Every once in a while, a passing comment made by others sticks in my brain and sort of burrows around until I have to write about it. When we were in New York, we stayed at a pretty swank boutique hotel. It was directly across from Lincoln Center and only a long block from where my daughter’s violin camp was being held. (Camp is sort of misnomer since there were no tents and no cabins, midnight raids or canoes.)

Small pool, but still welcome in the very hot August heat.

I chose the hotel for its location and because it has a pool. If you’ve ever traveled to New York, you will have learned that hotels with a pool are rare and far between. Hubby didn’t want me to give Donald Trump our business, so the only other choice within walking distance of the camp was the Empire. So, here we are…on the rooftop of the Empire hotel enjoying a swim in our bath-tub sized swimming pool. At a table close to the pool is a mom and two children who have just been served a dessert from room service. Piled on top is a fluffy white mound of billowing fresh whipped cream.

The kids poke at it. Taste it. Wrinkle their noses and ask,”What is this?” Mommy picks up a spoon and takes a bite and says, “Mmmm….yummmy.” She encourages them to eat more and says, “Oh…it’s good. It’s like home made Cool Whip.” The kids remain unimpressed. The mom continues to eat the whipped cream making the requisite mommy-enjoys-this-you-should-too sounds.

It’s been two months, and I’m still disturbed by the whole concept. I mean…these children prefer Cool Whip to honest-to-god-real-whipped-cream?!?!

When people find the very taste of chemical laden, faked ingredients more palatable than clean wholesome versions of food, we have a problem. Here are the ingredients as posted on the Kraft website:

Ingredients: WATER, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COCONUT AND PALM KERNEL OILS), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, SKIM MILK, LIGHT CREAM, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, XANTHAN AND GUAR GUMS, POLYSORBATE 60, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR). CONTAINS: MILK.

Real Whipped Cream

“Home Made” Cool Whip, also called Whipped Cream is usually made with…cream, vanilla and a bit of sugar. I’m willing to bet the recipes with the most egregious amounts of sugar don’t even come close to the amount of corn syrup found in the familiar blue and white tubs.

I don’t know why this mom had never given her kids real whipped cream before, nor do I know how she could even utter the phrase, “It’s like Home-Made Cool Whip.” I think that’s why I keep coming back to it. It boggles my mind. I have been buying local and organic as much as possible. The school my kids go to has a real emphasis on healthful foods and a rather strict lunchbox code. Maybe I’m living in La-la land. I think we’d all be better off if we had food with fewer chemicals, simple ingredients and cooked at home, not in a factory.