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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.


        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? ;-)


            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:

                                      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?


                              2. hot dogs vs hot dogs
                                mozarella vs mozarella
                                mustard vs mustard
                                tap water vs bottled water
                                coffee vs Nescafe
                                chicken vs lizards, snakes and everything else that supposedly "tastes like chicken".

                                20 Replies
                                  1. re: revsharkie

                                    Remember, the "real" is on the left, fake on the right. If you are serious, on the other hand, let's get together.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      Sorry, the format is confusing me a little. But I am totally serious about the complete lack of food value in hot dogs. (A good sausage is another matter...)

                                      1. re: revsharkie

                                        There are those of us who eat hot dogs because we love them, and "food value" doesn't enter into it at all.

                                        What a bleak world it would be if we only ate the foods that had some sort of "value" as determined by those who would discount the pure joy of biting into a juice, salty, disreputable, and thoroughly enjoyable hot dog.

                                        Why eat if it's not going to be a wonderful experience? Eat to live?

                                        Pfffffffffffffft. Pass the diced onions.

                                        1. re: Atlantis

                                          Yeah, my husband's one of those. But I'm not. I don't personally find eating hot dogs to be a "wonderful experience." You do, that's fine. You can have my share. (But you'll have to get your own onions, because I'm keeping those.)

                                          1. re: revsharkie

                                            THANK YOU!!! A free hot dog, no matter the reason for the gift, is a cause for celebration!

                                            Wanna share that nice, bright green relish?


                                            1. re: Atlantis

                                              Yeah, you can have my share of that too. I have some I made that I like a lot better--not as sweet, and not quite as frightfully artificially-colored green.

                                            2. re: revsharkie

                                              >>> (But you'll have to get your own onions, because I'm keeping those.)

                                              Same back-at-cha! ;-)

                                              Mine are normally Vidalia onions painfully diced with my surgeons scalpel to specifications under .05 of an inch. (Ok, I cheat and use my Oscar as I prefer "fines of onion" on my sandwiches)

                                              Speaking about fakes, there is a few sweet onions that are giving the Vidalia a run for their money.

                                            3. re: Atlantis

                                              Having worked on a golf course as the hotdog girl on hole nine, I will stick my neck out and say that hotdogs are often a guy thing. A bunch of guys hitting the ninth hole? Hotdogs all around. A bunch of guys with their wives? Rarely one sold. All women? Forget it.

                                              I'm gonna guy you're a guy.

                                              Natural, even organic food can be created into a life altering experience. My world is not bleak in the least - and I certainly don't to eat to live - nor do I eat hotdogs.

                                              lol - the 'disreputable' makes me wonder if it's a rebellion thing.

                                              1. re: Atlantis

                                                hot dogs, weiners, red hots, what a wonderful thing. salty, sweet, ready for mustard, relish, kraut, ketchup, tomato, cheese, pickles, whetever the heart desires. Oops, wrong organ cause the heart does not desire hot dogs.

                                                That being said I love them. Yup, at the ninth hole nothing better than a good dog, some mustard and green relish, or at 9pm after a long day.

                                                Probably is a guy thing as noone else in my family (DW and two daughters) will touch them. But in fairness ladies have their own shtick as well. Have you ever seen a guy order a salad with dressing on the side? Nope. Given the trade, i'll take the red hot.

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  Not just a guy thing! Part of going to a baseball game. The great American food at the great American sport! Play ball!

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Oh sure - although I'm not a dressing on the side gal - I'm sure we have our own cravings (most, not all chocolate cravers are women - as I think most, not all, hotdog adorers are men - at least from my own, extremely non-scientific observations)

                                                    1. re: krissywats

                                                      When I first mentioned "hot dogs vs hot dogs" I meant real meat ones vs. those made of a mix of small quantaties of unknown meats and larger quantities of unknown vegetable matter. These latter are the majority in Latin America and Asia.

                                                      1. re: krissywats

                                                        KW - another data point for your cholate survey. My DW is a chocolate-holic. Dark is now her favorite. Likewise I could eat a pound of chocalate, follwed by a piece of chocolate fudge cake, topped with chocolate fudge ice cream. And yes I have done it. But

                                                        I have never order salad SOS, entree SOS or dessert SOS.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          I'm a guy and I often order salad SOS, because so many places overdress their salads. I could just not do it and then send it back if it's overdressed, but then by the time I get it back, I'm holding up the entrees.

                                                        2. re: krissywats

                                                          Put my wife with the hotdog lovers - a grilled frank with mustard and coleslaw is her favorite meal.

                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                Gotta disagree about waters. A lot of tap water is chemically treated and processed and full of chlorine. Some bottled waters are real water - for example, Crystal Geyser mountain spring waters bottled at the source.


                                                1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                  Yes, indeed. But there have been cases in which bottled water was tested and came out no better (or even worse) than tap. I also remember the pure pleasure of drinking from the faucet/hose outside on sizzling hot summer days in the Central Valley of California. Also have been relatively fortunate in living where the water has been good. I do rely on bottled when traveling, however.

                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                    My hometown had its own mountain spring, so I grew up drinking great tap water. The flip side is that I am extremely intolerant of lousy tap water, and that seems to be what I have run into the most in my life (Columbus OH, Oregon Coast, Monterey CA, San Diego, Arizona).


                                                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                      I'm in the same boat as you, having grown up with great mountain spring water. _Anyone_ would be intolerant of Monterey tap water. Some of it comes with so much chlorine, that if it were in a swimming pool they wouldn't let you in it to swim! (we had our water tested, and that's what we were told). San Diego's water is also especially nasty. So it's not you--you're just running into particularly bad tap water. Just as a note in passing, we've found that both San Francisco and NYC have great tap water.

