Monday Links – The some people have real problems and some people have baby carrots edition

Baby carrots as junk food
Photo from jtyost2

The last few weeks have been heavy with Russian/Soviet Jewish links, so we’re lightening things up a little this week with a peek into that phenomenon known as “first world problems,” or, “not really a problem at all.”

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Girl Guide CookiesSave Your Fork
Just when you thought Girl Guide cookies were safe again… no, it’s not trans-fats this time. Now it’s palm oil. Bad for you and bad for the planet, it turns out. But also? Isn’t this all getting a little tiresome? This is just one of those moments when being a wholesomely responsibly and informed consumer threatens to push one over the edge and run screaming for the safety of ignorance and McDonald’s fries. Please, make it stop.

Phone 5 Rumor RoundupMashable
I would like to bring to your attention right now that there are real people out there who spend their time and energy and talents rounding up rumours about phones. I can’t decide if this is one of those moments where I should a) be relieved to live at a point in history when we have the luxury of dissecting the probability of whether a cell phone is going to gain an inch or so in screen space, or b) despair that this is what humanity aspires to given the absence of any immediate threats to our health and well-being (I speak with all the requisite qualifiers that this applies only to this time and place and not to all people equally, etc., etc.).

Meanwhile in China, real people have real problems…
Can You Hear Me, Mao?: Say Protest in China and Your Call DropsGood

And speaking of fake problems…
Colorless Food? We BlanchNew York Times
The real reason artificial food colouring isn’t going away anytime soon is that we don’t like grey food. We want colours, and lots of them. Better make them bright too, please.

Without the artificial coloring FD&C Yellow No. 6, Cheetos Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks would look like the shriveled larvae of a large insect. Not surprisingly, in taste tests, people derived little pleasure from eating them.

How Carrots Became the New Junk Food Fast Company
If you’ve always secretly wondered whether baby carrots are just a scam, wonder no more. Is this one of the most revealing stories ever about how North Americans approach food? Possibly. Food is either healthy or junky, and there’s no in-between. Hence, the baby carrot. Though if you read to the end, there’s a fascinating back story here about a marketer who switches from promoting coke (“It was still his job to sell more Coke. But people were drinking a lot of Coke…there are places in the United States where you have per capitas of 1,000. I can’t get my head around somebody drinking 1,000 Cokes a year.”) to transforming carrots into a snack food. And yes, since you asked, there’s a Twitter account. With over 1,500 followers.

When the recession hit [people] became more likely to buy regular carrots, instead of baby carrots, to save money. But people used to eating baby carrots weren’t taking the time to wash and cut the regular ones. And unlike baby carrots, which dry out pretty quickly once a bag is opened, regular carrots keep a long time. So people were buying regular carrots and then not eating them, and not buying more until the carrots they had were finally gone or spoiled.

Also, this:
Bolthouse’s traditional packaging worked only for the produce aisle and the kitchen fridge, and it asked more of people. “You know, unzip the 2-pound bag of baby carrots …” Reese says, in a weary voice. “Grab a few baby carrots … rezip it …” We might remember this as an unfortunate cultural milestone, the moment when eating baby carrots became too much work…

Genetically modified cows produce ‘human’ milkTelegraph
Some small part of me squealed, “ooh, fun, let’s see how the internets does with this one” when I saw the headline for this story, seeing that it combines some of our very favourite pet controversies: the feeding of infants and genetically modified foods. That’s right, meet the breast-milk giving cow. Ick…

And finally, this week’s “So obvious, it’s not even worth commenting on” award goes to…

Argyle magazine cover riffing off Triumph of the Will

Though perhaps I should thank them for livening up what surely would otherwise have been just another Monday morning with nothing to discuss:


Tweet between @ivortossell and @griffithgreene about Argyle magazine

Tweet between @timfalconer and @griffithgreene about Argyle magazine

See? Lots of conversation.

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  1. kcmeesha on April 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I read about the original baby carrot guy mentioned in the article. He really had a breakthrough. But these people are not so original, the package may stand out in the US but walk into any Asian store and everything is packaged like that- colorful, bright, clear window to see the product. Who knows maybe that’s all it takes.

    • Lea Zeltserman on April 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      In other words, we’re not the only suckers out there :)… Now that you mention it, I actually remember that from living in Taiwan – the snack culture seems much more pervasive than it is here.

      I’ve always felt baby carrots are a scam, so I guess it’s gratifying (if depressing) to realize that’s indeed the case.

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