Pepperidge Farm Adventure Maze


So, right before new years, I went on adventure looking for mini cocktail rye breads from Pepperidge Farm. They used to make one called Jewish Rye, and Pumpernickel.

The Jewish Rye was cool because it contained ground caraway seeds instead of the standard whole caraway seeds. I have had bouts with Diverticulitis, so I try to stay hydrated & avoid tiny sharp seeds. Caraway absolutely ruins sauerkraut, but it is good in rye bread.

Pumpernickel is cool because it essentially is named for the devil’s farts… and if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is. This is also code in my household for “I am always right.” I told my wife the name origin behind it, she said there was no way, Googled it… and, like I said… I am always right.

I know that the other manufacturer, S. Rosen, make cocktail-sized rye and pumpernickel bread… but the rye is not seedless. Apparently Hanky Panky means something entirely different in some parts of Ohio.

My wife likes to make this stuff for New Year’s that’s like swiss cheese, lemon-pepper, and mayo on the cocktail-sized Jewish Rye then toasted in the oven. It’s delicious. I like to make little mini open faced Reubens. The pumpernickel would be an acceptable alternative if I absolutely can’t find the seedless rye.

Because I’m weird and can’t leave anything alone, we have this…

I, of course, posted it on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook. I tagged Pepperidge Farm & Pepperidge Farm Cares. To their credit, they did reply:

I did tag all the stores that I could in the photo on Instagram and Facebook, but none of them have taken the bait.

I had to turn it up a notch, to which they did not reply:

Hello, 

I was wondering if anyone had time to try and complete my maze while considering bringing back cocktail-sized Jewish Rye. 

The ground caraway was awesome, because it isn't a potential diverticulitis disaster like whole seeds are. 

My wife wpuld [sic] use it to make this delicious lemon pepper cheese appetizer, and I like to make tiny Reuben sandwiches and pretend I am a reformed King King that no longer has to eat people sacrificed to me on Skull Island. 

The mini pumpernickel is cool just because of the etymology. I mean? It has to be the most metal bread out there.  

How can you discontinue such wonderful things?

All of that just says:

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone had time to try and complete my maze while considering bringing back cocktail-sized Jewish Rye.

The ground caraway was awesome, because it isn’t a potential diverticulitis disaster like whole seeds are.

My wife wpuld [sic] use it to make this delicious lemon pepper cheese appetizer, and I like to make tiny Reuben sandwiches and pretend I am a reformed King King that no longer has to eat people sacrificed to me on Skull Island.

The mini pumpernickel is cool just because of the etymology. I mean? It has to be the most metal bread out there. 🤘

How can you discontinue such wonderful things?

Also, AI generated art seems to be the cool thing these days, so I tried to make this on a few different ones to go along with the blog post:

King Kong feasting upon a stack of tiny Reuben sandwiches on tiny bread.  There is a stack of sandwiches in the background resembling the Empire State Building.  it is evening with a full moon in the clear sky.  King Kong has a highly detailed face where you can clearly see his expression of pure satisfaction.

I may have to buy a gorilla suit and make some tiny Reubens with the S. Rosen bread… and convince the wife or kids to take my photo.

Or, I may have to make a maze for S. Rosen, featuring a caraway seed that must make the journey through my guys without getting stuck, causing inflammation & a possible infection. Or maybe it has to make its way through a grinder before beign added to the dough & baked?

I doubt than anyone at Pepperidge Farm or Pepperidge Farm Cares is going to complete my maze. But, if they do, you can thank me later.

As far as discussion here, which I always ask for yet rarely get in the comments, let me know what you do with mini cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread.

Also… Ler’s discuss Reubens. Russian or Thousand Island? Regular rye or marbled? Do you add anything like bacon or swap out corned beef for Pastrami? Do you ever use Havarti instead of Swiss? Grilled in a pan, or on a panini press? I should blog about Reubens. Mmm. I’m hungry.

Also, please, please, complete the maze! Send me the results, post & tag me!

The most important takeaway is that if I tell you something, I am always right. Pumpernickel.

Green Potatoes 6: Night of the Living Spuds 🥔


Are you with me so far? I bet you thought I forgot about #GreenPotatoGate. Maybe you had, and wish I had. I think this may be it, as I’m never going to get a full response from Giant Eagle, and I did get some coupons! First, are you all caught up?

Had enough? Of course you haven’t. Read on, brave soldiers for spuds and titans for tubers!

As promised, I did receive some coupons from Tasteful Selections. Way to stand behind their products! There was a cool ingredient card too, so I may check that out. I do like purple potatoes.

Giant Eagle reached out with a DM on Twitter, then nothing. 🦗🦗🦗

And…

I submitted some shenanigans to Shop ‘n Save via webform, but haven’t heard anything back via email.

Although, I did get a Facebook message:

That was anti-climactic. They didn’t comment on the maze or the green potatoes.

I did, however, get one super awesome response to a positive message that I sent out about some potatoes from The Little Potato Compnay that I bought at Shop ‘n Save. I reached out like this:

From: Me <me@nunya.biz>
Date: Sun, Jan 1, 2023 at 10:44 PM
Subject: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: <feedback@littlepotatoes.com>

Salutations Spud Specialists!

I just wanted to reach out to thank you for your tremendous tiny tubers, or your perfect potatoes if you will.

