DATE OF REVIEW: JULY 27, 2021
The perfect crime.
Market enhanced sink-water by adding minerals to make it taste good, then put it in what appear to be spring water bottles, giving the water the cache of real spring or artesian water--then keep your fingers crossed and hope that people don't pay too much attention.
The manufacturer of this product is the The Coca-Cola Corporation.
Dasani might be appropriate for people who must have some kind, any kind, of water in the house. And I've always thought that the water does taste good, although the taste seems a bit worse in the small bottles of Dasani that I recently purchased.
Tasty or not, this is not spring or artesian water, and the plastic bottle isn't BPA-free as the bottles of Fiji artesian water are.
Fiji artesian water tastes good, comes in bottles that are BPA-free, and is real artesian water. Choosing is a no-brainer.
FOSTERS PREMIUM ALE
750mL, green and gold "oil can"
The simple attempt to pour appears to lead to leaks down the front of the can. Very messy.
Taste: though dark golden in color, the brew seems a bit weak or washed out. Not especially tasty.
Will not buy again.
WHOLE FOODS MARKET BROCCOLI & DOUBLE-CHEDDAR SOUP
DATE OF REVIEW: JUNE 12, 2021
A thick soup, strong taste of cheddar, tasty--but we found six pieces of detritus in the soup, either paper or plastic, small, thin objects. Purchased Northern, N.J. location.
See photo, below.
Whole Foods Market under John Mackie was a very sloppily-run company. Evidently the tradition lives on, at least in part, under Jeff Bezos.
SHOP-RITE WHOLESOME PANTRY ORGANIC WHOLE GRAIN BREAD
DATE OF REVIEW: NOVEMBER 07, 2022
Shop Rite Wholesome Pantry line of Whole Grain Bread. This is that rare product that is essentially superb. Everything was done right: extremely nutritious including believe it or not four grams of fiber per slice; excellent to help ensure the bowel health of my 91yo Mother--and yours, and for serving as one of the centerpieces of the paleo/vegetarian/Mediterranean-style meals that I favor.
ITALIAN, SUPERMARKET PRODUCTS
CENTO FINE FOODS PRODUCTS, VARIOUS
DATE OF REVIEW: AUGUST 06, 2021
A few moments ago I finished consuming, from the can, Cento's Macaroni & Bean Soup, Pasta Fagioli in Italian. I unfortunately discovered two pieces of detritus in the soup; they could only have come from its can. The larger piece was discovered in my mouth; the smaller, hanging off of a spoonful of the soup about to enter my mouth. Both appear to be a translucent plastic. They are readily discernible as inorganic because one can't chew through them, and because they taste like plastic.
UPDATE, Thursday, August 12, 2021. I've now also found the same detritus in Cento's beloved capanata appetizer, a--former--staple in all my meals. I will surely miss this Cento product.
Adding this product to my Cento moratorium product list means that I'll never again purchase any Cento product, as this was the last product that I continued to allow myself to purchase.
Two pieces of detritus found in Cento Macaroni & Bean Soup.
What is notable, and extremely unfortunate, is that I've been discovering detritus in Cento food products for years. This is simply the latest iteration in what must now be called a pattern.
Accordingly, I categorically advise my readers to refrain, indefinitely, from purchase of any Cento food or other product, effective immediately.
The astute reader will note that, so far, two reviews at this new site report detritus discovered in a food or beverage product: Cento Macaroni & Bean soup and Whole Foods Market Broccoli & Double-Cheddar Soup. Moreover, some years ago we found detritus in a Kashi food product, I recall that it was cereal. We found it at approximately the same time that we found a large piece of detritus in a Cento food product; it measured approximately 1/2" by 1/2" or so and appeared to be a kind of mesh. We contacted both companies. Cento responded--Kashi did not.
CAMPBELL'S CHUNKY SAUSAGE & PEPPER RIGATONI SOUP
DATE OF REVIEW: JUNE 24, 2021
"Soup that eats like a meal," goes the tagline for this line of products.
