Friday, February 29, 2008

Häagen-Dazs's Secret Ingredient.

The philosophy of Häagen-Dazs is "to find the purest and finest ingredients in the world and craft them into the best ice cream." So what is it that makes people praise Häagen-Dazs? It's the fat. Their ice cream has a very high fat content. You might think that it would make for a richer ice cream, which it would, but, it's not cream fat, it's vegetable oil.

This is the list of ingredients: cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks, natural vanilla, and vegetable oil. They figured that the cream and the egg yolks wasn't enough fat, so they added some more. Fat, fat, and more fat. Sixty-five percent of the calories is from fat. Whoa!

Today was our semi-annual unlimited ice cream day at work. They stock a small freezer of all kinds of ice cream bars. They have ice cream sandwiches, cookie sandwiches, crunch ice cream bars, and fruit popsicles. But the first thing to go is always the Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars. I think people think that the name automatically denotes quality ice cream. Sure, maybe it has the reputation for that, but I would submit to you to think otherwise.

From Wikipedia (and because of Wikipedia's unquestionable accuracy, I will not pretend to claim authority on this) I learned that the name Häagen-Dazs is not Scandinavian as people think it is. It is just "two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian to American eyes. In fact, the letter combinations "äa" and "zs" are impossible in all Scandinavian languages." It is ironic that although Häagen-Dazs operates in 54 countries around the world, none of the company's 700 stores is in any Scandinavian country. They don't want to be caught for using a phony name. What I think it most hilarious is that the name, as it is pronounced in English, is very close to the Persian (Iranian) term for "garbage can." And that is exactly where I try to put any excess, removable fat. Unfortunately, it is kind of hard to take the fat out of the ice cream.

While I am on the topic, I once tried the Wal-mart brand of fat-free, sugar-free vanilla ice cream. It's nasty. Don't even bother. If you are going to put it in a shake or make something else with it, it would work just fine. But the flavor is awful and doesn't even come close to a regular vanilla flavor. (I put in some pumpkin puree and some spices and it turned out great.) On the other hand, I often buy Kroger ice cream. It is relatively cheap when it is on sale. I never buy their regular version. The light kind tastes just fine. I've tried four or five different flavors and they all taste as good as the regular kind.

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