Saturday I picked up a bag of the Terrific Trio style spuds from Shop ‘n Save in Heidelberg, PA, …and they were all fantastic.

You may think it’s odd to be so elated with a perfect product, but lately I have been on a crusade of sorts as I feel that nearly ¼ of all my purchased potatoes are green and arguably poisonous.  Albeit very slightly poisonous.

I eat a lot of potatoes.  So I buy a lot of potatoes.  It seems like no one is immune to the great greening that has taken place iver the last few years.  Yours were absolutely delicious though.

If you would like a window to my spiral into spud shenanigans, please feel free to catch the saga as it has unfolded so far at my blog:  

https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/tag/green-potatoes/

I’m sure that I’m up to at least 2 readers semi-regulartly that aren’t me or AI bots.  Well, I think.

I draw mazes.  I sent mazes to some of your competitors as a means to get their attention, and perhaps stand out among all rhe other missives.

I am sending them you you as a thank you.  Please, enjoy them and pass them along to your potato people!  I would love if you got a chuckle out of them and if you took the time to try them out.

I really appreciate your multiple avenues of contact, prominently displayed right on the packaging, and a super easy to navigate website.  I need to poke around the recipes!

I hope the new year brings you many new opportunities, great joy, & happiness.

Auld Lang Syne

-Eric

PS – Also attached is a photo collage of breakfast home fries with those fantastic tri-color delicious beauties.

And attached this photo (along with my potato mazes):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wp-1672606172129.jpg

And I got this response:


From: Feedback feedback@littlepotatoes.com
Date: Tue, Jan 3, 2023 at 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: Me me@nunya.biz

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for the aMAZEing feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed your Terrific Trio home fries!

Don’t hesitate to check out our website at https://www.littlepotatoes.com/en/recipes/ for recipe ideas and upcoming contests. Also feel free to check out our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/LittlePotatoCo ) to watch our video recipes and share with other The Little Potato Company lovers.

Have a terrific day!

Madison Marano | Consumer Service Coordinator

direct 587.460.2095 | main 780.414.6075

email madi.marano@littlepotatoes.com | web LittlePotatoes.com

11749 – 180 Street | Edmonton, Alberta | T5S 2H6

Neat!

I will be looking for more of their products too.

I think we can all agree, if you start seeing less green potatoes in the grocery store, that was clearly all my doing.

Please try to solve the potato mazes if you’re into that.

Green Potatoes 5: From Russets With Love 🥔


Well. The garden plot thickens. Or something. I have a few more potato-related emails. All signs point to the grocery stores being at fault, and funnily enough the grocery stores have not replied, at all.

This happened, and we got a refund from Instacart. It’s not green potatoes, but they definitely weren’t ready to just toss into the crock pot with a roast.

Tasteful Selections - Organic Golden Potatoes Sprouting Eyes

If you’re wondering what the hell I am talking about, you must have missed the saga as it uprooted…

And that brings us to the following…

Dear Eric,

Thank you for reaching out. It’s always great to meet another potato enthusiast! As you may know, while we don’t represent any one brand, Potatoes USA works on behalf of more than 2,000 potato growers and handlers across the country to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. We’re happy to provide general feedback, and the individual brands and retailers can tell you more about their practices.

As far as green potatoes go, you’re correct that the color signifies the build-up of solanine. It’s a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. If there’s slight greening, you can cut away those green portions before cooking and eating. Generally speaking, you’re unlikely to ingest enough solanine to do you any harm.

However, I know you’re a potato skin fan (and rightly so). One bit of good news on the nutrition front is that the only nutrient significantly lost when the skin is removed is fiber. (A medium (5.3 oz) potato contains 2 grams of fiber with the skin and 1 gram of fiber without the skin.) Potassium and vitamin C are found predominantly in the flesh.

Potato growers take a number of steps to reduce greening, including maintaining enough soil cover over potatoes in the field and storing harvested potatoes in facilities with minimal light.

If you aren’t already, I’d encourage you to store your fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place. If you’re finding green potatoes upon returning from the store (or after Instacart delivery), you can often return them.

Thanks again for your note. We hope you have a spud-tacular holiday season, filled with plenty of potatoes.

Cheers,

Btj

Bonnie Johnson, MS, RDN

bonnie@potatoesusa.com

Director of Nutrition + Industry Relations

O: 303.873.2328

C: 702.217.3055

3675 Wynkoop St.

Denver, CO 80216

PotatoesUSA.com

So, of course I replied.

Hello Btj,

Thank you for your response!  I really appreciate your time and the imparted potato knowledge.

In my reaching out to several potato producers, it seems that they all want to lay the blame on the distribution and storage by the grocers.  

So, the “all the vitamins are in the skin” that I got from my grandma when I was a kid was just potato public relations? 🤣

No matter, I agree they are delicious.

Please, enjoy the attached mazes with your friends, family, & co-workers!

I hope you enjoy you have a pleasant holiday season and a happy new year, and a great going season next year.  I know I am looking forward to planting some potatoes myself.

I may leave out some potato candy for Santa, if I don’t eat it all!

Tuber-ular Tidings to you & yours!

-Eric

I sent the mazes again, like an idiot. Ha ha. I forgot I had sent them previously. No reply or acknowledgement this time.

