Friday, June 26, 2015

I’m Old Enough to Remember…

…when colas were brown.

It seems to me that all of today’s “bottled” colas, root beers, iced teas, etc. are almost black in colour and that has much to do with the current process of caramelization used to produce the colorant in these liquid products. I don’t think the green bottle had anything to do with the colour being more of a darker brown tone. 

The fact that the process produces a cheaper ingredient than the old one should be of no surprise since it fits with the “bean counter” approach to all businesses now. Apparently it also makes for no calories and most likely because it has no food value at all. I also understand that the process uses a form of “rat poison” to make the darker additive. The MSDS sheet for that modifier says it is quite nasty. Some believe that the colouring can cause cancer but that is a little difficult to prove.

I don’t drink colas anymore after giving up on rum and cokes because they made me feel not so good after consuming a bunch and it was not the rum that did it since drinking just rum on ice or even with soda did not provide the same level of discomfort. So you can have your colas, I am much happier drinking juices instead now and even get some food value in some of them (the ones that provide Vitamin C and other vitamins). The new colas don’t taste anywhere the way I remember the colas of my youth so once again big business, you messed up a good thing in search of greater profits, well for me anyway, not that I can break your bank. By the way, I make my own iced tea at home now as well.

…trough urinals at sporting events.

Specifically, they were most definitely in the men’s’ washrooms in Maple Leaf Gardens, I believe in the Grandstand at CNE Stadium and I think also at Maple Leaf Stadium (all sports venues with historical routes in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Back in the day, you couldn’t buy alcoholic beverages at these venues (I was way too young anyway, drinking age was 21 then), but they did serve very bad soft drinks made with syrup, carbonated water and lots of ice and it was inevitable you had to relieve yourself sooner or later. Generally, that was a break in a game or event (period, inning, quarter, between stock car races, etc.) and you only had so much time to use these ugly long porcelain troughs ( I remember some were more like 50 feet long not the 6-8 feet like in the picture).

So a whole bunch of guys made their way up to these ice-less wonders (seems some pictures showed where someone actually dumped a bunch of ice in them, not at these venues!) and commenced to “draining the snipe”, “doing God’s work”, “taking a leak”, etc. and, lo and behold, the river flowed by as you tried to get this unpleasantness over as quickly as possible. I don’t remember how I actually reached the level of some of these troughs when I was smaller (like 8 or 9), and maybe there were step up stools under the trough but would you reach under that for one. I don’t think so.

And to wash your hands there was this big circular trough thing with soap dispensers set back too far for us little guys and the water was released by you stepping on a foot rail but to get at the water you had to lean over and you got off the foot rail so you had to wait for someone bigger to do that for you. I don’t miss either of these poorly conceived contraptions in a men’s washroom but they were sort of efficient for a larger crowds as long as you didn’t breathe deeply.

…when milk came in a glass jug.

Yes originally it was available in various quart bottles but I am talking about the first attempts to sell it in larger sizes since a quart didn’t go very far in any household with any number of kids or pets. Many argue that milk tastes better in glass bottles or jugs than in cartons or today’s plastic bags.

The inherent problem with the glass jug is that it was hard to handle or pour especially in the hands of young tykes like us and occasionally the plastic handle would just decide to break and you ended up with a milk lake in the kitchen complete with many shards of broken glass. It would immediately seek its way under the stove and refrigerator and hide in various other places. Soured milk does not smell very nice! And like glass soft drink bottles, you had to return them to a store for the deposit, usually to get another jug and they were quite heavy for little tykes to carry and get home in one piece.

There was a time that it was sold in plastic jugs but I think it was very difficult to sterilize those containers properly so they were replaced by today’s bag-o-milk approach which seems to work well enough as long as one of the bags don’t decide to spring a leak or get poked open accidentally. Then you just get a slower version of the milk lake but no shards of glass, thankfully. Those buggers were difficult to find in the lake of milk on the floor. Also the bag-o-milk takes away the return for deposit problem but creates another environmental problem of its own.

Well I’m not going to solve the problem of how milk should be packaged but rest assured that I will continue to buy milk because what would you drink with cookies, if there was no milk—cookies and water? I suppose you would suggest I eat Cheerio’s with some form of juice drink (most of them are just sugar and water with some colouring. Read the label if you don’t believe that one).

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