Is Toll House Recall a Turning Point?
When I blogged the other day about Nestle's recalling its refrigerated Toll House cookie dough products, reader "Chasmosaur1" commented:
You know what kills me? It is SO not hard to make Tollhouse/chocolate chip cookies. I've never understood why they prepackaged cookie dough. The most expensive thing are the morsels....
And while I'm sorry that anyone was sickened by the Nestle products (which were contaminated with E. coli bacteria), perhaps this incident may prove a turning point. Might more of us start to bake and cook more of what we eat, instead of allowing big companies to do it for us? Might more of us come to recognize that, by and large, foods we make ourselves are better for us than are processed foods we get in boxes, bags or tubs at the grocery store? And might we begin to free ourselves from the hold processed food has on us?
Lest you think I'm being preachy here, I have purchased Toll House cookie dough in the past. My kids got the idea from friends that the stuff was fun to eat straight from the package -- no baking required! -- and that mixing blobs of it into a bowl of vanilla ice cream made for a terrific dessert. (Some nutrition-writer mom, right?) But like many parents, I've learned that sometimes indulging your kids in a whim is the best way to get it out of their systems. It didn't take long for them to realize that the dough tasted artificial.
The thing is, I was counting on Nestle's dough to be artificial; had I assumed otherwise, I wouldn't have allowed the kids to eat it raw, just as I don't allow them to eat home-made cookie dough raw for fear of salmonella's lurking in the raw eggs. Now I know I should have heeded the tiny-print package warning against consuming the Nestle dough unbaked. Turns out there are actual eggs in there, after all. In any case, my kids have moved beyond that regrettable raw-dough-and-ice-cream phase.
These days, if one of the kids wants cookies, he or she gets out the butter, eggs, flour and other ingredients and makes them from scratch. I can't remember when we've last bought a package of Oreos or other baked goodies. The kids have gained an appreciation for real ingredients and for the magic of baking. They think it's fun, and they're proud to know how. Our family has joined many others in understanding that half the fun of food is in helping to prepare it.
Perhaps some of the families who've counted on Nestle to mix their cookie dough for them will be inspired by the recall to try making their own. Thus empowered, who knows what they might cook up next?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
June 24, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , Food Safety and Recalls , Nutrition and Fitness
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