Last week I made a recipe that called for half & half. Some of the folks who had prepared this particular recipe commented that they had used fat free half & half, which reminded me of the time I discovered the existence of fat free half & half.
I was walking through the grocery store with a young Bubby in my cart, keeping up a running commentary of our progress, as parents of young children often do. ...and now we need to get half & half. Oh, look at that. Fat free half & half. What is that? What is the point of fat free half & half? How is that even possible? ...
Before we go any farther, perhaps I should explain. Half & half, at least the dairy half & half, consists of half milk, half cream. And cream is, basically, milk fat. So half & half is milk with extra milk fat in it. It cannot, by definition, be fat free.
One of the manager dudes overheard my commentary and obviously did not understand my objection to the fat free half & half. He commented that some people like to use fat free things. They're healthier.
Whatever. I bought regular half & half and went on my merry way, still wondering how a fat free version was even possible.
So last week I set off to the grocery store in search of half & half for my recipe. Actually, I went in search of cream, figuring I have more potential uses for cream than half & half (like these yummy things or this thing that I can use to make the other thing), and I can make my own. But I made a point of reading the ingredients on the regular and fat free half & half cartons.
Here's what I found.
Regular half & half: Milk, Cream, Contains less than 0.5% of the following: Sodium Citrate and Disodium Phosphate
Fat free half & half: Skim Milk, Corn Syrup, Cream*, Contains less than 0.5% of the following: Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono and Diglycerides*, Vitamin A Palmitate, Color Added
* Adds a trivial amount of fat
Seriously? Corn syrup? Yuck. And how many Americans blindly buy the "fat free" version, mistakenly believing it's better for them?