Why Can’t I Taste the Grapes? (or “Dude, What Happened to the Granola?”)

Born in New York in 1894, Granola quickly became popular. Its earthy ingredients and crunchy goodness gave consumers the wonderful feeling of doing something healthy for themselves, like performing jumping-jacks outside, or wearing a track suit. Soon Granola’s popularity grew. Active people and hippies lined up to eat it by the sack full. Seeing an opportunity to bring Granola to the masses, large food companies made a few small changes to the recipe by adding some honey, and lo, the Granola bar was born. Okay, it had a bit more sugar now, but consumers easily justified that by saying the honey makes Granola easier to eat while running and allows the bar to be carried conveniently in the pocket of a track suit.

In typical big-business fashion, cereal companies reasoned that if a little sweetness was good, more is better, and began adding little flakes of chocolate to the mix. Consumers reasoned that the excess calories gave them that extra kick at the finish line and besides, any extra weight incurred by the additional calories could easily be hidden by a loose fitting track suit. Again, the bar’s popularity grew.

Next, they added a delicious, sticky, marshmallow syrup to better hold the healthy chocolate bits to the now rather dry tasting oats. Then the oats were removed in favor of Rice Krispies, which went better with the sugar-coated coconut shavings and didn’t get stuck in the bottom of a track suit pocket. The little chocolate flakes were then replaced outright by M&Ms for still more of that finish-line kick, and caramel stripes made the healthy bars more marketable to children. To avoid overstating the milk chocolate taste, a dark chocolate was used to coat the bars.    

Finally, just to be sure that this healthy snack never went to waste, manufacturers added eleven different chemicals, most of which begin with the letter X, to give the product a shelf-life of millennia and prevent them from discoloring a track suit.

Were they finally perfected? No. They became Snickers by another name and it’s exactly what some argue is happening to many wines today. Excessive intervention during the wine making process and the over-the-top use of oak during aging has had the effect of throwing out all the grape’s natural qualities like they were dry oats. This week’s recommendation lets the grapes speak for themselves.

CC 2009, Chardonnay ($14.99): It’s as if a pear, a grapefruit, and a green apple had a love child. CC is also great with mild cheese…and a track suit.   

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2 Responses to Why Can’t I Taste the Grapes? (or “Dude, What Happened to the Granola?”)

  1. mikeS says:

    I think this is my favorite column of all time…three kids, you’re spot on my friend. Are you sure you don’t have any kids of your own? Your insight is uncanny.

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