                                                1. re: marlie202

                                                  >>> miracle whip vs mayonaise

                                                  Mayonnaise to me has to be well mixed with something having their own flavor. Never plain or as a sandwitch condiment otherwise it tasts like chilled bacon drippings. (some people just crave that salty smoke like flavor) It also has a high- oil content (65%), egg yolks, and salt, but lower in sugar content.

                                                  Salad dressing is generally 50-50- oil-egg whites. Salts and sugars more equal but to taste somewhat sweet and tangy.

                                                2. meat patty vs hamburger

                                                  1. mayonaise is just as "real" as miracle whip

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Kryster

                                                      yes, but mayonnaise tastes good and miracle whip does not. And can you make miracle whip at home(without having a collection of chemistry lab equipment)?

                                                      1. re: ghbrooklyn

                                                        I know plenty of people who prefer mircale whip. Not me though, but they're out there.

                                                        1. re: amkirkland

                                                          Do you always ask, when ordering a sandwich out, whether it is really mayo they use, or Miracle Whip? It seems many, many places will use MW instead - I've always wondered if it is because it is cheaper, or the owners/cooks don't know or care about the difference, or if the customers really prefer it!

                                                          1. re: Seldomsated

                                                            relatively miracle whip is expensive (and tastes a whole lot better) compared to acme brand mayo which is used in most places.

                                                        2. re: ghbrooklyn

                                                          Yes, you can make Miracle Whip at home. Dried mustard, vinegar & lemon give it the tang, and usually powdered sugar for sweetness.

                                                          Homemade Miracle Whip

                                                          It is not supposed to be mayo. I like that it is tangier and not as bland as Mayo. I didn't grow up with MW, but when I moved from the East Coast to the West, Hellman's is NOT the same as Best Foods mayo. I got interested in Miracle Whip at that time and now I'm a fan.

                                                          Alas, Kraft seems to have changed the recipe of MW

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            miracle whip has an after taste I dislike.

                                                      2. peanut butter ground from nuts vs. peanut butter w/ sugar and hydrogenated oils
                                                        hot chocolate vs. hot cocoa
                                                        marinara vs. tomato sauce
                                                        macaroni and cheese vs. macaroni and cheese dinner
                                                        mashed potatoes vs. potato flakes
                                                        stuffing vs. stouffer's
                                                        ice cream (milk, cream, sugar, eggs) vs. the other stuff
                                                        chinese lobster sauce from lobster vs. lobster sauce from pork
                                                        ribs vs. mcdonald's mcrib

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                          hot cocoa isn't fake hot chocolate, it's supposed to be a different drink.

                                                          now if you said hot cocoa vs. swiss miss, that would work. i think instant foods in general fall into the fake category.

                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                            There are plenty of peanut butters on the market that are made with nothing but peanuts and salt, no sugar, no oils, no nothing fake at all.

                                                            Ditto with ice creams.

                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                              Lobster sauce isn't sauce made "of" lobster, it's sauce made "for" lobster. At least here in the US. YMMV.

                                                            2. I think some of you are missing the point of the post. No, Miracle whip is not as real as mayonnaise. It is a highly processed substitute. That is the point. I think margarine and butter are a good pair too. Tofu and hotdogs I don't understand, but tofurky and turkey....I would understand that, but then again, I'm not vegetarian!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: sunshinedrop

                                                                I was briefly a vegetarian, and I rejected wholeheartedly any vegetarian substitute for meat--tofu made to "taste like" turkey, or hot dogs, or whatever.

                                                                The only exception I made was Gardenburgers.

                                                              2. Vanilla extract vs imitation vanilla flavoring

                                                                1. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil vs. butter, oil, goose fat, beef tallow, and lard. Love lard! Can't wait for its triumphant return!

                                                                  1. pocorn with butter vs. microwaved artificially butter flavored greased popcorn

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: RiJaAr

                                                                      I am TOTALLY with you on that one!

                                                                    2. I think the point of the OP is the "hide behind tradition or the lable". Log Cabin Syrup. Us old-timers assumed it was, as when we were children, maple syrup, not sugar syrup. When we needed to add the word "REAL" to the lable that's when the slippery slope began.

                                                                      A Veggieburger is just that, a burger made of veggies, can us traditionalists claim the same about hamburger (wonder when the pig lobby won that fight in Congress). How about hot dogs, OMG my Lab Retriever cringes everytime i cook one of these puppies (sorry for the pun).

                                                                      Personaly I wish the soy-guys would just call it that soy-dog, soy-burger, soy-sausage. I buy a marinade called Soy-vay and love it. Just call it like it is. And what the heck is a Boca-burger. From my experience a Bocaburger is a bagel with a schmear and some novey.

                                                                      I have a half gallon (Oh Yeah the Math Wizzes now place 54oz in a half gallon container) of low fat, no sugar added ice something in my freezer for my daughter. She goes back to college that's down the drain.

                                                                      I can deal with the names being in sync with the product, but please don;t make me read 2-point font on theingredients to find out my guacamole is green colored hydroperoxicated diocilaminted qualimosimine.

                                                                      1. - real salad dressing with olive oil and natural citrus vs the processed dressing (Kraft, etc.)