This came as response from Tasteful Selections, which are the ones pictured above:

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for contacting us. I am terribly sorry for the poor experience you had with our product. I can assure you that the quality you saw is not our standard, and for this I apologize.

We strive to ensure that every package of potatoes that leave our farm is handled with the utmost care in order to deliver a quality product to our consumers. Unfortunately, sometimes temperature changes and changes in light make potatoes break down or decay faster than they normally would. 

The greening you’re experiencing occurs when potatoes have been exposed to too much light, either natural or artificial, that gives the potatoes a sort of “sunburn.” While greening is a result of light exposure, the visible greening can be delayed. Potatoes exposed to light may be packaged and continue to green beyond our last inspection point. We make every effort to avoid this, however, in your case we were not successful. You can cut the green out of the potatoes and use the rest (although that’s a bit tougher with small potatoes), but eating the green portion of the potato can give a very bitter flavor.

Here’s some additional information if you’d like to see more: https://www.potatogoodness.com/potato-greeningfact-check/

I am sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. We stand by our products and you should not have had to have an experience like this. I would like to make it up to you by offering you a product voucher to hopefully help compensate you for your troubles.

If I may please have your mailing address, I would be happy to send you a product voucher straight away. Again, my personal apologies for the frustration this has caused you. 

Sincerely,

Jenny

RPE Inc. support@rpespudassist.freshdesk.com

TastefulSelections.comimage

So, I wrote back:

Hello Jenny,

Thank you for your response!  I have been exasperated lately with the amount of green or sprouting potatoes from the grocery store.  It is a consistent issue across brands and stores, and whether we use a service like I Instacart or pick a bag ourselves.

I understand, from your reply among others, that the issue is most likely occurring after it leaves the potato farm.

Can retailers like Aldi, Giant Eagle, or Target be better educated about potato shipping and storage?

Instacart already refunded us for the purchase of the recently sprouting spuds as that was clearly a shopper error.

If it was spring, I would just plant them!  You have a delicious variety of golden potatoes, perfect for home-fries!

Sometimes, the green potatoes don’t reveal themselves until you crack open that bag about to prepare a meal.

I would just like some sort of solution going forward.  What can the potato industry do to hold grocers accountable?

If I wanted the gastrointestinal distress and discomfort associated with eating green potatoes, I would just dine at Taco Bell or Pizza Hut.  Right?

My mailing address is…

     Eric AiXeLsyD

     #### Nunya St. 

     Bidness, PA  #####-####

…but again I’m not really looking for free potatoes, I just want to get what I pay for.  

I appreciate you reaching out, and pride in the quality of your product.  Please find my gift of the attached potato mazes, and share them with your co-workers and friends if so inclined.

Have a very starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!

-Eric

And I got a reply:

Hi Eric,

Thanks so much for getting back to me. I definitely understand your concerns. Our sales & business development team are already working with Produce Managers and providing resources for storing and caring for potatoes. We’ll continue to do our part, however, it ends up being the responsiblity of Produce Managers to not only train their staff, but also make sure they are following through with the potato best practices. 

I have a few coupons headed your way. 

Sincerely,
Jenny

I like free potatoes. I will be on the lookout for potato vouchers!

Now, I have reached several road-blocks with getting a message to Aldi. They apparently do not like to give out email addresses.

I dug up some email formats & corporate names on teh Google mosheen and sent this, also to no avail (so far):

Greetings My Frugal Friends,

I hope you are gearing up for a pleasant, festive, and relaxing holiday season!  I appreciate your role in bringing food & other goodies to our homes.

I write to you today with some tuber related shenanigans I have noticed over the last few years.  I have submitted a missive to your contact form at the Aldi website to no avail.  I have been checking my junk/spam folder too.

I also tried reaching out via Facebook and Twitter… only to be told that your social media teams are unfathomably unable to forward messages to your customer service team or provide an email address.  I had to do some Googling, and I pray to a higher power that this reaches a live intelligent and empathetic human being.

I love potatoes.  At rhe risk of sounding like Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba droning on about shrimp…

I love potatoes.  I like home fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, cheesy potatoes, hassleback potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato candy, potato soup, lyinnaise potatoes, potato filling, tater tots, potato salad (hot or cold styles), shepherd’s pie, and sometimes even potato pancakes.  Twice baked potatoes are a fantastic treat too.  I hear potato vodka is good too, but I am not much of a drinker.  Perhaps a potato beer would be more my speed if such a thing exists?

Nearly every bag of potatoes that I have purchased from your and/or your esteemed competitors over the last few years has had an alarmingly large amount of green solanine-filled potatoes.  Glycoalkaloids are not our friends!  On the mild end, eating green potatoes would be like chasing a Taco Bell meal with a laxative.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was one night at dinner when ready to bake 8 potatoes as a side to chili… 2 of the potatoes were totally green on the outside.  They had been delivered by Instacart, but the green potatoes were not evident upon eying the outside of the bag.

That’s ¼ of rhe potatoes unusable for their intended purpose.  Yes, I could have peeled away the green, but who wants a baked potato with no skin?  That’s just craziness.  Do I get ¼ of my money back?

I have written to and received replies from quite a few potato farms, and they all seem to point the finger at the end retailer… which in some cases is Aldi.  They cite importer handling and storage… specifically exposure to light and longer than optimal time frames.

