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Apr 23, 2009 07:42 AM

Convenience Products And The Environment-How Ridiculous Can You Get?

Earth Day was just one day ago, and here I am watching the Today Show and a pancake product was shown-The Batter Blaster. No kidding, this is a can that sprays out pancake batter like canned cheese. Just point, blast and cook! UGH!

I thought that Bisquick's Shake 'n' Pour was bad enough, but this is just mind boggling!

Think of the landfill waste that these lazy, "lowest common denominator" products produce. Not to mention, the unrenewable resources which are used to make them.
To make pancakes, why can't people mix flour, baking powder, milk, and eggs together?? How hard is it? And use a mixing bowl, not a plastic-one-time-use-container!

What other products are really easy to make (even for non-foodies), but are turned into wasteful convenience products?

Pics below.

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  1. I've got a friend who makes scrambled eggs and omelettes with Egg Beaters because it's "more convenient". But here's the kicker: She doesn't like the way they taste!

    2 Replies
    1. re: RosemaryHoney

      I can understand Egg Beaters and like products because while separating eggs is very easy-what if you really don't want the yolks for say, health reasons? Now, if she doesn't like the taste....throw a real egg into the mix!

      1. For people who live alone, the Batter Blaster never gets old or stale and lets you have one or two small pancakes every week as a treat and takes a long time to use up. The batter is tasty and the pancakes come out with a crisp edge and fluffy insides, more like a waffle.

        My 83 year old widowed mother finds it to be a nice treat for herself. She had been having toast and jam for breakfast for a very long time after Dad died. I have taken to mailing her Spam Singles (yes, one slice in a cryovac package) as more of a treat.

        yes. It is a waste if you look at it that way, but single serve stuff is filling a void for more and more people and is not a waste looking at it from another viewpoint.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cathy

          When I make pancakes for just two people, I save the leftovers in the fridge for later. Now for folks who are physically challenged, ok. But, if you're able-bodied, make an appropriate size batch.

          1. re: monavano

            agreed. pancakes freeze and reheat surprisingly well.

          2. re: Cathy

            I think this is a great point. When I lived in Japan, you could get fresh food in single sized portions because people don't have kitchens with large amounts of storage space. It's frustrating living in the U.S. with the expectation that you have a family of 4 or more and need huge sizes of everything. I end up throwing away so much food because I can't eat it quickly enough.

            1. re: Cathy

              I have taken to mailing her Spam Singles (yes, one slice in a cryovac package) as more of a treat.

              What have you got against your mom?

            2. This a real flashpoint issue for me! But I'll rein in.

              My all-time favorite ridiculousness was the peanut butter singles. You know - like cheese singles, wrapped in plastic? Because spreading peanut butter is too flipping difficult and time consuming? A close second is the Smucker's Uncrustables PB sandwiches in your *grocer's freezer.*. Huh? Because so much of my otherwise valuable time is consumed by spreading PB on bread? Oh...maybe it's the laborious task of cutting off the crusts? I never knew I was so oppressed by such tasks.


              7 Replies
              1. re: cayjohan

                The most utterly ridiculous one I know is frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for kid's lunches. What???? Is it too hard to...never mind. I give up.

                  1. re: cayjohan

                    I can't stand this one...if you need a reason not to buy the frozen PBJs, look at the ingredient's cheaper to buy some nice natural peanut butter and nice preserves, put it on whole wheat, and you're not filling your kids with chemical crap. If the parent is lacking time, have the kids make their own lunch. Simple. Problem solved.

                    1. re: Fromageball

                      The battle with our kids was solved pretty simply. They loathed the inexpensive school lunch so I offered Older Kid money to make lunches for herself and younger sister.
                      I gave them a budget and they were forced to negotiate acceptable menus or Younger Kid complained to The Boss.
                      Now they are very successful adults who understand the business world,

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Excellent. I think too few people understand that getting the basics of anything at home at an early age is going to create habits that will likely follow through. Congratulations for a good solution and good "kids."

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Totally! That goes for cooking as well as social skills(manners) of my neices and nephews it's real obvious who practices manners everyday and who thinks they only need to be trotted out for "company"

                        2. re: MakingSense

                          I absolutely love this solution! A win-win-win. I'm going to steal this one when I have kids.