                                                                        - real chowder with potato and cream vs canned chowder (e.g.campbell)

                                                                        - actually further expand the above will be real home-made soups made with fresh ingredients vs most of the canned soups (there are a few that are better, but most of them are full of substitutes and fake meat)

                                                                        - real ham sliced from a whole roast vs packaged processed ham (e.g. Oscar Mayers)

                                                                        - mama's meatloaf vs package meatloaf

                                                                        - real cupcakes or cake or pancake made from scratch vs the ones made from instant mixing

                                                                        - real infused olive oil vs olive oil with "X" flavor

                                                                        1. All of those powdered "sauces". i.e. real Bernaise has 5 ingredients (tarragon, shallot, vinegar, egg, butter).

                                                                          Knorr bernaise powder has 21, and you still have to add butter and milk : Modified Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Wheat Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate (from Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Modified Potato Starch, Lactose (from Milk), Salt, Onion Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract , Citric Acid, Tarragon, Guar Gum, Parsley Flakes, Paprika, Turmeric, Sugar, Garlic Power

                                                                          Now that's a fake food.

                                                                          1. oh, and don't forget- Velvetta! Pasteurized processed cheese food... mmmmmm.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: cheesemonger

                                                                              I noticed the other day that velveeta is more expensive than NY State extra sharp cheddar.

                                                                            2. O'Douls (et all) vs real beer
                                                                              Light Beers vs real beer

                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Hue

                                                                                Ah, we call the O'Doul's stuff "near beer".

                                                                                A light beer (light in colour) can be a real beer... but something like Natural Light... well, you know the old joke. How is Natural Light like having sex in a boat? Both are f***ing close to water.

                                                                                1. re: Hue

                                                                                  Beer made with malted barley, hops, yeast & water vs all the artificial imitation beer (labeled "beer" in the US) made with rice, corn, maltodextrin, foam stablilizers etc etc like all the major mass produced brands.


                                                                                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                    You may not like American Macrobrews, but let's keep it accurate:

                                                                                    From www.budweiser.com:
                                                                                    "Budweiser is brewed using only the finest barley malt, rice, hops, yeast and water."

                                                                                    1. re: SuzyInChains

                                                                                      My point exactly. Budwseiser could not be called "beer" (actually "Bier") in Germany. There are worse offenders than Bud, of course, but truth in labeling would (imho) require it to be called "beer-like product" or perhaps "imitation beer."


                                                                                      1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                        The Budweiser problem in and with Germany had nothing to do with contents or quality. It was a trademark problem.

                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                          Yes, there was that also. But the Rheinheitsgebot specifies what ingredients are allowed in beer. Rice is not on the list.


                                                                                          1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                            SuzyInChains is right!!! Rheinheitsgebot is un-American. In the first place, it no longer applies. It was protectionist legislation, not just about beer quality. And it's part of Germany's pattern of anti-consumer laws that regulate store hours, sales, discounts, markdowns, guarantees, returns and other retail practices that prevent non-German companies from doing business within the country.
                                                                                            All Bud's don't have to be for you. It's a free country and Germany should be too. We let their beer into our market because we aren't wimps who are afraid of competition.

                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                              Somehow I don't think that Germany was worried about American imports in the 1500s. The Rheinheitsgebot was basic consumer protection. Don't confuse it with all sorts of other regulations.

                                                                                              The basic topic here is real vs fake. To my mind, real beer is a foodstuff made from traditional ingredients. If you want to drink a carbonated alcoholic beverage made with rice, maltodextrin, or corn, I have no problem with that. I personally don't believe that stuff is REAL beer.

                                                                                              But in the US brewers are not required to list ingredients on labels - as are most other packaged food purveyors. Therefore, when consumers buy "beer" in the US they have no idea what may be in that drink.


                                                                                              1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                                Rheinheitsgebot was a way of keeping out beers from other European countries, such as Belgium, which makes fine beers but has always used adjuncts. It restricted the ingredients to those grown by German farmers and used in German beers. The consumer protection angle is re-writing history from today's prespective.

                                                                                                In the US, there are laws which define ingrdients for products and as long as producers include ONLY those products, it is not required that they list them on labels. If they include OTHER ingredients, they are required by law to list them.

                                                                                                Laws are laws whether they are American or German. Taste varies as well. Both countries make some good, even great, beers and both countries produce some swill within those laws and to appeal to varying tastes.
                                                                                                I am firmly of the belief that laws should not be used to impose subjective "taste" preferences or to stifle competetion.
                                                                                                Fortunately, US borders are open to imports and you can enjoy your fine German brews. Others don't have that freedom.

                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                  Rheinheitsgebot goes back hundreds of years. Viewing it as a law intended to restrict commerce is rewriting history. Its original purpose was to protect consumers from inferior ingredients. Perhaps in the last few years, as Europe has been trying to achieve economic unity, Germans have used the law as a way to restrict commerce, but that was not its original purpose. Originally it was intended to regulate German producers not foreigners.

                                                                                                  As far as listing ingredients goes, I am not an expert in the law, but if you notice, the cheapest American beers never include an ingredients list. Unlike canned beans or other packaged products, beer has some sort of exception from labeling requirents.

                                                                                                  I am not saying that all German beers are better than any American beers. It is arguable that American beers are more suited to the climate of the Eastern United States. My main point was that beer was made with barley malt, water, hops, and yeast for hundreds of years. No traditional German, Belgian, Dutch, or French beer would have included corn or rice.


                                                                                                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                                    Many traditional brews in other sections of Germany, as well as other European countries, included things besides barley malt, water, hops and yeast. Wheat started the whole thing back in 1516.
                                                                                                    The brief history of rheinheitsgebot found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheit... is pretty clear that it was established to "prevent price competition" and "prevent competition from beers brewed elsewhere."
                                                                                                    Unfortunately, it also "led to the extinction of many brewing traditions and local beer specialties" within Germany which seems a great loss.
                                                                                                    I always have enjoyed regional and seasonal beers and other foods when I have traveled and hate when government policies interfere with that pleasure.