While the soup was moderately tasty, the rigatoni in the soup were tiny, I found virtually no peppers, as promised, especially green ones, while the red ones were tiny, there was a bit too much liquid relative to the amount of chunky ingredients in the soup, or perhaps it was the fact that the broth was thin, and thus, all things considered, this soup did not "eat like a meal."
Additionally, the sausage slices were not soft enough, there are GMO ingredients in the soup, and in the final coup-de-grace for this product: it contains the chemical flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate, a known brain excito-toxin, whose presence in a modern product immediately signals it as what I term a "junk product."
Would I buy this product again--no.
PERFECTLY COOKED ORGANIC HOMESTYLE MEATBALLS
DATE OF REVIEW: AUGUST 02, 2023
Purchased at Whole Foods Market.
The meatballs are somewhat rubbery. Cooked well they soften, but don't absorb. Though I cooked them in marinara sauce, olive oil, and water at a moderate simmer for about fifteen minutes, upon slicing them open afterward they had absorbed zero of the tomato sauce or the olive oil.
I seek a packaged genuine Italian meatball, but a brand more health-conscious than the Mama Mancini beef meatball product, which isn't even GMO-free.
Would I buy the Perfectly-Cooked meatball product again: yes, for now, but not by much.
MAMA MANCINI BEEF MEATBALLS
DATE OF REVIEW: SEPTEMBER 29, 2023
Purchased at Stop-n-Shop and Shop-Rite.
We've purchased this product many times, in its refrigerated version. It is also sold as a frozen product. These meatballs, at their best, are tasty, due to the beef but also the sauce, which is quite good for an off-the-shelf meatball product. However, quality control is evidently poor, as some packages smell fresh and presumably very edible--and some don't. When they don't, the product honestly reminds me of dog food, in its appearance and somewhat offputting smell.
Additionally, I must also report that this product is neither organic nor even GMO-free. To me, in this day and age when so much is known about the intersection between food and health, when a food company produces a food item, of any kind, that is not at least GMO-free, it is deserving of our disdain. Unfortunately, this Mama Mancini product appears to fit that description, resting in the GMO camp. And of course, GMO or not, the product description on the package speaks in glowing terms about the product and its ingredients.
I also note that most, or many Mama Mancini meatball packages bear no Expiration or Best Buy date. See photo of the last package we bought. There is a location for a date--but no date.
I'm going to purchase this product next in its frozen version to see if quality is more consistent. Otherwise, I'm going dispense with this product as soon as possible, especially given that my 92-year old mother is its chief consumer in our home, and at that age, or for that matter any age, we want to provide foods that help restore and build the body, not compromise it.
DESSERTS & OTHER SUGARED ITEMS
NEWMAN'S OWN - FIG NEWMAN'S
DATE OF REVIEW: AUGUST 13, 2021
If you elect to purchase this product as you perceive it healthier than regular cookies, perhaps lower in sugar and higher in fiber--think again. Evidently use of the word "fig" in the title misled you.
This Fig-Newton style cookie is neither lower in sugar nor higher in fiber than more conventional cookies. In fact, I was momentarily shocked to read the fiber content: 1 gram, that's just ONE gram per 2-cookie serving.
VIRGIL'S ROOT BEER
DATE OF REVIEW, JULY 01, 2021
This product is one of your better choices for soda:
Over the last few years the product packaging has changed, as well. The pevious version of the 4-bottle holder presented a well-written and genuinely interesting terse history of root beer! Now, it does not.
Additionally, the new packaging declares the product to have a "bold" taste. I was actually chagrined to first read this about a week ago: I've always found the taste of this root beer rather addicting because if its rich, sweet, and complex flavors, not because it's taste was "bold," whatever that is supposed to mean. And in fact, given that the taste of the product has declined, in my opinion, I'd suggest that Virgil's go back to its original, or later formulation with that complex of the taste of annisse, cinammon, nutmeg, etc., all combined in a root beer that also has body.