Perhaps the powers that be within your fine organization can put their heads together, asses your handling of these tiny starcchy underground gifts from heaven, and come up with ways to prevent waste?  It may need to be a highly coordinated effort with logistics, distribution, shipping, and warehousing.

As an effort to aid exercise in meditation and clearing your thoughts, I have attached some potato themed mazes.  Mazes and labyrinths have a history of assisting people to achieve a zen like state.  Perhaps this will provide the needed clarity to prevent ultra violet potato decimation.

You have a fantastic business and I appreciate your effort to bring quality goods to the more budget-concious among us.

If requested, I can even forward my original (perhaps lost?) message.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts on the matter!

Let’s root for a starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!
-Eric

So, maybe that will get something. Maybe not. Giant Eagle hasn’t bothered to reply either.

Oh well. Do you think I’ll ever get a meaningful reply from Aldi or Giant Eagle? I am starting to doubt it.

I know we have received green potatoes from Target too. I’ll have to bark up their tree next.

Green Potatoes 4: The Search for Spuds 🥔


The starchy spud saga continues. This time I got an email from Sun-Glo who packs potatoes for Side Delights. Side delights was the brand I caught at Giant Eagle in Bridgeville that was a bag of entirely green potatoes. I probably reached out to this company twice, or maybe three times. I did not purchase that bag, and I have not had a concrete reply from Giant Eagle or Aldi USA yet. The potato farmers seem to place all the blame at the feet of the grocer.

Good afternoon,

I appreciate your email about green potatoes.

The one thing I do want to stress to you is this…..we have USDA and internal inspectors in our warehouse at all times. If the potatoes were green in a bag, they would not pass our inspections and would be not pass. When the potatoes leave our plant, they have passed a USDA inspection.

The one thing we can’t control is how fast or slow the retailers turn their inventory. Potatoes are going to turn green under artificial lights, there is nothing we can do to control this.

There is a website that you might find helpful with a lot of ‘potato knowledge” that the Idaho Potato Commission answers most questions you might have about potatoes. Idahopotato.com

I appreciate your feedback.

Thanks,

Jill Crapo Cox

VP Sales

208-356-7346 ext. 214

208-313-6350 cell

You saw the mazes, right?

I also included these photos with my reply:

Side Delights - Green Bag of Potatoes at Giant Eagle

And, I feel like I am ratcheting up the ridiculous with each reply.

Hello Jill,

Thank you for the reply! It is interesting to learn that Sun-Glo and Side Delights potatoes are one in the same!

I am sure you have strict quality control standards, that’s why it is so surprising to see so many green potatoes out in the wild.

I did see but did not purchase a nearly entirely green bag of Side Delights potatoes this Sunday at Giant Eagle in Bridgeville PA.

Monday at the South Fayette PA Giant Eagle, I noticed a fine looking bag of potatoes with the Sun-Glo label.

I have been reaching out to as many potato farmers as I can. The issue seems to go back a few years, and I confess I have not payed much attention to brand. We typically shop at Aldi and Gaint Eagle, but sometimes Shop ‘n Save, Target, Walmart, or even BJ’s Wholesale.

What has been brought to light (pun intended) is that Giant Eagle and Aldi must be improperly shipping, storing, or handling potatoes across the board.

The common denominator seems to be too much artificial light?

Maybe they need to start selling potatoes in rooms with red lights like darkroom back in the 1900’s when people had to develop film.

I have reached out to Aldi and Gaint Eagle to no avail (so far). They are not as quick as you at returning inquiries.

I will most definitely have to do some more research on the Idaho Potato website.

I do grow some of my own in the summer, but I am hardly a titan of tubers, or even a sultan of spuds… perhaps a prefect of potatoes? I could grow some more if I learn to store them properly myself.

I should blog more potato recipes. I cook a lot of potatoes.

Please, find the attached mazes for your enjoyment, and share them with your co-workers. I will also attach the photos of the bag I saw Sunday at Giant Eagle.

Perhaps my mazes can be used in potato safety & storage education going forward?

I appreciate your time, your concern, your knowledge, and your zeal for getting directly to the point. Honestly, and probably obviously, that is something I need to work on.

🥔 Starch-cerely,
-Eric

If you’re interested, keep following my twitter, or check the posts out in order:

This makes me think of the books Idiot Letters and The Complete Idiot Letters by Paul Rosa, which probably started all of this with me. I used to also write letters via snail mail before email became a thing. Somewhat less inspiring but still awesome were Ted Nacny’s Letters from a Nut and the Emails from an Asshole website from John Lindsay.

Green Potatoes 3: Probably Not The Last Crusade🥔


Well, the replies are starting to come in. While this certainly isn’t an issue as pressing, depraved, or salacious as the lady who put the pee in potato at Walmart that one time, it does seem to resonate with people.

What am I talking about? The story so far:

Also, to prove and share my love for potatoes, check out these recipes:

My post on Nextdoor had some strong opinions in the comments. My favorite implied that like bananas, I should just let the green potatoes ripen. Oops.

First, I wrote back to Alsum:

Hello Christine!  