                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                      Thanks for the interesting link. It appears that we are both right. The law was originally intended for consumer protection ("to prevent inferior methods of preserving beer") and to keep brewers from using bread grains, so that beer drinking wouldn't lead to famine. I would still argue that malted barley, hops, water and yeast are the traditional ingredients for standard European beer as opposed to wheat beers, flavored beers, and mass produced factory beers.

                                                                                                      But you are right that Bavaria did use the law to protect its brewing industry from outside competition when Germany was unified - which I had not known about before.

                                                                                                      My view that the Rheinheitsgebot was a good thing was partially a result of having drunk some East German beer during the existence of East Germany. Because the communist government abandoned the purity law, the East German beers were full of chemicals etc. Some of the nastiest brews I have ever tasted.


                                                                                                      1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                                        It must have been awful living in the GDR when that was all the beer you could get under the communists.
                                                                                                        It's not an ideal situation living in any country where restrictions based on anything other than real health and safety concerns prevent free trade.
                                                                                                        I'm happy that the US has so few trade barriers to imported products such as beer and wine and wish that our trading partners were as open. Not that all of our stuff is so great - a lot of it isn't - but consumers should have the freedom to choose, just as you do.
                                                                                                        Just remember that sometimes the German definition of "inferior" simply means "not German" and that extends to all sorts of things not appropriate for discussion on Chowhound.

                                                                                                        I think the current status of Rheinheitsgebot is reasonable since it was disallowed by the European Court of Justice in 1987. Those beers are defined as traditional beers but other types of beers are allowed and, as we all know, Germany does make wonderful beers of all sorts beyond those traditional one.

                                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                          We have SOME kinds of trade barriers. When I last heard, the US would not permit cheeses made from unpasteurized milk -- which eliminates many of the best artisanal and farmstead cheeses from Europe. Perhaps someone is up on the latest US regulations.

                                                                                                          1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                            Those are health regs, not arbitrary trade regs. The sale of raw milk is illegal in the US. Cheese made from it has to be aged 60 day before it can be imported. Some states allow its production in the US but it still has to be aged 60 days or more before it can be sold. We treat US and foreign products equally.
                                                                                                            There's a bunch of other threads where this is being discussed, but raw v. pasturized still doesn't make cheese real or fake, the topic of this thread. There are still some top quality cheeses made from pasturized milk.

                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                              In the spring, a "Kosher for Passover" version of Coca Cola shows up on store shelves. It is made with cane or beet sugar instead of corn sweeteners.

                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                The sale of raw milk is legal in California -- pretty much every crunchy hippy granola market has it.

                                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                  That'll teach me to believe the Washington Post about raw milk/laws.
                                                                                                                  Then why does CA care about raw milk cheeses less than 60 days old? Isn't the sale of them forbidden?
                                                                                                                  Maybe you are getting closer to changing that stupid law.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                    I think that's because it's a federal law, whereas milk is state by state. An expplanation... but not necessarily logical.

                                                                                                                    1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                                      You can make raw milk cheese in some states and not others, so it's governed by state not Federal law.
                                                                                                                      Legal in at least VT, VA, MA, PA, KY, CA, OR, CT, GA, and WI.

                                                                                          2. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                            That's fine for Germany, but I'm in the US and really don't care how they label foods.

                                                                                    2. Potato chips vs. those things made out of pressed potato flakes
                                                                                      Licorice vs. Twizzlers
                                                                                      Whipped cream vs. whipped topping or Reddi-Whip
                                                                                      Fruit juice vs. fruit cocktail
                                                                                      Frozen yogurt vs. "frozen dairy dessert"

                                                                                      1. Half and Half vs. "Fat Free Half and Half"

                                                                                        the hell?

                                                                                        The mention of cheese reminded me of our first friends to have kids. They'd give them Kraft singles every once in a while and they (and the kids) always referred to it as "pretend cheese". (Yes, I know that Kraft slices are made with milk, but...)

                                                                                        1. how can you have fat free cream thats what i want to know?

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: RiJaAr

                                                                                            I don't know, but there is this "fat free" half and half that Land o'Lake makes - disgusting - it has sugar or some kind of sweetner added to it.

                                                                                          2. canned tuna vs fresh tuna
                                                                                            baked beans in the can vs homemade baked beans
                                                                                            pollack vs crabmeat

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: marlie202

                                                                                              sorry, but canned tuna is still real tuna. ditto the baked beans. prepackaged/canned doesn't equal fake.

                                                                                              i'm pretty sure the op meant foods that pretend to be something else but are actually chemically different - like the guacamole vs. green hydrogenated oil product debate.

                                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                                I'm totally with you! Canned tuna is a totally legitimate food. It's a method of preservation, so proscuitto, cured olives and cheeses are as much fake foods as canned tuna. I believe there's a pretty rich heritage of tuna canning in Italy in fact.

                                                                                                My addition is soba noodles (all, or nearly all buckwheat) vs "soba" noodles (usually 2/3 wheat flour)

                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                  Okay, but fresh asparagus vs. canned asparagus fall into the real vs. fake for me. When I was a kid I didn't realized that strange, limp white stuff was supposed to be a veggie!

                                                                                              2. does this count?

