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real vs. fake foods

There are fraudulent fakes, and there are unfeigned fakes. The latter, people come across often and consume willingly.

I am collecting examples of real vs. fake foods.

-maple syrup vs. sugar syrup
-chocolate vs. fake chocolate made with vegetable fat and no cocoa butter
-crab meat vs. pollock surimi, a.k.a. imitation crab meat
-cheese vs. low-protein imitation cheese slices
-ice cream made with real cream vs. ice cream made with hydrogenated vegetable oil
-sugar vs. sugar substitute
-fruit juice vs. fruit juice substitute
-wasabi vs. horseradish with green food coloring, a.k.a. the green glop you find in most Japanese restaurants
-naturally fermented or brewed soy sauce vs. synthetic soy sauce made with acid hydrolysis method, possibly carcinogenic (*note to Muslims - synthetic soy sauce is halal, but natural soy sauce may be haram due to minimal alcohol content, or at least mushbooh.)

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  1. I thought guacamole made from avocados vs. the stuff you find in the tub in the store, but apparently there are a lot of people thought the latter was the real thing.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sunshinedrop

      What's the gross store glop made out of? Around here it's still avocado but it's been run through a food processor. Ew.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        there was recently an article about this in the la times. the kraft "guacamole" is really just made of oil and green food coloring (gross!). the false labeling prompted a law suit.

        http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi...

        1. re: dtud

          That's one of the most disgusting things I've read in a long time... thank God I live near a Mexican market where avocadoes are 4 for a dollar!

    2. butter vs margarine
      whipped cream vs nondairy whipped topping

      9 Replies
      1. re: momjamin

        margarine is just what it says it is

        1. re: amkirkland

          Amkirkland, Just as a trivia note, margarine is the one "food" that cockroaches will not eat.

          1. re: Walters

            Oh, I believe it, and wouldn't touch it for any reason

          2. re: amkirkland

            Ever notice the anagramic similaties between the words "margarine" and "migraine"? The the idea of fake foods gives me a headache! :-)

          3. re: momjamin

            >>> butter vs margarine

            Geez, I was to brag about hearing of, "Oleo" as a youth, till I looked how far back it was dated. Margarine (aka-"oleo") dates w-w-a-a-y-y back to 1813! All these years I was under the impression it was a related to the World War II thing.

            Couldn't the Heintz fella stick with Ketchup? ;-)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarine

            1. re: RShea78

              No no no - that's 'Heinz'. I only take issue with it because as a 'Heintz' we get called 'Heinz' constantly and then people make ketchup jokes. The guy may be dead but I'm sure he would hate the ketchup jokes too and say through gritted teeth, "I'm HeinTZ - I don't do ketchup"

              1. re: krissywats

                Umm, didn't you see the wink?

                I was not expected to be taken serious.

                1. re: RShea78

                  lol - I wasn't taking you seriously. Just as 'winky' with mine. often hard to tell here.

                  1. re: krissywats

                    Ah! Communications error! <double wink>

            1. re: Atlantis

              how are those two even comparable? tofu isn't a fake hotdog, it's real tofu.

              assuming you mean hotdogs vs. veggie hotdogs, the latter are usually made with soy protein, not actual tofu.

              1. re: piccola

                Thanks for reminding me about hamburgers v. veggieburgers.

                1. re: Atlantis

                  again, though, there's a difference between veggieburgers (ie, patties made of veggies) and fake hamburgers. a lot of veggieburgers aren't meant to imitate/replace meat, they're meant to be veggieburgers - kind of like salmon burgers or chicken burgers.

                  1. re: piccola

                    Thanks for reminding me again - real bacon v. that textured soy protein crap.

                    1. re: Atlantis

                      this i actually agree with. bacos suck.

                      1. re: piccola

                        And the "vegetarian bacon" they sell in health-food stores -- eccccch, it would have been tastier to fry the box.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          My mom's a vegetarian and loves that "bacon." As I mentioned in another thread somewhere, my step-father said it tastes like salty cardboard. She's been a veg so long, though, it's bacon to her!