Thank you so much for your prompt reply!  This was a 5 lb. bag of Russet potatoes, I believed purchased at Aldi via Instacart.  Unfortunately, I disposed of all the packaging.  I cooked the whole bag!  Well, everything that wasn’t green.  It would have been purchased at the Aldi in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania… earlier this week.  I really don’t want a rebate or anything.  I just want to stop getting green potatoes.  Can you imagine if 3 out of every dozen eggs were unusable?  Or 5 slices of every loaf of bread just moldy?  I may have to reach out to Aldi regarding their shipping/storage practices… and Instacart about their selection process.  I am sure you take great pride in your potatoes.  I know how I feel with a back yard garden, and I’m only feeding a family of 4.  You guys must feed millions.  I, really though, am going to reach out every time I get green potatoes, no matter the producer.  We, as a society, can’t afford to not get the most value out of a dollar.  I hope everyone can work together to get perfect produce into our kitchens.

Thank you for your time!

-Eric

And, they wrote back to me:

Hi Eric,

These are unique potato mazes! Thank you for sharing along with where you recently purchased your Alsum 5 lb. russet bag of potatoes. I’m hopeful the hands shopping for your produce through Aldi can be educated to remove from the store shelf any green potatoes to prevent this poor experience going forward. It might be worth the call to bring this to the retailers attention to help everyone have a good potato eating experience and use the bag in full.

As a consumer, I couldn’t agree more we need to stretch our food dollar, and it’s important from farmer to retail grocer to work together to provide a quality product.

We hope you give us another try.

Take care,

Christine

I wrote back once again:

Thank you Christine,

I have reached out to Aldi via web contact form and Facebook, but they are not nearly as quick as you with a response.  I am sure you, like all of us, feel the pressure of stretching a dollar lately.  I will most certainly give Alsum and Aldi (and even Instacart) another try.  Hopefully they can adjust their potato handling process.

Thank you so much for your quick, informative and warm response.  I hope the mazes can bring a smile to your co-workers’ faces!

-Eric

Then, my mass email reached Sterman Masser Potato Farms:

Good Afternoon Eric,

You have a knack for writing, I enjoyed your email!

I am very sorry to hear about the many “green potato’s experiences”  you have had.    This particular purchase does worry me, we have not supplied potatoes to Giant Eagle since Sept. 29, 2022.  So if they are our spuds, they were packed over 9 weeks ago and they would most definitely be green or breaking down.   (We suggest a 4 week shelf life).

You are correct in saying eating green potatoes can be harmful, that is true but only if consumed in very large amounts.  To play it safe, we tell everyone just to peel the green away or just throw it out. 

Do you happen to have the kwik lock (plastic tie) to seal the bag? If so, can you tell me what the 6 digit numbers are?  I am sorry I cannot be of much help on this one, but I would let the produce manager know so he or she can clean out their out of date bags on their produce shelf.

Thank you for your message,

Rachel

That was via webform, so I sent the potato mazes and this:

Hello Rachel,

Thank you for such a quick informative reply!  I hope the attached mazes can entertain you & your co-workers.  I believe I will follow up with Giant Eagle and other local grocers about the green potato issie.  It seems that no potato farms are letting green potatoes out the door, but improper storage may be leading to green toxic tubers.

I must confess I have never put much thought into the choice of brands of potato.  I just go with whatever is on the produce shelf.  I will have to seek out Masser Spuds with intent from now on.  

I don’t believe your product specifically was one that has recently been GOA (green on arrival) or turned quickly once it reached my home.  I had some issues most recently with Alsum.  In a bag of 8 total potatoes, 2 were green and unusable as baked potatoes to go along with the delicious chili that my wife made last week.  It’s delicious because she follows my recipe although taking some unnecessary liberties on portions.  The kids are crazy because they say hers is much much better than mine.  I agree with them, because I may be crazy, but i am not stupid.

I also spotted an entirely green bag of Side Delights potatoes at the aforementioned Giant Eagle yesterday.  It lends credence to the theory that Giant Eagle may need to take more care of their precious potato produce.  A lot of people may not understand.  I posted on social media asking if others had noticed the issue.  On Nextdoor someone suggested that like bananas, I just let them ripen at home. 🤦‍♂️

Sadly though, the problem does not seem limited to any one store or potato farm.  The Alsum bag with one quarter of the bag unusable was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  I feel like for the last 2 years, I have been getting a much greater number of green potatoes from Giant Eagle, Shop ‘n Save, Aldi, Walmart, Target, & even BJ’s Wholesale.  It is usually only with bagged potatoes… not ones that I would pick fresh.  There is the convenience of ordering from Instacart or Target home delivery.  Arguably they should be picking better produce, but it is hard to see the whole bag.  

Potatoes usually don’t last long here before they’re consumed.  We grow our own in the summer, but they cannot fuel our entire consumption.  Our small yard and time available are limiting,

If only Mythbusters was still a thing, perhaps they could tell us how much green potato we could safely consume before it felt like we had one of everything from the Taco Bell menu with a side of possible neurological complications.

Thank you once again for your time, and I do hope you enjoy the mazes.

Thank you!

-Eric

And that’s about it for now, other than some standard auto-replies, like this one from Aldi via Facebook Messenger:

I know you’re absolutely riveted by the saga and glued to the screen with anticipation of a solution to the great green potato crisis. Try the potato mazes while you wait!