                                                                                                chicken breasts vs. chicken patties made in the shape of breasts

                                                                                                we used to own a sandwich shop and our grilled chicken sandwich had grill marks and everything but was made from compressed chicken meat...scary.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: soypower

                                                                                                  Oh I know!
                                                                                                  I worked for Sysco one summer and edited their catalog. I found "breast-shaped chicken patties" and freaked.

                                                                                                2. How 'bout BBQ ribs vs. those "rib"-shaped pork patties (e.g. McRib)?

                                                                                                  1. to me eating sushi (tuna) or grilled tuna steak is so far superior to the canned that it takes my breath away-

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: marlie202

                                                                                                      Buy 100g of oil-packed tuna from a large can at an Italian street market in July and eat it with fresh tomatoes, olives, and great tuscan bread...
                                                                                                      then say that one more piece of tuna sushi or yet another hunk of grilled tuna on a trendy restaurant menu - both days away from the ocean - are anywhere near as good...

                                                                                                      Quality counts! The best canned tuna can take your breath away too.

                                                                                                        1. re: marlie202

                                                                                                          They have different uses for me -- I love seared ahi steak but there are some preparations where it doesn't work (salade niçoise, or vitello tonnato)... then, a "canned" Italian (some of it comes in packets rather than cans) stored in olive oil is a thing of wonder.

                                                                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                            I agree. My sons and I discussed this yesterday after one of them gave me a book on how to make sushi. Can't wait, but something tells me I'll have trouble finding the sushi grade of tuna here. Anyway, I agree, some Italian tuna packed in olive oil are wonderful and so are some of the Portugese brands. Very different from your "Charlie the Tuna" variety... which makes a great tuna on toast with extra lettuce, pickled jalapenos and tomato by the way.

                                                                                                    2. "Mint" jelly is always just apple jelly with coloring and flavoring. I don't know if *mint* jelly really exists.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: BangorDin

                                                                                                        since mint has no pectin or sugar of it's own it has to have some other source. Apple is probably better than processed, refined sources like white sugar and sur-jel.

                                                                                                        1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                          Sugar is used in jelly/jam making as a preservative. Without it they would spoil.

                                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                            that's my point, better the natural sugar of an apple than refined white sugar.

                                                                                                      2. remember canned tuna contains a lot of mercury--beware pregnant chowhounds and the tin can--can it (not healthy).
                                                                                                        homemade chips vs. commercial product (Lay's in a can-dehydrated flakes)

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: marlie202

                                                                                                          Fresh (well, frozen, since all tuna in the US is frozen at some point before consumption by law) tuna has just as much mercury as canned -- it's from what the fish eats, not how its processed after catching. (Chunk light tuna does have a bit less mercury than called albacore and fresh/frozen yellowfin.)


                                                                                                          1. re: Covert Ops

                                                                                                            "well, frozen, since all tuna in the US is frozen at some point before consumption by law"???

                                                                                                            Huh? This is not true. Not at my fishmonger...or off of my boat.

                                                                                                          2. re: marlie202

                                                                                                            Cans haven't been made from tin in eons. Nothing leaches into food from modern cans which often have food-safe linings in addition to being made from non-reactive metals.
                                                                                                            Some food prejudices are outdated.

                                                                                                          3. homemade mashed potatoes vs. rehydrated potato flakes
                                                                                                            steamed rice vs. uncle bens/minute rice

                                                                                                            1. real feta vs. feta in the supermarket next to the velveeta

                                                                                                              1. Hawaiian shave ice versus the pitiful snow cone.

                                                                                                                1. To reopen the syrup controversy...

                                                                                                                  My son was travelling in New England and stopped at a maple syrup ... farm? factory? anyway, the guy boiling the sap instructed him emphatically to always get the Grade B maple syrup for its greater flavor. We've all stuck to that ever since. Trader Joe's has a nice one at a reasonable price.

                                                                                                                  Have you ever had real sorghum syrup? I actually like it better than maple syrup for pancakes and such. You have to be careful to get pure sorghum - there's a lot of sorghum-flavored corn syrup out there.


                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: MikeLM

                                                                                                                    Maple sugar producers are often called "sugar houses" or "sugar shacks".

                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                      or "sugar bush", which i always thought sounded slightly dirty ;-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                        The sugar bush is actually the trees, but just like the place that sells the apples would be called Piccola Orchards, the place that sells the maple syrup would be Piccola's Sugar Bush.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                          true, but over time, the term's become synonymous with sugar shack - as a canadian, i've often taking daytrips to "the sugar bush"...

                                                                                                                          and your example just makes it sound dirtier ;-)

                                                                                                                  2. Peanut butter of which the peanut oil has been sucked out and replaced with soy oil!

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. Real cream versus non-dairy creamer
                                                                                                                      Real stuffing versus Stove Top Stuffing
                                                                                                                      Real rice versus Minit/Minute Rice or, worse, boil-in bag rice
                                                                                                                      Real fish (as in fish and chips)versus fish sticks
                                                                                                                      Real eggs versus Egg Beaters

                                                                                                                      And I have to come down on the side of:
                                                                                                                      Real maple syrup (whatever grade) versus artifically maple-flavored pancake syrup

                                                                                                                      1. fresh ramen noodles vs. the dried instant kind

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                          Off topic, but hilarious: they did a survey in Japan a few years back and asked the Japanese people to name the most important invention of the 20th century. The overwhelming answer: instant ramen!

