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Lessons from coffee creamer

I’ve been keeping the little empty packet of coffee creamer in one of my desk drawers for probably a year.I saved it because it struck me as so – I don’t know – ironic? Hypocritical? Ridiculous? I thought it might make for an interesting column topic, so I stashed it away to write about sometime. That little packet just goes to show you that you can’t always trust what you read. And you’re getting this bit of insight from, of all people, a journalist.I don’t even remember where I got the packet – a restaurant, somewhere. Probably for breakfast. Probably where coffee abounds. The packet has a tiny picture of the sun rising over rolling, tilled fields. A little barn sits off to the side. And underneath the picture are the words, “Wholesome Farms.” Sounds good. Sounds healthy. Sounds like somewhere I’d like to visit. Underneath the name, though, things start getting weird. “Non-Dairy Creamer” it says in black lettering. It doesn’t get any better when you flip the packet over. Under “Ingredients” is the following: “Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative),” and my personal favorites, “Artificial Colors and Artificial Flavors.”OK. What about “wholesome” and “artificial” is similar? Not too much, methinks. But yet, it’s perfectly all right for food companies to print these two divergent words on the same package.The word “wholesome” has a history of being misused – and that’s because it’s powerful. Attach the word to anything, and immediately images of physical and mental well-being dance through your head. Perhaps the most well-known use of the word is the “Holsum” bakery company, famous for its enriched white bread. But last time I checked, the whiter the bread, the less nutritional wholesomeness it contains. Yet there it is, emblazoned right on the bread wrapper, albeit wildly misspelled. Yes, I was appalled enough by the Wholesome Farms Non-Dairy Creamer to keep the empty packet. But I guess it didn’t concern me enough. The wrapper was, after all, torn open, which means I must’ve dumped it in my cup of Joe. But it might explain one thing. I’ve taken to drinking my coffee black since then. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram. She’s finally able to throw away the Wholesome Farms packet out. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, cclick@citizentelegram.com.


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