Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. She’s Trying to Kill You.

What keeps it crunchy, even in milk?  *Semi-permeable food varnish.  That's what.

So, yesterday (I think it was yesterday) sometime in between the painting and the contemplating of The Vast Expanse of Yard, I wandered up to the computer to take a wee break.  The Yahoo people were featuring a recipe for a Cap'n Crunch Shake.  Suppressing a shudder, I went to investigate.  Apparently there is a woman out in the Hinternet that goes by the moniker "Hungry Girl."  She is Very Powerful, and fat free snack manufacturing folks grovel at her feet in the hopes that she will Smile Upon their, let's call it Food, so that they can sell A Bunch.

First, let me say that I'm sure that Hungry Girl is a lovely person.  She's obviously doing something right, and I'm sure her mother loves her very much.  But, friends, I have some Things to Say.

Her most recent cookbook is about making food with fewer than 200 calories.  And that's where the Cap'n Crunch Shake comes in.  I'm not going to write down the entire ingredient list here, because I'm afraid my keyboard wouldn't recognize me.  Then, it might Cease to Work until I show it ID.  My wallet is downstairs--we have stairs now--and I'm so sore from painting and such that it might as well be in Guam.  So, if you' d like to see what's in this, this....ahem, Food, go on over to her site and check it out:  HG's Cravin' Cap'n Crunch Shake

What I want to look at is the ingredients for the ingredients.  I won't go through all of them, because I'm still painting, but here you go (courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia):

Calcium Carbonate is found naturally in chalk.  Hooray.  And you know what else?  You could just grind up some sea shells and you'd be ready to go.

Polydextrose is made out of sugar and some other stuff, and it's used as a sugar, fat and/or starch replacement.

Yellows #5 and 6.  This is in the Cap'n Crunch.  Yum.  Guess what else is in Cap'n Crunch?  BHT.  BHT is edible, supposedly, but it's also used in embalming fluid, so you won't need to be embalmed when you die if you eat enough Cap'n Crunch.  Eat up, y'all.

Sucralose This is Splenda.  You know, "Looks like sugar; tastes like sugar, but Psych!  It's not sugar." It's all technical and stuff, but it's chlorinated.  Weird, huh.  And not food, as far as I'm concerned.

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate This is some highly processed stuff, and it's used as an emulsifier

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil I shan't comment on this one

Artificial Flavors Ditto

So, why am I so opposed to this whole Cap'n Crunch shake thing?  (And here, I'm having a flashback to Monty Python, and the Wizard Tim talking about the deadly bunny:  "Look at the bones, man!")  Look at the ingredients, people.  And here's the thing.  I can't give you a fat free, sugar free alternative to a milk shake and still be able to sleep at night.  I mean, if you want a milk shake, make one at home with ice cream that contains ingredients that only have one or two syllables:  milk, cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla.  [Update:  Jamie rightly pointed out that vanilla is a three syllable word.  Thanks, Jamie.  I blame the stairs.] Add some milk.  Put it in a blender.  If you're concerned about calories, only make a little bit, or share it.  Then go take a walk.  Don't eat Cap'n Crunch.  Or just eat it infrequently, at least.  And, whatever you do, please don't mix up a whole bunch of highly processed chemistry projects together in a blender and then drink it.  Shudder.

That's really all I have to say about that.  Again, I'm sure HG means well, I just think the advice is misguided.  And maybe she isn't really trying to kill you, but just be careful, because you Never Can Tell.  Besides, Joon is the one who puts Cap'n Crunch in a blender with milk and peanut butter and drinks it for breakfast and then goes outside wearing a snorkel mask so she can direct traffic with a ping pong paddle.  See,  Cap'n Crunch shakes are for schizophrenics, not for well-adjusted people like you.  (See 3:11 and then 5:56 for The Evidence)[youtube=]

*Maybe not.  I just like saying it, 'cause of Christmas Vacation.


  1. Amy says

    I bet hungry Girl sweats aspartame and msg. LOL

    Im curious, have you heard of Pepsi “throwback” made with real sugar? For a limited time only of course.

    My Grandma saw this commercial and said “What the hell have they been putting in it?”

    • says

      Amy–yeah, Snapple is using real sugar now, too. It’s an interesting pendulum swing. Sugar is very highly refined, too–it’s kind of like the cocaine of the culinary world, refining-wise, so we’re not really made to eat something that refined, but still, I’ll pick sugar over HFCS any day. I laughed at what your grandma said! 😆

  2. Jamieson Ridenhour says

    You make it all sound so appetizing. Guam makes me laugh–we moved from a single level bungalow in SC to a split-level sort of thingie in ND that features a sort of mezzanine foyer that gives you the option of going UP to the kitchen/living room or DOWN to the family room. I know from stairs.

    But, as an English teacher and self-proclaimed grammar geek, I must point out the “vanilla” has three syllables. It doesn’t matter to me, really, but I’d hate for your enemies to use a slip like that as ammunition against your otherwise well-built bunker-like rhetoric.

    • says

      Yup–it was me. I can’t help myself. I love that movie. I think the other reference was in the same piece of video, but it was about the poker scene: Salad Shooter!

  3. says

    My somewhat overprotective Italian mommy never let me eat Cap’n Crunch when I was a wee little Nate and now I call her every Mother’s Day to thank her. I’m afraid of that shake, very very afraid.

  4. says

    That’s the first time I ever saw a youtube movie clip that made me want to watch the whole movie…

    …I mean, does John LaFoote EVER find out the secret???????

    Excuse me, I have some traffic to direct.

  5. says

    You know what’s scary? A year ago, that’s how I used to eat. Low calorie, fat-free, sugarless everything. Now I don’t bother, and you know the kind of stuff I make (and yes, I do eat my goodies…not all of it myself of course). I weigh a few pounds more than I did then but a lot of that is muscle (seriously). I retain my status as a Very Small Person without all that chemical crap. And I’m not starving all the time anymore, either.

    Also, I never liked Cap’n Crunch. Too shattery – rips my mouth up.

  6. says

    I’ve actually subscribed to HungryGirl emails for about 3 years now (why? dunno). The one recipe I did try making was a Fettucine Alfredo-esque thing using shirataki noodles and Laughing Cow cheese. It was AWFUL. The texture of the noodles is exactly what I imagine earthworms would be like if you ate them, plus they’re STINKY. They’re made of yams yet probably have little to no nutritional value. HG sings the praises of these lo-cal noodles all the time. Contextually, if I was marooned and only had HG recipes to work from, I’d take the Cap’n Crunch Shake over the wretch-worthy Worms Alfredo any day.

  7. says

    I was always more of a Shredded Wheat gal.. hard to get away from that BHA or BHT in the package linings tho. Now I just make our own hot cereal. With nanners and real maple syrup, of course!

  8. says

    Firstly, I love this post and couldn’t agree more.

    Also, Benny and Joon hasn’t even entered into my brain wave for years! Now I am going to have to netflix this.

    • Chris says

      Agreed on all accounts!!

      Admitted, I used to like Cap’n Crunch as a child – but the oddest thing to me is how it shreds apart the inside of your mouth – perhaps to mainline the sugar??

      Off to Netflix… (sorry – maybe your post had unintended consequences? But I promise not to eat Cap’n Crunch while watching the movie!)

  9. says

    Every once in awhile I get a craving for Cocoa Pebbles. Cap’n Crunch though, no way. As the above poster says, too shattery. I’ll bet Clark Griswold got a bonus in his paycheck for that food varnish 😉


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