                                                                                                                          1. re: MobyRichard

                                                                                                                            don't get me wrong, instant ramen has always been a staple in our house that needs to be resupplied as soon as we run out. but when i first tasted fresh ramen, i remember thinking what a HUGE difference it was. :o)

                                                                                                                        2. mouton cadet (red) vs Ripple

                                                                                                                          1. heavy cream vs. "heavy cream, skim milk, contains less than 1% of each of the following: mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 80, and carrageenan"

                                                                                                                            1. Real extracts vs. flavorings

                                                                                                                              1. Sea Scallops vs some sort of Shark (or mystery fish) globules. They never get firm even if you try to overcook them and have slimy fat-like internal consistency.
                                                                                                                                I resent paying Scallop prices for fraud...don't you?

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: wrapmastr

                                                                                                                                  Sounds like you need to change fishmongers.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wrapmastr

                                                                                                                                    Mostly that's an urban legend about scallops cut out of other fish. But the nice pretty white scallops packed in water with preservatives become over 15-30% water and never cook up properly and have the texture you describe. Real "dry" scallops are creamy or even orange tinged.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                      Is that true? If it is I'm going to feel like an idiot for believing it all these years: I remembering seeing a report on TV about how a lot of scallops were actually round 'punches' out of shark meat and that the only way to tell was to look look for the attached membrane on real scallops. Hmmmm - gonna have to look into this one.

                                                                                                                                      Where did you hear it was an urban legend?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: krissywats

                                                                                                                                        It is not an urban legend. In fact there is a whole industry for imitation scallops like imitation crab.

                                                                                                                                        The usual fish used is skate as noted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Who knew imitation scallops could be on the endangered fish list?

                                                                                                                                        The problem isn't imitation scallops, it is some vendors who don't label them as such and try to pass them off as the real thing.

                                                                                                                                        Looking around for info on fake scallops I came across this interesting FDA article about illegal fake food ... beet juice labelled as OJ, sawdust sold as ginsing, salted, colored water sold as milk, corn syrup sold as honey,fake apple juice (sugar, water, flavoring, hydrolyzed inulin syrup), potato starch sold as horseradish ... I'd really believe that one with some of the horseradish that is sold.

                                                                                                                                        Although thanks to the ever-diligent seafood industry,
                                                                                                                                        these products as of December are no longer labeled "imitation".

                                                                                                                                        From here on they are called things like "flavored seafood, made with surimi, a fully cooked fish protein."


                                                                                                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the research and the support of my contention, that this fakery is common. I posted my scallop comment because of my personal experience over the last few years, having purchased what was purportedly Sea Scallops from reputable sources and ending up with globs of slop. It is true that scallops (genuine scallops) are creamy colored and can sometimes be tinged with a little orange, or are visibly grained suggesting where they were originally attached to the shell, so I look pretty hard at what I am buying. Scrutiny in the case of these fakes hasn't done me any good. Because they are frequently plugs cut from something "real", they look pretty damn real. I have also been served these things in restaurants. Many types of fish are now "fake", or intentionally mislabelled. It isn't necessarilly the fault of the fishmonger or the restaurant. The problem is higher up in the industry.
                                                                                                                                            Here's a good example:

                                                                                                                                    2. Real bread vs. that low-carb soy-protein weirdness
                                                                                                                                      Lard vs. Crisco
                                                                                                                                      Jell-O vs. Ko-Jel
                                                                                                                                      Abalone vs. abalone-flavoured fish pods

                                                                                                                                      1. My pet peeve are the "farm raised" seafood verses what is now being referred to as "wild" Hah! There is no comparison with shrimp. Farm is so bland and mushy, I just won't buy it.
                                                                                                                                        oh and lets not forget that fake crab stuff. What a mess that stuff is.

                                                                                                                                        1. Real natural yogurt (like Liberte or Emmi) vs. "natural" yogurt with pectin, modified food starch, etc.

                                                                                                                                          1. Did anyone mention Cheeze-Whiz or Velveeta versus real cheddar?

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                                                              Yes, but I don't think we mentioned Emmenthal vs. "swiss" or real Dutch munster vs. that oily orange-painted stuff they sell on the east coast of the U.S. or for that matter parmesan vs. the grated stuff in the green can that you shake onto your chef boy-ar-dee. Does anyone remember the real Chef Boiardi?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                                                                I mentioned the difference between actual dairy cheese and "pasteurized processed cheese food" up-post.

                                                                                                                                              2. I think these answers make nice additions to my original posting.

                                                                                                                                                -butter vs. margarine,
                                                                                                                                                whipped cream vs. nondairy whipped topping (momjamin)
                                                                                                                                                -mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip (marlie202)
                                                                                                                                                -licorice vs. Twizzlers (piccola)
                                                                                                                                                -real cream vs. non-dairy creamer (ClaireWalter)
                                                                                                                                                -lard vs. Crisco (Das Ubergeek)
                                                                                                                                                -natural yogurt vs. yogurt with pectin, modified food starch, etc. (Loren3)

                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: grocerytrekker

                                                                                                                                                  No, No, NO !!! Miracle Whip is NOT fake mayo. It is a sandwich spread similar to mayo that has paprika, garlic, and mustard for tang. NOT fake ... though it does have more junk in it than Hellman's. While this is not a list of ingrediants to be proud of, it is hardly worse than Hellman's Mayo ... AND ... it is a WHOLE lot better than what is in Hellman's Light Mayo.

                                                                                                                                                  Miracle Whip:
                                                                                                                                                  Ingredients: WATER, SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, EGG YOLKS, SALT, MUSTARD FLOUR, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE AS A PRESERVATIVE, SPICE, PAPRIKA, NATURAL FLAVOR, DRIED GARLIC.