                    2. Another one that perplexes me-those individually wrapped prunes. Do you really need hermetically sealed prunes?

                      37 Replies
                      1. re: monavano

                        No, you don't. From a marketing perspective, it makes prunes more attractive....almost like candy.

                        It never ceases to amaze me at the vast array of "convenience" products that are on the market.

                        *shaking head*

                        1. re: monavano

                          jfood would point out thst you can throw a few in your pocketbook to-go. This is not such a crazy idea if youthink of that use.

                          1. re: jfood

                            HA HA! "To-go!" Think about it! Funny!

                            1. re: jfood

                              But a small sandwich ziplock bag would do the same thing.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Yup. You can place a lot of different words instead of "small sandwich ziplock bag" in your post LW and there will be someone who will find fault in it.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  Well, I just look at the reusable ziplock bag as a better idea than the individually wrapped prunes.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    oh yeah, oops jfood forgot the re-useable concept for zippies. he does not re-use them.

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    Would a prune cozy be more appropriate? ;) I actually really like the tiny Ziploc/Glad containers with a lid. We use/reuse them for all sorts of things--salad dressing, half a tomato, leftover chipotles in adobo. And they'd make a fine prune cozy as well. I still contend "prunes to-go" is a funny concept, though I don't think you intended it to be.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      as much as jfood would like to take credit for the to-go double entendre, he did not. and if jfood takes a zippie with him, these is little if any chance it is returning to casa jfood for round 2. just not in his dna. wow two admissions he will get wrath for.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        Nah. No drubbing from me. Some of us are reusers; some not. Hey - at least I don't reuse foil like my grandmother did - although having gone through what she did back in the 1940s in China when the Japanese invaded, I don't fault her for that!

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          HA HA HA! My mom (age 73) is a foil reuser and it drives me batty! She sometimes starts to fold it back up for me when she's at my house...I throw it away after she leaves. What can I say? I guess we all draw the line at what we're going to reuse and there's nothing wrong with that.

                                          And jfood, you were nominated as the confessor in another thread (was it yesterday--I forget which one now). I think you get a pass on wrath for that.

                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            My mom used to wash ziploc bags, dry them and reuse them and it drove me nuts . . . but now I do the same thing (though only if a good rinsing will suffice - I draw the line at actually taking a sponge to them). There's just something about throwing them out after one use that grates on me . . . likewise I never have to buy tupperware because I refuse to throw out old jars/cottage cheese/yogurt (large) containers.

                                            1. re: Cebca

                                              I save those things too. I use old glass jars to store grains and pasta. I have bazillions. Yes, bazillions.

                                              1. re: Cebca

                                                Yeah, I'm the same way with lunchmeat containers. The Hillshire Farm ultra-thin and hearty slices come in gladware containers(with the store brand equivalent in reynold's containers, but, meh, same thing). So I just wash 'em out, and they make great leftover containers. I live by myself, so that tends to be a good size for leftovers, anyways.

                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                              My Gramma who passed a few years ago was a child of the Depression and even though she lived a financially comfortable life, she never lost the frugality that came from living through that time. She reused foil and baggies and meticulously folded plastic bags into little squares to be stored in a cozy she sewed herself.

                                              When she died and we cleaned out the house, in her spice cabinet we found plastic spice bottles recycled (we presume for bulk spices). I just pulled one out, a bottle for "whole oregano" that has "white pepper" written in Sharpie on the label (and containing it). I also have a jar of Durkee "Hickory salt" that, based on the label, has got to be from the '50's at least! Price: 49 cents for 3 oz.!

                                              Perhaps in honor of her or her influence, the older I get, I have taken more and more to reusing things. If foil hasn't got food residue I'll save it. I keep containers from sour cream, frozen raspberries, etc.. I use plastic grocery bags (from when I forget to grab my reusable ones when running to the grocery) for the bathroom garbage. There is so much waste going into our landfills, I try to do my part in some small way.

                                              We seem to go through a ton of paper towels, I was so glad to learn from the gardening forum that I can add them to the compost pile! No more paper towel guilt! ;)

                                              1. re: Alicat24

                                                A24, I always silently scoffed at my Dad and his super short hair and funny hats. Now I have super short hair and wear funny hats (Mexican Stetson type straw hats).

