I prefer to regard a dessert as I would imagine
the perfect woman: subtle, a little bittersweet,
not blowsy and extrovert.
Delicately made up, not highly rouged.
Holding back, not exposing everything
and, of course, with a flavor that lasts
As a culture I see us as presently deprived of subtleties.
The music is loud, the anger is elevated,
sex seems lacking in sweetness and privacy
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away
--Slip-Slidin Away, Paul Simon
My own experience this week at our local grocer of note (Publix) -- is a good follow-on to yesterday's soap piece.
I have few vices, among these, a nice, not-too-sweet pastry with coffee to round out a day. Picking one up at the grocery's bakery is a convenience, and it has been my disappointment to see the more refined choices dwindle over the months: No more coconut pasteles, no more apricot danishes. What is left to me is the almond bear claw, a sturdy and reliable option. Except not this Thursday.
Confused by the lack of of usual choices, the bakery worker explained that Publix is in the process of reifying their formula for the amount of items they bake. Their goal, to have less waste at the end of the day. If that means that I, at 5 p.m., don't get my danish, so be it. Only, the implications are broader.
Leftover baked goods used to go to the food bank -- less baked means less for them, too. Fewer pastries reminds me that we are seeing less of everything involved with our servings. Wait staff at most establishments has been reduced and ambient temperatures have been reduced or raised to the point of discomfort to save money (though usually under the guise of a broken system, or a manager with a faulty set-state).
Condiments at many restaurants are being reduced in quality: half-and-half become coffee creamer with corn syrup; honey disappears; butter goes in favor of "butter blend" and orange juice become orange drink. In baked goods, sugar become High Fructose Corn Syrup and butter is replaced by hydrogenated corn oil. Of course, most hungry people do not notice, but being a bit of a foodie, these are all disappointments.
A conspiracy theorist might say these are savvy attempts to keep the diabetes industry a cash cow; more likely, it is probably just economics and a poor national palate. These amount to the same result anyway.
The trickle down faucet is drying up.