Green Potatoes 2: Return of the Glycoalkaloids🥔


We’ve established that I’m odd, right? If you have read much here, you know that I like to write emails or letters that blur the line between reality and insanity. Sometimes it’s a real-ish request. I’m using ridiculousness to call attention to a situation.

Did you see the last potato related post? Short version: I’m tired of getting green potatoes. What can we do to stop it?

I’ve started to reach out via emails, contact submissions forms, and even Facebook Messenger to some potato farms & stores.

This time, I attached some mazes though. 🤣

Why? Why not?

Here’s pretty much what they all got…

Salutations Spud Specialists,

I hope this email finds you well.  Living up to stereotypes, my Irish ancestors would be proud at my levels of potato consumption.  I’ll eat them just about any way they can be cooked.  Keel me over with carbs, please.  

I have noticed a trend with potatoes over the last few years and it really has my mind reeling with questions.  You are not alone.  This applies to nearly every [expletive removed for politeness’ sake] bag of potatoes I have bought in the last year, no matter the source.  I typically get a ridiculous amount of green potatoes in each and every bag I purchase.  The other day, I opened the bag which was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  That 5 lb. bag contained eight potatoes which I planned to bake, and two were green all over the outside and thus unsuitable for baking.  Could I skin & fry or boil or mash them?  Sure.  The vitamins and taste are in the skin though… as I’m sure you are aware.  I even like to leave some of the skin in when making mashed potatoes.

The green skin & portion just under is poisonous, no?  If I understand correctly, light reacts with the skin to turn it green via chlorophyll & photosynthesis, producing solanine & chaconine.  Glycoalkaloids can be dangerous.

The Healthline website states that:

  •  “Studies have estimated that peeling a potato at home removes at least 30% of its toxic plant compounds. However, that still leaves up to 70% of the compounds in the flesh.”

I feel like if ¼ of every bag of potatoes I buy is unsuitable for consumption and I’m playing by the pound, there ought to be some rebate or relief.  I have started & will continue to reach out to all of the producers of bags of potatoes that I buy from now on with similar inquiries.

Did you all fire your potato inspectors at the farm or the processing or packaging plants?  Do you have a machine that needs fine-tuned?  Are you willfully and knowingly shipping toxic tubers?  I understand that they may be exposed to light, heat, or longer than ideal conditions while shipping from you to the grocery store.  Are they in trucks or warehouses too long?  Could the bags have better ultraviolet protection? 

The cost of everything is going up, and I understand that… but I can’t accept lowering quality standards at the same time.  Can I reach out to your shipping partners, logistics, warehouses, and the grocers? 

I confess I am not brand loyal to any potato conglomerate.  I purchase potatoes at Aldi, Giant Eagle, Walmart, Target, BJ’s, Shop ‘n Save, or wherever may have the best price or be the most convenient.  Sometimes Instacart purchases for us, and I guess I’ll need to follow up there about the selection of green potatoes.  Sometimes it’s not evident until the entire bag is home.

I hope you had a restful and prosperous Thanksgiving.  I stuffed myself with fresh delicious mashed potatoes… my secret ingredients are turkey broth and buttermilk!  

I look forward to your thoughts on this green ‘tater epidemic.  How can we move forward into a ripe yet not overripe future?

You’ve got ap-peel for real,
-Eric

aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Which is just edited text from the last one.

I hope they enjoy the mazes. I hope you reach out too. I’ll post replies as I receive them.

Magic Shell, Magic Poop?


I bought some Magic Shell a while ago, and I thought I’d have some fun with Smucker’s.  It really did have a bad aftertaste, but I decided to take the goofy up a notch.

I submitted the following to their webform:

Hello Friends,

I’d like to start out by saying I’m a big fan of your jellies. Of course I like grape, and we use the apricot preserves in a barbecue recipe. Mixed fruit jelly is my favorite by far. I’m always quite pleased when a restaurant has it in those little packets, and we usually buy 2 jars at a time for home. Why don’t they come in the big jars? That’s a question for another time though. I’m also a fan of your hot fudge topping. It’s the only brand we buy. You guys have it right.

This brings us around to why I am writing… This past weekend, I picked up some Chocolate Fudge Magic Shell at Walmart, because the shelf near the ice cream was void of your hot fudge topping & Hershey’s syrup. I remember having magic shell as a kid, but I’m unsure of the brand. I think I’ve even had the dipped cones at Dairy Queen too.

I didn’t get around to enjoying the Magic Shell until last night when I poured it over some Edy’s Slow Churned Cookie Dough ice cream. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I was easily amazed at how the shell froze in a few seconds. I have to say it was also quite delicious and a good combination… except the after taste. It came on slowly, but it tasted like what I imagine licking cigarette ashes would taste like after you had just chewed an aspirin and left it on your tongue. It was odd, but I figured it may have perhaps been some artificial sweetener. I didn’t think much else of it.

Excuse me for being frank, but this morning, I had some constipation issues. My wife would attest that I am generally quite regular… or she may even say I heed nature’s call too often. The only thing that I ate out of normal yesterday would be your Magic Shell. I checked the ingredients to see of there was some sort of wax or anything that may be setting up camp in my colon, and I was surprised of the lack of anything sinister. Well, I’m not a fan of coconut, so the oil or even the alkali-processed cocoa may account for the aftertaste that didn’t agree with me. I’m not sure what whole milk solids are… and how they’re different from cheese. Have you guys ever had someone write in with the same problem? Do milk solids or soy lecithin cause blocked bowels? Have you done any research in this area?

