delicious discourse

why? blue bell, why?

Posted in whim by delicious:discourse on October 18, 2008

Dear Blue Bell,

When Texas adopted me 5 years ago, in true Texan fashion I adopted Blue Bell as my store-bought ice cream of choice. I love your classic flavors; Homemade Vanilla has accompanied every birthday cake, pie, and Thanksgiving dessert. More eclectic or seasonal flavors have been whimsical buys to be enjoyed bite by bite. The first year I lived here, my grandmother and I searched high and low for an elusive flavor recommended by a family friend; something along the lines of coconut almond. When our supermarket searches failed, we called up Blue Bell headquarters to find where the mysterious flavor could be found and discovered. It had been a seasonal flavor and if we were lucky we might get a taste next year. Not only does Blue Bell ice cream have some big Texas taste, it always made me proud to buy Texan.

Over the years I have grown more and more conscious and particular of what is in the food that I, and all Americans, eat. I have started making things from scratch one would normally buy: pastas, breads, ice creams, cakes, cookies, etc, not only because I like the process, but because I know and can control exactly what goes into each recipe. From experience I know that good homemade ice cream has usually less than ten ingredients; all of which are familiar household items with names I have no trouble discerning or pronouncing.

Two weekends ago at a friends lake house I pulled a gallon tub of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from the freezer and dug in for a large bite enjoying every chip, granule of cookie dough, and drop of dairy. Still savoring the bite and anticipating the next one, I automatically picked up the carton, not to look at the calories, but to look at the ingredient list. To my horror the list flowed halfway down the carton. Towards the top of the list “high-fructose corn syrup” jumped out at me. I looked at the half-bite still on my spoon never to looked at the same again. I promptly dropped the guilty bite in the sink and put the carton back where it belonged, in freezer exile. I was and still am bewildered. Why would ice cream, the most comforting and joyous of foods enjoyed for generations, need such an industrial, processed, and damaging ingredient such as high-fructose corn syrup?

In the last few years dormant consciousness has slowly, and more rapidly of late, been awakened both in the consumer and supplier. More and more people are wanting to know what goes into each bite they put into their mouths, and more suppliers are becoming more aware of the consequences to the people and the environment in every bite they produce.

Yes, you are a business, you sell a product. As a business you are governed by supply and demand; as long as you have people to buy your product, you will go on producing it. However, it is in your best interest not to harm your customer, to keep them alive, healthy, and buying ice cream. For the most part, consumers are ignorant. They need to be educated, guided, and sometimes have their hands held. This is the sad truth. So, as a Texan feeding fellow Texans, a Texan representing Texans, it is in your best interest not only to educate your neighbor, but to offer them the best product possible—one without high-fructose corn syrup, one without preservatives, one that is as sustainable as possible for both the consumer and the world in which we live and eat.

With the best of intentions,


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