                                        2. re: jfood

                                          DW stops by the local DD on way home from work once a week or so to get us a coffee treat for the evening. Even tho we have 6 or 7 of those pressed pulp drink holders at home, she has to get another. And we can't throw these out because she needs to save them for the next trip...but they never seem to make to her car.

                                          1. re: al b. darned

                                            Man, you guys gave me the first good laugh of my day! I guess it's sometimes true that the older you get, you become what you always thought you wouldn't! And despite best intentions, your memory can get in the way of said intentions!

                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                              For years my aunt has kept a paper coffee sleeve in her purse so she doesn't have to take a new one with each coffee purchase. Nothing quite like being in an unfamiliar city and having your travel companion whip out her battered cardboard coffee sleeve! Last year for Christmas I gave her a reusable cloth sleeve - apparently it's a big hit at her neighborhood Starbucks.

                                        3. re: jfood

                                          Jfood -- By "pocketbook" I assume you mean purse and not wallet? You must be from New Jersey or thereabouts, as everyone I know who uses that locution is from there.

                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              I grew up using the term pocketbook in South Carolina...

                                                1. re: manraysky

                                                  Ditto Massachusetts, although I remember a confusing incident with my Iowa-bred grandfather where he meant "wallet."

                                                2. re: Sharuf

                                                  No. Jfood wrote pocketbook and he meant pocketbook. You gotta get out of the Bay Area more often.

                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                    I thought the correct New England pronunciation was "pock-a-book."

                                                      1. re: al b. darned

                                                        I'll 3rd that pronunciation...though having grown up here, it's hard for me to think someone would pronounce it any other way. ;)

                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                          Haha, definitely. I'm from CT, but also an overenunciator. That's probably why I just call it a purse.

                                                        2. re: Sharuf

                                                          OK, I see I need to amend the locale of the "pocketbook" locution from "New Jersey" to "much of the East Coast".

                                                        3. re: monavano

                                                          Wait! Aren't they "dried plums" now? My Dad was just complaining to me about this. As soon as they became dried plums, and not the more proletarian "prunes," the price went up significantly. Huh.

                                                          As far as individually wrapped goes? I say: get thee a baggie.


                                                          1. re: cayjohan

                                                            But in a baggie they stick together and 2 prunes create a bond that leads to a goop that gets all over everything and...and... I LIKE the tiny indie-wrapped ones. I can toss one in my pocka-book and have it for a mid-day perk.
                                                            Y'all are makin me feel guilty.
                                                            As penance, I totally re-use baggies, tin foil, plastic grocery sacks (people used to laugh at me for hording and saving plastic sacks-now I use the canvas bags) - I also wash and re-use my vac-seal bags (unless it once held fish or chicken) - I use a plate to cover a bowl short term instead of saran wrap. I'm cool with the tiny wrapped prunes- especially the cherry essence kind. Blah!! Leave us alone!!

                                                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                              Nah...not to worry. mrs jfood uses them all the time.

                                                        4. I actually saw Batter Blaster in the refrigerated case when I was getting yogurt the other day. I have to agree--making pancakes (just for myself sometimes) is pretty darned easy...and if there's extra batter, well, there's breakfast for the next day. It sounds like a bad infomercial--"Want pancakes? You need THE BATTER BLASTER!" Couldn't you see a spoof of this on SNL? Right up there with Toot Tone (equally hysterical)!

                                                          But what struck me really funny was a promotion for "Easy Cheese" on my box of Nabisco graham crackers. "Easy Cheese Original Cream Cheese...Introducing New Easy Cheese Original Cream Cheese pasteurized cheese snack! Now you can have the great taste of cream cheese with all the fun of Easy Cheese." And I'm thinking, what am I missing? What component of using a bar or tub of cream cheese was hard? Maybe people are doing wilder things with cream cheese than I want to know about or discuss here, but I thought it was pretty funny. Oh, and don't forget the "Easy Cheese Original Cream Cheese can be found in the cracker aisle next to all of your other favorite Easy Cheese varieties." I'll pass.