              2. re: Atlantis

                I have to say that Tofu Pups are much closer to real food than a hot dog is. As a matter of fact tofu pup is REAL food. Is there anywhere that we are defining real food other than just listing examples (unprocessed, whole foods by themselves or mixed with other unprocessed, whole foods to create something edible.)

                1. re: eatlocally

                  A Tofu Pup looks less like a soybean than a hot dog looks like the beef or pork products that were ground up to make it.
                  How come they're not green?

              3. I don't know what you mean by "sugar syrup."
                If you are referring to cane syrup, it is every bit as "real" as maple syrup both being natural derivatives of plants. (Simple syrup, made by boiling granulated sugar with water, is a different matter.)
                When people give me maple syrup, I re-gift it to Yankee friends who are happy to receive it. I prefer cane syrup which I find to have a fuller, richer flavor. Of course, that's what I grew up with. It's sits on my shelf with the Tabasco, file powder, dark roast coffee and chicory and other "real" products that add spice to my life.
                Chacun a son gout.

                20 Replies
                1. re: MakingSense

                  I think the OP means something like Log Cabin when he mentions "sugar syrup." When I was a kid, Log Cabin WAS maple syrup; now it's not.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    ...or maybe the OP meant 'corn syrup' like Karo which is HFCS and manufactured as opposed to natural.

                    MakingSense - have you tried all grades of maple syrup? out of curiosity...

                    1. re: krissywats

                      I've been given and purchased top quality maple syrup. I keep it on hand for guests. Lovely, but to my taste, lacking, in depth and nuance. Probably the same reason why I use demerrara sugar in my coffee.
                      I don't buy Aunt Jemima or "pancake syrups." I do use Karo, both light and dark, for cooking. Dark Karo does not include HFCS. Neither maple nor cane syrup would be a substitute for these as anti-crystalization agents.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Try Grade B maple if you've never had it. Has a depth and intensity that is lacking in A and premium syrups, which to me just taste sweet.

                        1. re: ghbrooklyn

                          Which was going to be my point. I love the B so much better than the A.

                          1. re: ghbrooklyn

                            Is Grade B maple supposed to taste metallic? The one time I tried it (from Trader Joe), the metallic taste was overpowering.

                            1. re: Steve Green

                              Hmmm - doesn't sound right to me. I've never noticed metallic with mine but I often cook with it and that might make a difference. Maybe someone else has noticed that?

                              1. re: Steve Green

                                TJ's isn't the best example of Grade B maple syrup.

                            2. re: MakingSense

                              for clarification, you're advocating neither "maple" syrup nor maple syrup. I would always rather real maple over the fake, but dark karo, molasses or honey provide far more flavor per calorie.

                              1. re: amkirkland

                                I think this started due to the imprecision of the OP who stated "maple syrup vs sugar syrup." The OP might have intended to say "pancake syrups," as there are many types of syrups, including cane syrups which are just as natural as maple syrup and hardly fake.
                                Obviously, many people are offended that Log Cabin, etc. are no longer pure maple syrup which they apparently once were. I don't know as it is not a brand widely used in South Louisiana. There are other regional variations as well in which non-maple syrups were used and they were certainly as real as maple syrup.

                                1. re: amkirkland

                                  Ugh - sorry - KAro is nasty. Molasses I get but Karo is just HFCS, chemical laden manufactured yuck.

                                  Otherwise honey vs. molasses vs. maple - that's just personal taste. This supertaster would never say that grade b maple has less depth than the others - but that's just how my tastebuds work. To each yadda yadda.

                                  1. re: krissywats

                                    Dark Karo does NOT contain HFCS. Light Karo does. Please read the labels. The only reason to use the stuff at all is as an anti-crystalization agent in some recipes. Karo does make a pancake syrup I believe but I would prefer not to think about it. That may be what you are talking about. Corn syrup is glucose made from corn, not natural sucrose like cane syrup or maple syrup, or even natural fructose and glucose like honey. HFCS is glucose converted to fructose.
                                    Cane syrup is not molasses. You may never have had it as it is not commonly available outside of sugar cane producing areas except in specialty markets.
                                    You are correct that it is purely personal taste. Grade B maple syrup may well have equal depth. I just grew up with cane syrup and that's my "security blanket" food, a taste of home. You would probably not adjust to it and always long for maple syrup. That's how food memories are.

