Sunday, November 29, 2009

Elated about Elevation Burger

So, that bunless burger i had because I erroneously believed the buns at Elevation Burger contained HFCS just didn't cut it.  I went back on Saturday to try the real thing.  The Elevation Cheeseburger on the Schmidt's potato bread hamburger bun really is worth writing about.  The high quality ingredients make a real difference in the taste.

I'd love to try the "Elevation Sauce," but without knowing the ingredients, i hesitate.  (After the issue with In-N-Out's special sauce, i am pretty cautious.)

The fries at Elevation Burger are also worthy of praise.  They use fresh cut potatoes (so none of that gluten/wheat potato mix that is so common at burger chains), the cook them in olive oil, and use nothing frozen.  I think they even fry them up fresh for each order?

(Photo source)

On a side note, while at the grocery store recently i looked at the package for Schmidt's buns and the ingredient list had indeed been updated and no longer lists HFCS.

Woo hoo!!!!

("About us" source)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Costco and Coca-Cola

"At present we are not carrying Coke products because we cannot provide the value our customers deserve."
That statement is on signs posted in Costco stores in the section where customers normally find Coke products.  Costco is not pulling Coke products from the shelves, but they state that they will not restock until they come to a resolution.  Coca-Cola is being portrayed in a rather unpleasant light as being greedy and profit-driven, while Costco can claim it is looking out for customers in hard economic times by trying to offer products at good prices.

Costco stops carrying Coke products 
Costco nixes Coke products over pricing dispute

Costco stops carrying Coke; Mexican Coca-Cola source, gone!
Costco Won't Restock Coke Due To Pricing Dispute

Photo source: May 28, 2008 file photo (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Since Costco was one of the only sources for most Americans to get Mexican Coke (containing sugar as opposed to HFCS, which is the top ingredient in US Coke), there's some sadness in this story for the HFCS-free community. (Source for below photo)

Karo and HFCS

In November 2008, Karo introduced Lite Light Corn Syrup, a product that differed from the standard Light Corn syrup in that it not only had fewer calories, but also did not contain HFCS.  The decision, according to the few press releases I located, was due to the public's growing concern with high fructose corn syrup.   (source)

This was good news for people who for whatever reason try to avoid HFCS.  I distinctly recall looking sadly at Karo Light Corn Syrup bottles and seeing the HFCS and not knowing if i could use Dark Corn Syrup (which never contained HFCS) and stil get the same result from the recipe.

Well, I have tried to find out when, but all i can say is: Some time since late 2008, Karo has reformulated their standard Light Corn Syrup; it no longer contains HFCS!

Using cached versions of their old site I found the ingredient listing, which I compared with the new listing on their site:



As far as victories go, this may seem like a small one.  But all i can say is: my thanks to Karo for creating HFCS-free options for its customers. 

Baking cookies and baked goods this holiday season will be an experience that for me will be just a little sweeter....

Monday, November 23, 2009

At Elevation Burger, "Ingredients Matter" (revised)

Rather than just edit my previous post and rather than just being satisfied with leaving a comment in reply....

Elevation Burgers, in addition to having high quality beef, top notch quality toppings, terrific fries, etc., also has HFCS-free buns!

Yum....  ok, so now i need to go back and get the bun and have the full experience....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Ingredients Matter"

Elevation Burger is a burger chain (mostly in the North East, but also in Florida and soon Texas, too) that prides itself on quality ingredients, emphasizing the organic beef, free of chemicals and antibiotics.  They even state that their beef is the "cleanest and safest" available to consumers.

Truly, they are good.  Based on our dining experience just now, they would certainly rank among the best on the East Coast.  They have a wide range of toppings, use real cheddar cheese, and offer a number of different ways to put the burger together.  Interestingly, they offer a lettuce wrap for customers who want to avoid bread intake.

Well, i love bread.  I mean, i absolutely adore bread.  So why did i choose the lettuce wrap?  Well, i guess i should congratulate the wait staff for actually knowing the answer to my pesky little question:

Do the buns contain high fructose corn syrup?

The answer is: Yes, Elevation Burger buns do contain HFCS.

They care about the fries are cooked, the specifics about the beef are taken very seriously.  But when it comes to their buns, sadly, Elevation Burgers doesn't rise above the crowd.  (sorry, i couldn't resist.)

