Do you ever feel sorry for your brain? I do. Just think about all the worthless stuff you ponder that your brain has to process. Granted, if I was brilliant my brain would probably be thrilled to go deep on things like discovering the next best Covid vaccine but instead my prefrontal cortex just spent a good 15 minutes having to deal with me thinking about a box of waffle mix.
This is because the waffle mix lies. It states on the back of the box that one recipe makes seven waffles. This is a glaring falsehood because one recipe makes at most three waffles. It would take some sort of sorcery for the recipe to yield seven Belgium waffles. Or you would have to be using a mini waffle maker designed for Santa’s elves and nowhere on the box did it mention “for North Pole use only.”
I consider myself rather savvy about being able to spot fibs on food packaging. I know from (ahem) trial and error that some of the calorie counts and serving sizes that are listed are pure fiction.
For example, eating one Oreo is 53 calories. But who eats just one Oreo? The correct answer is almost no one. That’s because it’s nearly impossible to shove an Oreo in your mouth and be one and done.
If there was harsh truth in labeling an Oreo serving size would be listed as “at least six Oreos.” This means as you stand at your kitchen counter, wondering if you could actually devour an entire row of Oreos, you’ve already scarfed down at least 318 calories.
The worst offenders are candy bars where the serving size is listed as two. Excuse me but in the world that mere mortals reside in a regulation size candy bar is one serving.
If the manufacturer is going to insist on saying “two servings” it should be required to include a disclaimer. I’m thinking something like this: “Sure, we say two servings but that’s only for the most disciplined of humans who don’t really like sugar and consider chocolate vastly overrated.”
My label rage stems from the SnackWell cookie incident of 1993. I can actually remember the Los Angeles grocery store I was standing in (wearing some rather hideous acid wash jeans) when I saw my first box of fat free SnackWell cookies.
I thought that this was the answer to my prayers (or at least a prayer I’ve had since the sixth grade). A cookie with zero fat seemed like manna from heaven. It was as if I was given permission from a higher power to stuff myself with guilt free glee.
I immediately fell hard for the “Devils Food Cookie Cakes.” Honestly, they weren’t even that great but what the heck it was fat free so let the good times roll. A mere four months later I had gained 10 pounds.
I put all the blame on that freaking cookie that turned out to be a festival of carbs. (Carbohydrates I would like to point out weren’t the diet industry enemy in the early 90s. Hence, my stupidity.)
That traumatic sojourn to “pants don’t fit land” made me extremely label wary. To me a food nutrition label is like listening to an inebriated relative who’s known for their exaggerated stories. Somewhere in the midst of all the gobbledygook you can discern the briefest smidgen of facts.
Just recounting this story has upped my sympathy for my brain. This is what I’ve given it to work with – a SnackWell cookie repressed memory. Maybe I need to, at the very least, attempt a math word problem as a treat for my cerebral cortex. I wonder if I can solve something along the lines of X + Y = 3 waffles.