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Nov 25, 2007 12:27 PM

What food products have NOT changed?

I read with great interest the "What food products have changed?" thread and it made me wonder: What are some of your favorite food products from back in the day that have NOT changed? We have so many more products to choose from now, which is not a bad thing, but many of our old favorites have been corn-syrupped into yuckiness (candy) or have had the flavor bred out of them in the interest of a long shelf life (tomatoes). Are there any old timers that continue to rock on like Mick? Foods that you eat and like Proust's madeleines transport you to a different time when even the most hard-core foodies used to get excited about mom and dad bringing home a frozen Sara Lee black walnut cake or a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli?

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  1. Yes- here's a list of (processed) foods from my childhood which had not been desecrated as of the last time I checked:
    Quaker Oats, in the original canister (they haven't found a way to mess up rolled oats yet)
    Thomas' English Muffins
    Welch's Grape Jelly (unfortunately, JIF and Skippy PB have both changed)
    Smucker's Raspberry Preserves
    Three Musketeers bars
    Charms Blow Pops
    Boars Head Frankfurters and Deli Mustard (I still love these)
    Tropicana Pure Premium OJ
    My-T-Fine Chocolate Pudding Mix
    Duncan Hines golden yellow cake mix (can't say the same for the frosting, though)
    Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce (goes great on my T-Day leftovers sandwich)

    9 Replies
    1. re: vvvindaloo

      The Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce and English Muffins both have high fructose corn syrup, which I'm pretty sure they didn't used to have.

      Same thing with the Three Musketeers bars and hydrogenatated soybean oil.

      1. re: Humbucker

        Humbucker is right, much to my dismay. It's actually quite appalling to realize how many of my 'old favorites' have slipped in the HFCS where plain ol' sugar used to be. :(

        1. re: Humbucker

          I had stopped buying Thomas's in favor of Bay's, which have no HFCS, but I recently reread the Thomas's package and the ones I read no longer have HFCS! Curious....

        2. re: vvvindaloo

          Smuckers red raspberry preserves does have HFCS in it. I checked my jars of Smuckers products, and the only line that doesn't have HFCS in it the "Simply Fruit" and naturally their sugar free products.

          I live within a few miles of Smuckers HQ, and I frequently have to wait while train cars of HFCS are moved in and out of the production facility.

          1. re: Kelli2006

            But how long has it been in there? If it's been there since the '70s, can we still call it "changed"? This is my same opinion when it comes to items such as the Three Musketeers bar, which I mentioned above. It was pointed out to me that it contains hydrogenated oil... but that has most likely been the case for at least 20 years....

            1. re: vvvindaloo

              For me, it has to be from the 60s, if not the 50s. I think the 70s is when everything changed.

              1. re: coll

                you're probably right in the sense that pretty much all processed foods have been altered in some way since the '50s. only foods traditionally eaten raw or close to their natural state would qualify as being "unchanged"- probably because the whole concept of industrial food is "improvement", and "improvement" never ends....

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  Very well put, vvvindaloo, although we can't seem to leave well enough alone, even in the 'natural foods' dept. A shame that one can't trust a carrot to be a carrot unless one pays more for the organic version---which I do in the hopes that the *powers that be* will catch on that I would appreciate if they would leave my food unmodified and start making it that way again (read: leaving it alone) for a reasonable sum.

              2. re: vvvindaloo

                Smucker's Low Sugar preserves does not have HFCS. It is not "all natural" or organic or anything, but I do think it is a good true flavor product. Sugar is listed as the second ingredient.

                I believe that Smuckers' use of HFCS does not date from the '70s. I did not notice the use of this product in jams, etc. until the '90s.

                IMO, I think the use of HFCS changed the flavor of their product, for the worse.

          2. Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, which I first bought in the late 70s or early 80s
            Riceland long grain white rice
            Williams Original Chili Seasoning
            Original Shredded Wheat (small biscuits)
            Grape Nuts

            4 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              grape nuts - of course! - i just never ate them as a child, but I love them now. what a wierdly wonderful food item.

              1. re: suse

                I ate them all the time as a kid, heated up til it was practically mush, with raisins and honey.

