Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down

I went toddling off to the market today to pick up a few groceries. Leaned over to grab a bag of flour and, when I raised up, there before my astonished eyes was the display for corn starch -- in a brand new type of container. Although I still have a goodly supply in the old style box (see above), I grabbed the new kid on the block because . . . well, just because.

I love this new container. It has a bigger footprint on the pantry shelf than the box but, as the label points out, getting the corn starch out when you want it is no longer a messy proposition. Not only that, the container is a lovely size for other things once you've used up the corn starch. Now that I'm making my own dry mixes for various and sundry food items, I tend to keep an eyeball peeled for suitable containers. And here's the kicker . . . the price is the same on the 16 ounce plastic container as it is on the 16 ounce cardboard box! Woohoo, Argo! Kudos to ya! Thumbs up.

Now that I've said the nice things, let me rant just a little. What I call my therapeutic bitching. Remember that bag of flour I just mentioned? Yeah. Five pounds of my trusty Gold Medal all purpose flour. I love their flour but I cuss every time I open one of their paper bags. I swear they must be using Gorilla Glue to seal the damned thangs. It takes saintly patience and perseverance to separate the folds of paper from the glue weld. Any time I can pry a bag open without making a mess, I feel I should pop the cork on a bottle of champagne because it's such a notably rare occasion. Why, I ask every time, why in bloody blue hell do they package their flour in such a frustrating, belligerent fashion? Do they take perverse pleasure in making me puff up with righteous indignation? Do they think just because they are selling one of the main ingredients for the staff of life (aka bread) they can test my better nature and taunt me with impunity?

Given the simple beauty of the Argo container, the question became even more urgent. So I went online and Googled for enlightenment. Well. I'll be dipped. Gold Medal has come out with a flour container that uses the zip seal type of closure. Haven't seen it myself but I guess it's been around for a little while. Investigating further, I was disheartened to find this more convenient packaging contains less product for a heftier price. That's just not even nice. Shame on you, Gold Medal. Thumbs down.

I don't know what it's like elsewhere but here in the states, more and more different kinds of food are being packaged in resealable containers. The nice thing about it is the containers are usually a heavier plastic and can be washed and reused to freeze food when the original contents have been consumed. Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. Which makes me believe Gold Medal -- and other flour companies -- could do the same thing without hurting their profit margin -- or gouging their customers.

Okay. I've stalled long enough. I have to leave you now and wrestle that flippin' sack of flour into its cannister, hopefully without poofing way too much of it all over way too much surrounding real estate. Then I'm going to fix myself a nice batch of maifun rice noodle stir fry with chicken and I'm going to have it with a nice glass of decent chardonnay. It is entirely possible that I will have managed to stop sulking by the time I'm finished. If not, well . . . heh! I'll just have to compose a serious letter to Gold Medal, that's what.


Wendy said...

Dee, I hear you. One of the highlights of my recent life was the successful opening of a bag of Gold Medal flour. I wiggled and I jiggled and I eased and I swore and, for the first time in I can't remember when, I got that darned bag open without tearing it. Believe me when I say I understand the desire to pop a cork on some bubbly. In fact, upon the accomplishment of that feat, I advised my canine onlookers that, "Mama ought to get a prize for that one!"

Thanks for the heads-up on the Argo container. I'll keep an eye out for that one.

Dee said...

Ah, Wendy. Thank you, darlin'. I had visions of being the only one who had trouble with those darned bags. And congratulations on the successful grand opening! I chickened out and opted for dinner instead of wrestling with the flour sack. Tomorrow. I can face it better tomorrow.

John Bailey said...

I hate packaging. All packaging. But then, I'm a generous fella... :-)

kate et jim said...

I'm not sure - but I think it's Domino sugar that comes in a plastic tub now, too.

As for the paper flour sacks - once I scrap it all up from the counter after opening the bag - I pour it into a zip lock baggy! ;)

Bex said...

I always pour my flours from the bag into a large shallow plastic container in the sink so any spillage is just sprayed away. I think I figured out that trick at about the age of 59 or 60. Took a while, but I got there.

The Old Guy said...

Frustration leads to invention. The latest alternative to bag wrestling is, of course, the plastic pitcher that accommodates the entire 5 lb flour bag. You just lop the top off the bag with a machete or chainsaw, and drop the bag gently into the pitcher. It has two snap-down spouts, one for sugar and the other for flour. Advice: don't try putting both in the same pitcher, unless you're good at altering recipes.

Amazon's got two reviews, both glowing, of this product, but their note says, "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock." Just when I found the pitcher of happiness.

bonnie said...

You ought to try opening a heat sealed cereal inner bag! Handy scissors in hand I just cut em open and stick contents in a plastic container. As for resealable, luncheon meat does that and I have a heck of a time re-sealing the stuff!

Dee said...

Well! I'm certainly not alone in my frustration with certain packaging. John, I love your sweeping review of the whole mess. No ambiguity there, by golly. (grin)

Kate, I didn't know about the sugar. I'll have to keep my eyeball peeled.

Bex, I never even thought of opening the bag while sitting it in something that would let me catch the spillage. Thanks for the idea.

Bill, I ran across that pitcher idea while I was Googling flour packaging. Very nifty -- except I have these perfectly good canisters for flour and sugar already. King Arthur has them too, only theirs cost $9.95 instead of the gentler $5.99 or $7.99 at the link you offered. Your machete or chain saw idea has possibilities, though.

Bonnie, you made a good point. Not all resealable packaging is created equal. (sigh) That's when I resort to my various little storage containers. Scissors. Hmm. I think I'll try scissors on the flour bag today.

Maggie said...

I cook so rarely now that the only packaging overkill I truly hate is my Prilosec. :)

Maggie said...

....OKOK......days later I wonder if you have gone into the city for cream of tartar?

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