so much focused on meat and all that dressage they put in restaurants which is normally made with abundant usage of unnecessary butter or animal fat.
    And oligoelements _are_ extremely powerful stuff.

    Not that I have anything against animal fat: simply, I mean that we eat an amount of such fat which is so much beyond our daily needs, that the solution of eliminating it completely is at times not even sufficient to make persons understand that even that “reduced” daily amount they eat as a consequence of a diet is _still_ far too much.

    well, just my cents!

  3. 3

    Excuse me Christina, may I ask a question entirely unrelated with food? I was reading the link you provided about “don’t listen to the users.”

    There is a question I always wondered about. Maybe you have an answer, I dont’ know.

    I have been always an avid reader, so being used to books I am probably influenced.

    Yet there is one thing about websites I never understood: why nearly 99.99% of webmasters are apparently utterly unaware that you do can produce _justified_ texts?

    They invariably align on the left. Readability is not affected, but I wonder why such a simple thing, implemented by a mere [tag: div align=”justify” /tag], is never considered or sought for as a spontaneous “necessity”.

    Would you find acceptable reading a book whose margins are not smoothly aligned? Well, probably yes, yet you’d also find it sorta “cheap” probably.

    I am the first to undersdtand the internet is another medium (mistaking the computer for a television is precisely why we saw so much senseless flash animations online in the past years) – but why forsaking a legacy so affirmed and, let’s tell the truth, so nifty and easy to implement when on the net we also do what mankind has been doing for centuries: printing – with text which shold _ normally_ go justified.

    Really, 99.99% of websites seem to ignore this, mirthfully.

    Are you aware of any rationale behind this choice – if it is a choice?
    thank you in advance


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