Grocery surprises: frozen cheese sandwiches & oatmeal in packets

I have always loved grocery stores.

Grocery shopping pattern set by Mom

The pattern for my shopping was set when I was a tiny child. Once a week until I ran away from home to be a Hippie, I walked with my Mom up and down every aisle in the Giant Food Store in Mt. Rainier, Maryland. She always had a list, but she also knew exactly what she needed to keep her pantry stocked. She taught me to shop the whole store, to remember prices, and that the list could be flexible.

Delicious & Requires measuring equipment

Years in grocery stores

I spent all day every day in grocery and drug stores in the 1970s when I worked for a San Francisco food broker and a national manufacturer. With retail and wholesale accounts from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz, I got to see the differences between chain and independent stores in their approaches to sales and marketing, and the differences among stores within chains as their managers tweaked their shelf facing plans based on their customers’ needs. It was endlessly interesting.

I walk all of the aisles today, and like to keep track of new products and new categories. Sometimes, I’m surprised.

Frozen Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Except for peanut butter and jelly, no sandwich is easier to make than grilled cheese. I was surprised to see Chef MJ Brando American and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in the freezer section at Rainbow Foods in Saint Paul. As in Star Wars, there is another: you can find Frozen Swiss Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on the Brando website.

Still reeling from cheese sandwich shock, I had a bad feeling, and Googled “frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” I am apparently the last person in America to discover that PBandJ can also be found in the freezer aisle, in Smucker’s Uncrustables.

When did “packet” become the measure of oatmeal?

True confessions: I own seven sets of measuring spoons, three sets of measuring cups, and I am not afraid to use them.

Wandering in the oatmeal aisle, I found 21 products that required measuring cups or spoons, and 47 with twice as many facings with products that use “packet” as the unit of measure.

When did this happen? How hard is it to measure a quarter of a cup of dry oatmeal? Has America lost its measuring cups and spoons? Has anyone noticed that the cost per serving of oatmeal-in-packets is ridiculously high?

This may be related to the rise of the single-cup coffee maker, which, in addition to generating tons of plastic trash, may have deprived several generations of the technical skills required to use a measuring tablespoon.

About susangainen

Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian. Abstract Painter. Writer. Teacher. Explorer.
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1 Response to Grocery surprises: frozen cheese sandwiches & oatmeal in packets

  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, It is awesome.

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