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      you're right, no HFCS per se. I do read labels religiously. Dark Karo:

                                      Ingredients:
                                      Dark Corn Syrup, Refiners’ Syrup, Caramel Flavor, Salt, Sodium Benzoate (Used To Protect Quality), Caramel Color.

                                      Caramel coloring, sodium benzoate, and caramel flavor are the things I was thinking of. Caramel coloring is as nasty as HFCS, from the reading I've done. There is an old post on here somewhere about it.

                                      1. re: krissywats

                                        Unfortunately, pure corn syrup isn't available to consumers and Karo is the best I can do. I'd prefer if they left all that stuff out too.
                                        It's necessary for some recipes in which I use a tablespoon or two. Simple food chemistry. At that quantity I am not going to worry. You may never have a need for it.
                                        Caramel color is produced from natural carbs and food acids and there is nothing wrong with it per se. Some of the materials you may have read possibly refer to Class II, III and IV caramel coloring (used in things like soft drinks) which employ sulfites and ammonias in their production. Both of these compounds are controversial. I've read both sides and don't have the answer. I haven't checked snopes.com however since I have other things to worry about.

                            3. re: pikawicca

                              Yes, 40 years ago, Log Cabin was the only real maple syrup. Aunt Jemima never was.

                              1. re: personalcheffie

                                Exactly. Neither Aunt Jemina nor Brer Rabbit were ever maple syrup. Not did they want to be. They were marketed in the Deep South where we used cane or sorghum syrups or molasses. There was no maple syrup except as some exotic thing that sombody brought back from a trip that you tried because you were polite. Sugar maples don't grow in the South. We read about that stuff in books.
                                Just like Yankees didn't eat grits, we didn't have maple syrup before long-haul trucks carried food all over the US and TV made products nationally known. Yankees still don't eat grits (unless they call it polenta) and most Southerners still don't know much about maple syrup. Regional differences. People tend to prefer what they grew up with.

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  Well, the Log Cabin I'm talking about came in a tin container that was a 'cabin'. Square, oblong shaped tin.

                                  Grits and polenta are the same thing. One is served soft and warm, the other chilled then grilled or broiled with added flavors possibly. Polenta is usually a 'cake' with sauteed veggies or something 'gourmet'. Whatever. It's all good food to me!

                                  Yes, regional differences as MakingSense calls it is truly what all this hogwash basically boils down to. You can call me a 'chef', but I'm really just a cook! We all are, and excellent ones at that. Don't ever sell yourself short.

                                  1. re: personalcheffie

                                    Oh! Don't get a Southerner started on grits!
                                    Grits and polenta are made from different types of corn. Grits are ground from starchy dent corn while polenta is made from more granular flint corn. Both can be served soft and warm or cooled, sliced and fried, grilled, etc. Ever had grits souffle?
                                    Here's some recipes http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes-cor... from a fabulous artisan mill in Columbia, SC that grows all their products organically from heritage seed, mills to order and ships FedEx all over the US and the world. Their rice is fabulous too. Damn stuff costs more than steak but worth every penny.

                                    I laugh sometime that I just "make food." Hardly use recipes any more. I buy what looks good and the food sort of tells me what to do with it. When is it ready? When it smells right. Looks done. How easy is that?

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      Well...MakingSense, you are a person after my own heart. I may cook for other people regularly, but I rarely use a recipe, and I don't plan menus because I never know what is going to be available the day I shop. So if my clients don't trust me, I can't cook their food. I always know what they like, and fortunately for me, they all just let me do what I want.

                                    2. re: personalcheffie

                                      "Grits and polenta are the same thing."

                                      U A BIG FAT LIAR BOY!

                                      Just kidding -- while technically they're slightly different, they're completely interchangeable and I don't understand why people get so het up about it.

                              1. re: amkirkland

                                Vs. the red wine vinegar with caramel colouring and sugar in it?

                                Eccccccch.