                                                                                                                                                  INGREDIENTS: SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, WHOLE EGGS AND EGG YOLKS, VINEGAR, SALT, SUGAR, LEMON JUICE, NATURAL FLAVORS, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY).

                                                                                                                                                  Hellman's Light Mayo
                                                                                                                                                  **INGREDIENTS NOT IN MAYONNAISE

                                                                                                                                                  BTW, from the Kraft sight a 'fun fact'
                                                                                                                                                  "Miracle Whip was named for the emulsifying machine invented by Charles Chapmin which was used to specially blend and whip the dressing"

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                    Okay. I don't know enough about this to comment on it.
                                                                                                                                                    "Fake" doesn't have to mean bad, though. It could be an improvement, too. It depends on your preference, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grocerytrekker

                                                                                                                                                      It is just that Miracle Whip gets a bad rap, probably because the name sounds fake. However, like Hellman's it is just basically soybean oil and eggs.

                                                                                                                                                      From your original post, it seemed the definition of fake would be swapping out the ingrediants totally and replacing them with something else ... like the fake crab or the cheese slices without cheese.

                                                                                                                                                      Further up in the post someone said you couldn't create MW outside a lab, but there are lots of recipes out there ... just tangeir spicing, so to speak, than mayo. People just assume it is all chemicals.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                        Well, I did hesitate before including it on the list.
                                                                                                                                                        You are right - the most satisfying definition of fake would be something totally different. But since I had soy sauce, yogurt and maple syrup which have a lot in common with their "fakes", I decided to include it.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                      it wasn't 'hellman's vs miracle whip' but 'mayo vs. miracle whip'. On THAT I have to agree. Miracle whip IS junk compared to REAL mayo (which hellman's isn't)

                                                                                                                                                      In both cases too many of those ingredients are made in a barrel somewhere in New Jersey.

                                                                                                                                                  2. This thread reminds me of a dinner when I was growing up -- mom served homemade (not a mix) pancakes with butter and Vermont maple syrup, but my adolescent sister preferred frozen waffles with margarine, Aunt Jemima, and a glass of skim milk. We gave her a hard time about not appreciating real food ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                      I recently made oatmeal from steel-cut oats, cooked overnight in a crockpot, with dried apples, cinnamon, and cream, and my sister woke up, walked right by the crockpot, and grabbed the Quaker Instant Oatmeal Apple and Cinnamon packets.

                                                                                                                                                    2. When we lived in L.A., we used to take out-of-town visitors, just for fun, to a Monterey Park Chinese restaurant called Happy Family where the dishes imitated meat rather well.

                                                                                                                                                      -meat vs. seitan or gluten-based meat substitute

                                                                                                                                                      As piccola mentioned, veggieburger arguably didn't "hide behind the tradition or the label" (as jfood put it), behind hamburger that is.

                                                                                                                                                      Amusing, almost believable fakes, gluten-based meat substitute meets rworange's criterion, "it seemed the definition of fake would be swapping out the ingredients totally and replacing them with something else".

                                                                                                                                                      1. Tzatziki (i.e., yogourt, cucumber, dill, garlic, salt) vs. "Tzatziki Dip/Sauce" (more often than not made from hydrogenated coconut oil!)

                                                                                                                                                        1. I don't know if this has been mentioned but I just saw a TV commercial for a Natrel product that they are calling a "milk beverage". The wording alone tells me it's fake.

                                                                                                                                                          also, wine from real "terroir" vs. some artificially "oaked" vino (yellow tail shiraz)

                                                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Julie Woo

                                                                                                                                                            I think the "milk beverages" have one of two things...

                                                                                                                                                            1) Added calcium (usually from milk solids?) - this isn't necessarily a bad thing...
                                                                                                                                                            2) Added omega-3

                                                                                                                                                            I also have one more thing to add....

                                                                                                                                                            Blueberry bagels vs. blueberry bagels.

                                                                                                                                                            The former having actual wild blueberries, and the latter having blue-coloured sugar bits. NASTY.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Julie Woo

                                                                                                                                                              Why don't we just include:
                                                                                                                                                              Real milk from a cow, sheep, goat, etc. vs. anything calling itself "milk" such as soy "milk," almond "milk," rice "milk," or any other highly-processed food product beverages.
                                                                                                                                                              Ever look at the additive lists on those? Whoa!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                I'll argue that you can have real, unprocessed soy/almond/rice milk if you make it at home - it's basically ground up whatever steeped in water.

                                                                                                                                                                Whether it's "milk" is another issue, though I doubt any of those companies are really trying to pass it off as dairy.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                  Look at the ads!
                                                                                                                                                                  The stuff is sold in the dairy case in stores, packaged in look-alike containers, people are always asking (even on CH) about using it in recipes as dairy, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                  People have come to view it as dairy which is what the soybean producers and their marketing folks have been selling.

                                                                                                                                                                  But what's the point?
                                                                                                                                                                  I bought almond "milk" to try in a cake, thinking that it would have some flavor of almonds, which I love, and wanted to add to the flavor of the batter. None!
                                                                                                                                                                  A vegetarian friend of mine just has her kids pour OJ on their cereal. Whatever gets it wet, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                    It's sold as a replacement for milk, especially for the lactose intolerant or vegans. But it's not pretend milk - I mean, nobody actually expects people to mistake one for the other.