I think I may stick with the regular hot fudge topping from now on. Even if there’s no issue with the Magic Shell, it has me kind of spooked.

Obstructed but Optimistic,
-Waldo Lunar

And, I got this boring reply:

From: consumer.relations@jmsmucker.com
Date: Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 8:26 AM
Subject: Reference Number: 10026410
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

March 13, 2013

Mr. Waldo Lunar
1111 Street Rd.
Earth, PA 22222

Dear Mr. Lunar,

Thank you for contacting The J.M. Smucker Company regarding Smucker’s® Magic Shell® Chocolate Fudge Topping. We greatly appreciate and value the input we receive from our consumers.

In order for us to best assist you, we would like to obtain some additional product information. Please, contact us toll-free by calling 888-550-9555, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. When you call, it would be helpful to have the product available and to provide the representative with the reference number located at the bottom of this message. This product information will assist us in thoroughly reviewing your inquiry.

BIUB (Best If Used By) date
Production code (Located near the Best If Used By date)
City where purchased
Storage information
Detailed description of the issue

Thank you again for contacting The J.M. Smucker Company. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Sincerely,
Carla
Consumer Relations Representative

Ref # 10026410

So, I wrote back:

From: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 8:22 PM
Subject: Re: Reference Number: 10026410
To: consumer.relations@jmsmucker.com

Thanks Carla,

I prefer email to the telephone, hence why I used the online form in the first place. I can, however, provide the information requested:

BIUB (Best If Used By) date: SEP 2014
Production code (Located near the Best If Used By date): 10 0459
City where purchased: Bridgeville, PA
Storage information: On the kitchen counter.
Detailed description of the issue: Well, since I wrote with the issue already, & just received this seemingly standard reply, I’ll again give you my original missive…

[original email]

If you need further details, I’m not sure I’m prepared to share. So, have others emailed or called to complain? I can only assume so if you’re looking at a lot number. Does Magic Shell induce constipation on a regular basis?

Puzzled,
-Waldo Lunar

This came in the mail this weekend:

March 20,2013    Dear Mr. Lunar,  Thank you for contacting The J.M. Smucker Company with your inquiry regarding Smucker's® Magic Shell® Chocolate Fudge Topping. We greatly appreciate and value the input we receive from our consumers and take very seriously any comments pertaining to product quality.   Since we greatly value your comments and your loyalty, your experience has been brought to the attention of our quality assurance department. We want to assure you that our products are made of the best quality ingredients available and by the most carefully controlled procedures known in the food industry.   We appreciate the time required to share your comments with us and are enclosing coupons that we hope you will use to again try our products.   If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact us by calling 888-550-9555, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.     Sincerely, Carla  Consumer Relations Representative   Ref# 10026410   Enclosure: 2 Smucker's® $4.00 Coupon(s)   THE J.M. SMUCKER COMPANY· STRAWBERRY LANE, ORRVILLE, OHIO 44667-0280 TELEPHONE (330) 682-3000 • FAX (330) 684-3370 • www.smuckers.com

Letter from Smucker’s

Along with some coupons:

I found it quite amusing, but they never did address the constipation.  I won’t be buying any more magic shell with these coupons.  It really did have a horrible aftertaste.  Maybe I’ll buy some hot fudge, or more mixed fruit jelly.

On an unrelated note, I’ve never understood their slogan;  “With a name like Smucker’s, it’s got to be good.”  Are they implying that their name us stupid or sounds unappetizing?  Odd.  I’d be all like “If you don’t like Smucker’s, you’re a sucker.”  …or something.

Chick-fil-A’s response: “It’s not you, it’s me.”


Chick-fil-A wrote back to me, and sadly I predicted that they’d give me the “no unsolicited ideas” speech which is equivalent to the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.  Shenanigans, I tell you.

From: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>
Date: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
To: <me@my.email.address>

Dear Valued Customer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A.  You are very important to us, and we appreciate your suggestion regarding the cup holders.  We hope the following information will be helpful.

Chick-fil-A is fortunate to have many loyal customers. Many of these fans take the time and effort to inquire about sharing their own ideas about ways they wish to see us improve – whether it is adding a specific new product, service or feature. We are grateful for our customers’ intent, and this motivates us to work even harder to keep improving.

Unfortunately, it is our corporate policy not to accept or consider any unsolicited creative ideas. This is a difficult decision because we realize that by following this policy, Chick-fil-A may miss out on some great ideas from our customers. We would rather miss out on some of these ideas than to risk any potential future misunderstanding should Chick-fil-A develop or already have developed a product, service, or feature that may seem similar to a customer’s idea.

We hope you will understand the reasons for our policy. You can view our Unsolicited Ideas Policy at www.chick-fil-a.com/Legal (under Submissions) for more information on this issue. Beyond this policy, we gladly welcome customers’ feedback about their restaurant experiences.

We appreciate your family’s loyalty, and we look forward to serving you all at Chick-fil-A for many years to come.  Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.

