Manufacturers must think homemakers are stupid

The weekend was simply wonderful for me, as not only did my brother and his wife come in for a weeks visit, but I was surprised by some of my family also and we had a fantastic time visiting! My brother and sister-in-law brought their miniature horses and we all got to visit and watch my great-granddaughter interact with them. Since she absolutely loves horses, she was totally fascinated with some whose heads she could pet and stroke, and the horses seemed to enjoy the attention also. They are used to being around people and also used to children and as they were in their pens, they readily came to be petted. It was so much fun as my brother and his wife hadn’t had a chance to interact with my great-granddaughter before and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We also went to visit with my sister and her husband and they had a great time watching her as she played and watched the TV show that was on. Since she is old enough to have been taken fishing, she was commenting on the size of the fish that were being caught on the program. My brother-in-law got a big kick out of that as he has always loved fishing and hunting.
The week itself was fairly quiet and included a meeting in Victoria that a group of us Auxiliary members attended as well as a couple of afternoons in the gift shop and lots of sewing. Now, the fun is over and it’s time to get back to work.
Recently, on a face book post, a man commented on how we were getting cheated with our peanut butter. He said to check the bottom of the jar and notice how deeply it was indented and that while the jar looked the same size, it truly wasn’t. I couldn’t tell with the jar that was in my pantry, as it’s been on the shelf for a few months, not outdated or anything, just hadn’t been used as when I came home from Galveston, my son-in-law gave me a jar of the natural peanut butter and I’ve been using that.
Now, if you stop and think about it, I’m willing to bet you’ve noticed that you don’t always get the amounts that used to be in packages, for instance:
Bacon, for many years has come in 12-ounce packages, rather than the 16-ounce packages that were around for many years. Of course, we were told that this was due to the price of shipping etc., had gone up and by giving us smaller packages, they wouldn’t have to go up on the price. Didn’t happen, it wasn’t too long and we were paying more than what we had paid for the 16-ounce size package and this has been the excuse every time something changed size.
Sugar now comes in four-pound packages after many years of five-pound packages. And, my favorite pet peeve, of course is what they’ve done with cake mixes. We now have boxes of cake mix that are 15.25 ounces rather than the 18.25 packages we all grew up with and they had the audacity to tell us that we’d get the same size cake! When I finally noticed that my cakes were not rising the way I was used to them doing, or they were falling when I added ingredients according to recipes that I was used to using, and a couple of friends asked me what was wrong with the cakes they were making, I wrote a note to the lady who at that time worked at the San Antonio paper and her suggestion so that older recipes could continue to be used was to buy the 15.25 package and divide it into five parts and add a part each time I used the smaller size cake mix, this is a pain to do, but it works. This is for when you are using the recipe that you’ve kept from the side or back of a cake mix box and used for several years. A friend told me to add three rounded tablespoons of baking mix. She had published this in one of her articles when they first changed the size of the box, but since the San Antonio paper is not available here, I didn’t pick up on it. My friends and I felt we were the ones who were messing up. Oh, and by the way, within a year or two of cutting the size of the boxes, they added boxes that contained 24-ounces so you could make a larger family size cake, and, it was priced at $2.50 or more! Go figure.
We all know coffee now comes in 11-ounce or 13-ounce cans and has for many years, however, I can tell that the grounds absorb more liquid and seem to make coffee and we use only one type of grounds rather than grounds for drip coffee or a different one for boiled coffee.
Cheese slices are individually wrapped in plastic (what a waste and a mess for the environment, and the slices are so thin that you can barely peel the plastic off), and now are only ¾ ounce slices, rather than the 1-ounce slices we used to have. And, for a long time, if you bought the slices that weren’t individually wrapped they were 1-ounce each but not any longer, they are now ¾-oz also.
Recently, as within the last year or so, you no longer get 24 tea bags in the family size, that make about a quart of tea each, you only get 22!
Canned tuna…this is a pain; the cans used to be 6½ to 7-ounces and are now only 5-ounces and sell for more than the larger cans used to. So, to make salad for a family of four or five, it takes at least three cans.
Many of us have made the spicy crackers for a very long time; we used saltines for a while, and then decided to use the oyster crackers instead. They came in a 16-ounce package and two packages made a nice sized container that served a crowd, then, they were downsized. Now, the packages are ten to eleven ounces and cost a quarter more than the 16-ounce package used to cost, and you have to buy three packages to get the same amount. Most of us have reverted to using saltines, because, believe it or not they still come in 1-pound packages!
Graham crackers, this too has changed the crackers are smaller, and the amount of ounces is different.
Almost all snack crackers, i.e. the small square wheat crackers, the woven wheat crackers and several others are in smaller boxes, same price or higher.
And, how about candy? The fun size candy bars used to be eight to a package and now the package contains only six and they are smaller than the others were. There are recipes in the “The Cake Mix Doctor (doctors cake mixes)” baking book that call for these and where one pack of eight was more than enough, now you need two packages of the six. Same thing goes for regular candy bars, they are smaller than they used to be and they are pricier.
And, after reading this, I’m willing to bet that I’ve missed a lot of things that have changed and you will think of more that haven’t been listed. These just came to me while I was having coffee the other morning. Have a great week.
Here are a couple of zucchini recipes that I’ve served to family and friends over time and they all seemed to like them.
Stuffed Zucchini
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
4 zucchini (6-inches long)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup canned, chopped tomatoes, drained
½ cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken broth
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out, leaving a 3/8-inch shell. Coarsely chop the zucchini and onion and mince the garlic. Set aside while you heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the zucchini, onion and garlic. Stir together, cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the tomatoes and cook, covered, 5 minutes longer. Uncover and stir in the bread crumbs, olives, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Stuff the zucchini halves with the filling and place in a shallow baking dish. Pour the chicken broth over the zucchini. Bake 30 minutes or until tender. The original recipe of this said that it served four people. I used it as a side dish rather than a main dish, sliced it down the center and you can serve it to eight or more.
Zucchini Parmesan
8 to 10 small zucchini
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
¼ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned kind)
2 cans tomato paste (6-oz size)
1 teaspoon (or less) salt
1 finely minced garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Wash, trim off ends and cut zucchini into 1/8th-inch slices. Heat olive oil in saucepan with lid, add zucchini slices, chopped onions and mushrooms. Cover and cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally. Remove zucchini mixture from heat, mix in about ½ of the Parmesan cheese, stir lightly with a fork; add remaining ingredients, mix lightly and thoroughly; pour into 2-quart casserole, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 350º for 20 to 30 minutes.