                                                                                                                                                                    And some almond milk tastes like almonds. It just depends on the brand. Hint: don't go for the "lite" stuff - it's watered down.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                      Back when my mom was growing up in Oklahoma, soy milk was "Mil-Not" (milk it's not--get it?). It was vile, but for some reason was cheaper than milk so a lot of folks who didn't have a lot of money (like my grandparents) would use it. A woman in my church who also grew up in Oklahoma thinks that's the only way to make pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                                                                                      But as I said, it was vile. And for many years the dairy people in Kansas wouldn't allow it to be sold across the state line, or at least kept it from being cheaper than "real" milk. I remember big cans of it in the kitchen at my dad's cafeteria, but I don't know what they used it for. (Maybe pumpkin pies?)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                        Replacement. Substitution. Pretend. Make believe. That's playing with words.
                                                                                                                                                                        What's the point? If you can't tolerate lactose or you have foresworn animal products for ethical reasons, give it up. Why accustom yourself to choke down something that doesn't taste good that you can easily live without? Especially processed food imitation "milk" beverages - since most people don't brew their own. Asians do perfectly well without milk. Adults don't need to drink it.
                                                                                                                                                                        The soybean industry has led people - particularly women - to believe that it is a health food that they should add to their diets because they want to increase the market for soybeans.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not lactose intolerant or vegan, but I do like soymilk and almond milk. Not all brands - some taste nasty, some are full of crap - but at least two or three.

                                                                                                                                                                          I also like milk, but I know people who just prefer the taste of the soy, so your theory that everyone's settling for a poor substitute is wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                          And there is a difference in those concepts, it's not just semantics. In one case, you're trying to pass one thing off as another, to "trick" the consumer. In the other, you're offering an alternative that's not the same, but that can be used in similar ways.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                            If we accept your argument, we have to agree that a Kraft single is just as valid as a slice of fine cheddar. Each is what it is, an alternative prefered by different people who know the difference and freely choose.
                                                                                                                                                                            The OP was asking about "fake foods" which I interpreted to mean a processed food which is exactly as you describe it - an "alternative that's not the same" and "can be used in similar ways."
                                                                                                                                                                            I will freely admit to a bias - against processed foods. I eat edamame, i.e. unprocessed soybeans. I don't consume soybeans once they have been heavily processed to produce substitutions for other foods. I also don't eat Pringles even thought they are made from potatoes. Or Minute Rice. Or a lot of other processed foods.
                                                                                                                                                                            For those who prefer the taste of soy milk or Milk Duds, that's their choice. And it's valid.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                              What I meant was, people who drink soy milk know they're not drinking dairy. As opposed to people who buy Kraft guacamole, thinking it's guacamole when it's actually hydrogenated oil.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm gonna chime in and say that we should accept that a kraft single has the potential to be just as valid as a fine cheddar. If a food is good to someone it's good. a fine cheddar should prove itself as better because of what it is. if people are preferring kraft, we shouldn't blame kraft for decieving people, because they label it as it is, there is no intentional deception as piccola said. should the person who likes kraft better feel obligated to spend more on a cheese they don't prefer?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah ... they should blame Kraft.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Listen I'm one big supporter of junk food. McDonald's is on my top five restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                  But no ... a Kraft single does NOT have the potential to be as valid as a fine cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                                                  People don't spend money on better food because they don't know any better. That is a good reason why Chowhound exists, IMO, to clue people that there is something better than the Kraft single.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I lived with people for a few months who thought frozen dinners were the ulitmate and Boone's Farm type wine were delicious. They thought home-made pot roast was 'wierd'. They didn't know any better and they didn't want to know.

                                                                                                                                                                                  My inlaws for the most part would rather eat at the cheap buffet and I have long given up on introducing them to a better class of food, it was too annoying to me and a waste of money.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I respect their tastes. I wish they would expand their horizons, but they don't have that interest. It doesn't make the food they like good or really all that valid.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Kraft does deceive people ... from their pseudo quacomole to cheese slices that the FDA insisted needed to be relabled.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                    They don't deceive anyone who reads a food label or has any kind of refined taste. That is why chowhounds are concerned with it and others who don't care, well, don't care. My dad is a perfect example. He will only eat instant mashed potatoes. He doesn't really care about all the crap in them. I've tried to explain this to him and he just doesn't care. If real mashed potatoes appear on the table at Christmas, he wants my mom to go in the kitchen and make him his own individual serving of instant mashed potatoes. In contrast, the first time I had store bought over-processed guacamole, I knew there was nothing in there that resembled an avocado. I didn't need to read the label to know that I wanted to spit it out. My MIL who bought it didn't read the label, but has the attitude that if it is green and has a creamy consistency, then it is guacamole, regardless of its avocado contents. Some people just don't care about overly processed fakes. I'm sure it has a lot to do with their upbringing and what they are used to, but it's not like when you point it out to them that they feel deceived about the whole thing. They really just don't care.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I do not know if anyone has listed this, but I was horrified to hear on TV quite sometime ago(years)about great "improvements" in artificial flavorings and artificial scents. I am pretty sure that that is what some bakery products now have for the strawberry flavoring. The first taste is almost okay, but then something about the flavor is nasty. I am pretty sure it is fake so =

                                                                                                                                                                  Fake vs. real strawberry flavoring.

                                                                                                                                                                  Artificial vanilla is sad but not as bad.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. No one mentioned REAL New York water bagels as opposed to what is passing for "bagels" these days. Ingredients may be similiar, but the manufacture is missing a step---the pretenders (think Lender's) aren't boiled before they are baked.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Anne

                                                                                                                                                                      euch. And don't get me started on that semi-somewhat-bagel shaped nastiness that you find in the bread section of the supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                      For the longest time as a kid, I thought bagels were hard, nasty dry hunks of bread.

                                                                                                                                                                      I learned. :)