                Here's one that hasn't changed a bit...those generic frosted oatmeal cookies you could use as frisbees. I have great affection for them.

                1. re: spellweaver16

                  omg... I love and I mean LOVE grape nuts, heated on teh stove with milk and then putting banana slices in it.

                  Mmmmmmmmmmmm reminds me of innocent youth.

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    I did mine in the microwave since I wasn't allowed to use the stove lol

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. R-F spaghetti
                pretty sure that French's mustard has not changed

                1. gulden's mustard. can't have anything else
                  heinz ketchup
                  hellmans mayonnaise

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: mrsbuffer

                    have ketchup and mayo not taken the corn syrup route? or does it just not make that much of a difference in flavor?

                    1. re: suse

                      I think ketchup has the HFCS in it. I remember doing Atkin's and they said to avoid it for that reason.

                      1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                        Heinz does an organic ketcup now that does not contain HFCS. I buy that instead of the original and IMO it's better.

                        1. re: diablo

                          Even the organic Heinz has changed recently- I can't remember what ingredient pushed it off the corn allergy safe list, but it happened earlier this year. Now we are pretty much resigned to homemade ketchup.

                          1. re: anniemax

                            Have you tried the Muir Glen ketchup? I don't think there is any HFCS in that. Homemade?! Yikes.

                            1. re: suse

                              They only list vinegar, which usually means distilled white vinegar made from corn. I still react it to it- I tried using some up for cleaning when I ran out of apple cider vinegar one time, but had to leave the bathroom when I couldn't breath. Being allergic to corn means just about everything from what I eat to household cleaning products, to personal care products have to be homemade. Its a hassle, but it also means I know what's in everything.

                              1. re: anniemax

                                Wow - who knew that white vinegar was made from corn! Man. At least you aren't being fattened up w/ corn like the rest of us along with the cattle of the world.

                                1. re: suse

                                  Second the WOW. Is the mass market white vinager really distilled from corn? I use white mostly for cleaning (but sometimes for Mom's recipes), but I'd love to know for sure, as I am, <sorry> one of those opposed to the ethanol push. (different threads, different sites, let's all get along...)

                                  Is there a white vinegar not made from corn...gads, I'm so clueless?

                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                    It really is made from corn unfortunately. If you want a real eye opener, check out the Corn Allergen List: Not everything listed is always from corn, but trying to get a straight answer from a company isn't always easy, as they often change suppliers so what may be okay this week won't be next week. We joke that if something has more then 4-5 ingredients, its too many to take a chance on with a severe corn allergy.

                                    As for corn free vinegar, I use Apple Cider Vinegar a lot, or white wine vinegar- even for cleaning. The closest to plain white vinegar I've found is the concentrated Surig Essig Essenz vinegar from Germany. From the best I can tell, it is made from birch trees- any emails I sent the company were answered in German. I can find it in the international food isle at Meijers, and since it is so concentrated, it works great for cleaning somethings without diluting- I just cleared a very badly clogged drain with washing soda + Surig vinegar, let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour boiling water through. The Surig vinegar really doesn't have much of a scent, and I've also heard its good for using in making some of the soft cheeses, like cottage, ricotta, or paneer, because it doesn't have a strong vinegary taste.

                                2. re: anniemax

                                  Since I tend to avoid HFCS much of the time, I just checked out a couple of other things- and I don't have that much processed stuff - but hydrolized veg. protein often contains corn - of course, YOU know that already, but it surprised me - and then there was the bit of corn starch in the ranch dressing. Sheesh. It's in freakin' everything. I guess just another reason to get back to basics: beans & rice, meat and three, etc. You can't buy anything processed, can you?

                          2. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                            Ketchup, mustard and mayo are all pretty easy to make. I have to make small batches of ketchup, though, as it ferments into a bourbon smelling ketchup in about 6 weeks in the fridge. It isn't too much trouble since they sell tomato paste in tiny cans.

                          3. re: suse

                            HFCS is BANNED in my house, and it seems more and more products are disappearing from my house.

                          4. re: mrsbuffer

                            I feel like Heinz Ketchup did change at some point over the pat ten years or so. I don't know what it is, but I detect a difference in both taste and texture...