Sincerely,

Cheala
Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com

P.S.  Please retain your ticket number.  This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

{ticketno:[8002084683]}

So, of course I wrote back…

From: <me@my.email.address>
Date: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: Chick-fil-A Response
To: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>

Hello Cheala,

Any idea how I can get my idea solicited?  I’m honestly not interested in monetary compensation, I just don’t want to spill my drinks.  Has anyone run this by Mr. Cathy?  He’s responded to my emails before, and I understand that he’s a shrewd business man as well as a great family man.  I’m sure he wouldn’t want drinks spilling on anyone… and that he’d like to pick up a free idea.

Thanks once again for your time & help!

My pleasure,

-Eric

Wonder if I’ll get a reply?  I just want a good cup holder.

Dear Garmin…


Dear Garmin,

First off, I’d like to say that in the past I have repeatedly vocalized my approval for the Garmin brand, and GPS units in general.  We have a StreetPilot® c340 and a nüvi® 2555LMT.  I have told people for years to just get a Garmin.  Trust the Garmin.  It won’t get you lost.  It’ll get you where you’re going.  Don’t give me directions like “go down whatever street and make a left at the weird looking tree,” just give me an address.  Don’t fight it.  Turn where it wants you to.  I’ve expressed to my Mom & my in-laws to not fight the Garmin.  Let it take you the way it wants.  Even if it’s different from how you would go.

I even bought the nüvi after I was royally screwed by the “lifetime updates” to my StreetPilot.  (Sure, lifetime updates… with new maps that don’t fit on your StreetPilot.  No, Garmin, I’m not settling for regional maps when I bought updates for the entire continent of North America.)

I’m wondering now how the Garmin calculates routes.  The other day, I was driving on a major expressway, and my nüvi wanted me to exit & take a smaller highway riddled with red lights for most of my journey home.  I knew that staying on the interstate meant less stops.  I didn’t turn off.  It recalculated (thankfully this model does it without telling you), and the route I had chosen was actually 3 minutes shorter than the other route.  I had asked the Garmin to calculate the fastest route.  Obviously, it didn’t.  So, what gives?  It wasn’t the shortest mileage route either (according to Google Maps).  What did the Garmin calculate?

Also finding things “along my current route”… is there any way to give an acceptable deviation?  I know that going through Pittsburgh from anywhere north of the city to our place in the south, I can take two routes.  There’s a BBQ joint along one route, and a Wendy’s along the other.  If I let the Garmin pick a route, and I ask for BBQ joints along the route… it won’t find it because it takes the Wendy’s route.  But the BBQ place is still in between where I am & where I’m going.  This is fine in town… but if I’m out of town, I’d like the Garmin to be able to learn acceptable derivations from my route.  I’d go a different way if it meant finding something I’m looking for.

So, I’ve backed Garmin up.  How are you going to back me up?

Recalculating,
-Eric

Skunk Foot Road

Skunk Foot Road? Really?

The Tunnel Monster is a myth? Say it ain’t so!


 

Have you been following the Tunnel Monster saga?  We last left off with a somewhat confusing email from Cryptid hunter Raptorguy14.  I can’t tell if Raptorguy14 thinks I’m being serious, or if he’s just messing with me.  It’s really strange.  I replied to his last email with this:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 7, 2012
Subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster
To: The Cryptid Hunters <thecryptidhunters@gmail.com>

Hello Raptorguy14,

Nice to “meet” you!  Sorry to hear that several of your people have become inactive.  Hopefully they haven’t all mysteriously disappeared while searching for cryptids.  Good luck in your quest to revive the group!

I understand that you’re not affiliated with MonsterQuest.  If I understand correctly, MonsterQuest isn’t even being made any more?  I find that to be such a shame.  I can only watch the Hatfields & McCoys or How The States Got Their Shapes so many times, but I could watch MonsterQuest or UFO Hunters all day long.

I’m not sure if the tunnel monster is a hoax, but if it does exist… it has special powers that slow down traffic in the morning, afternoon, and during concerts or sporting events.  I have more artist renderings attached if you’d like to tell me if they’re perhaps more accurate?

Have you heard about Tunnel Monsters out west, or anywhere else around the world?  I would like to see this one captured…so I can get to events on time.

Onward & Upward,
-Waldo

P.S. – Your parents are very forward-thinking.  Raptorguy is the coolest name ever, but to include a number like we’re in a science fiction novel?  That’s just awesome.

These photos were attached (thanks to my faithful readers…):

This was the reply:

From: The Cryptid Hunters <thecryptidhunters@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 14, 2012
Subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

No, they’re perfectly fine, they just haven’t been active. I still converse with them on occasion.

That’s right, MonsterQuest is no longer in production. TV networks often get rid of good quality shows for some reason, but I suppose that’s how it works.

Again, I must reiterate my opinion that the tunnel monster is a myth being used to make people drive more carefully in tunnels. Tunnels can be more difficult to drive through than conventional roadways, so one must be more careful. And the fact that the monster targets speeders and wrecked vehicles strengthens this opinion; it makes people think, “I don’t want to encounter this ‘beast’, so I should be more careful in the tunnel.” The likelihood that this creature is real is very low.

To my knowledge, no tunnel monsters (myth or otherwise) exist in the Western United States. I’m not sure about the rest of the world, though.

What?

We’ll find that tunnel monster someday, & prove Raptorguy14 wrong!