If they really took their slogan seriously, they wouldn't have used crap quality buns containing HFCS.  They imply their high quality ingredients rival all others.  But In-N-Out, for example, doesn't use buns with HFCS; there's a fresh baked bun for every burger.  Their shakes and special sauce may have HFCS, but the buns are truly top class.

(Slogan/web capture source)

Elevation burger, why do you house your top rate, organic beef in crap quality buns?

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Premium Quality" High Fructose Corn Syrup???

"Let Progresso inspire your passion for the art of Italian cooking. The rich flavors of our premium quality ingredients add an authentic Italian touch to your favorite recipes."

Um yeah.  Why didn't i think to read the ingredients before purchasing this item?  momentary lapse of reason? jet lag? (wait... there was no time difference in Bogota...) just because i am sometimes ditzy and really stupid? or could it be that i had no reason to think HFCS would be a primary ingredient in this product?
So yeah... HFCS is one of those "premium quality ingredients" in this fine Progresso product.

Free to the first person who posts a comment and sends enough money to cover postage charges...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Movie Review: King Corn

King Corn is a documentary film released in 2007 that looks at the role of corn both as North America's primary food staple, as well as North America's most beloved crop. (photo credit; film website).  The film centers on Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, two friends who move to a small farming community in Iowa, where they plant an acre of corn and experience the joys of being farmers.In the process of becoming farmers, Cheney and Ellis discover the wonders of government assistance to farmers; the severe cold of Iowa winters; the incredible overproduction that is encouraged thanks to Earl Butz; the findings of Michael Pollan; as well as some lovely facts about "corn-fed" cattle; and how human hair can mirror the composition of one's diet.  There are some highly disturbing scenes; some content may seriously make you reconsider the choices you make with respect to your diet. Oh, i almost forgot: Audra Erickson, Patron Saint of HFCS, is also featured prominently in this film. She earnestly and fervently promotes HFCS in interviews conducted with Cheney and Ellis. (sorry, i can't help it.... she seems positively stepford...)
The film is both funny and quirky; it is somewhat languid at times, but that is somehow appropriate.  Unlike some of the other documentaries coming out these days, King Corn is less diatribe and more exploratory. It is a thought-provoking and even disturbing look at the centrality of corn in the U.S.

HFCS: World Domination?

On a recent work trip to Bogota, Colombia, I caught a glimpse of a symbolic representation of corn that would have an eerie significance for my travels.  (please note, the above image was actually taken in Atlanta's airport as i awaited my connecting flight to Bogota.)

In perusing grocery store (or is it super market?) aisles in two Bogota chains, i was surprised to find what appeared to be HFCS in several items.  Ok, so it wasn't so surprising that Smuckers products contained HFCS ("it's got to be good," right? the ingredient listed was Jarabe de maĆ­z alto en fructosa,) but there were other items, not all imported, with Glucosa de Maiz, etc.  Is Glucosa de Maiz HFCS?  Not sure, but it's pretty clear that Jarabe de blah blah is.  Why was i surprised?  With earlier reporting on Mexico and the widespeared rejection of HFCS in Mexican Coca Cola, as well as some comments made by people i met about the fact that Bogota's locals wouldn't abide by unnatural chemical sweetener crap, i just assumed the products would be safe (i.e. not contain HFCS.)  With the exception of Isoglucose in the UK, i typically assume that when i am traveling outside the US items are safe unless imported (from the US, of course).  Now i see that it's not so simple.

When i was on travel in other countries it was always such a wonderful experience of freedom NOT to have to stare at labels before knowing a given item wouldn't make me sick.  Whereas in the US, i have to scrutinize labels and ask at restaurants about ingredients, in other countries, i could eat with abandon!  Sadly, that is no longer the case, apparently.

In closing, the Coca Cola in Bogota was HFCS free and also quite tasty (the first ingredient listed below is carbonated water, followed by Azucar... nice, simple, and straight forward sugar!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And now for a little levity: Jason's Deli

This YouTube clip might have escaped my notice if i hadn't seen it on a blog; so my thanks to John Biggs, who not only posted this clip, but also broke the unbelievable news about the astonishing link between HFCS and anal cancer (it's true and he needs no scientific studies to prove it!  but he wrote in all caps so it's gotta be true). 

On a side note, Jason's Deli is such an awesome place.