I'm actually interested in this phenomenon of changes in product (or service) packaging, for it seems that all-too-often well-done, even superior product packaging is sometimes torpedoed, discarded, probably because of the erroneous idea that product packaging must change to continue to garner interest in the product. The product must be reinvented--or must appear to have been. My quintessential example is Mountain Valley spring water, an expensive, premium water whose jumbo-sized green glass bottle was something of a work-of-art, a throw-back to old-world craftsmanship, especially relative to the cheaply-produced, throwaway product packaging of today.
In stark and flagrant contradistinction to the visual and design elegance Until the company foolishly changed the bottle to
See photo, below.
March 26, 2023, Sunday
VIRGIL'S ZERO ROOT BEER
Perhaps a year ago Virgil's released a no-sugar root beer formulation called Virgil's Zero Sugar Root Beer that was superb. No sugar, no artificial sugars, yet still just about perfectly captured not just the taste of real root beer, but the complex taste of Virgil's real root beer. I would literally scour my local supermarket shelves looking for this product. My local Shop-Rite market was, as I recall, the only market that carried it, and when in stock I always bought it. It's longevity as a product at that market didn't last long, however, and I was only able to purchase it perhaps five times. It came in a small, 6 12-oz cans carton.
Now on my local supermarket shelves I find Virgil's newest no-sugar formulation, called Virgil's Zero Root Beer, an unpleasant, industrial-tasting product, packaged in a box of only four cans, that I purchased last night. I assure you that I will never waste $6.39 again on this unpleasant, almost disgusting-tasting product, proffering the most tenuous of claims to the product description "root beer." And by the way, in contradistinction to the claim stated on the product box and can, this product does indeed have an aftertaste-and it ain't good. Moreover, what gives Virgil's the impression that an aftertaste is undesirable? If it's an appealing, delicious aftertaste so much the better and in fact, this is part of what makes delicious food and beverages delicious--the aftertaste.
Perhaps the food scientists and/or marketing staffs at Virgil's work or live in New Jersey and are taking advantage of her new radically-liberalized marijuana legalization laws, smoking dope when they should be working, or simply having their taste buds permanently skewed. I don't smoke dope and I can assure you, readers, and Virgil's, that my taste buds are fine, and in fact I'm intimately familiar, as this review and the one, above, make clear, with four iterations of the Virgils' root beer product.
Virgil's--get your old formulation back, and fast. This one is horrid. It tastes just about nothing like root beer of any variety, much less a root beer carrying the complex flavors of the original Virgil's sugared root beer that was first introduced to perhaps ten or more years ago.
Maybe Virgil's would be better off getting out of the sugar-free space altogether, and simply selling their original non-GMO sugared product, perhaps with a short, friendly warning label advising customers to enjoy the product in moderation given its high sugar content. By the way, regarding the original sugared product, I really miss the original explanation that was found on an earlier iteration of the product carton briefly describing the history of root beer. They removed that description. Much like Mountain Valley Spring Water eventually removed the wonderful description of the premium-quality nature and history of their water, how it had always been the favored water selection of Kings & Queens, and they also discontinued the unique and amazing embossed bottles the product came in. I'm just praying that in my basement somewhere I still have one of those original bottles. The bottles now have plastic decal-style labels adorned with the most gaudy of red trim and product name in big, blocky letters. Horrible.I actually contacted the company some time ago about how gaudy the bottles had become and I think, in response to my descriptive complaint, they made a minor modification, emphasis on "minor."
Capitalism always thinks that it has to change the product to spur sales. I say, if it ain't broke--don't fix it. Virgil's evidently tried to "fix" their sugar-free root beer, and it if wasn't broke before--it is now.
At present the best sugar-free soda product, purely in terms of taste, is a new product, Green Cola. It tastes just about like real cola, not like that medicinal stuff that Zevia calls cola, and I find it rather addictive. Additionally, unlike Zevia products, the soda is colored brown and so visually corresponds to what we expect a cola to look like. Heck, in a further virtue, a glass of Green cola even sports a big head of foam. The problem, however, is that not only is Green Cola not labeled organic, it's not even GMO-free. This means that as much as I love it, and I do, I'm drinking it only in moderation, now, and will likely discontinue it, altogether, pending discovery of a suitable replacement.
April 30, 2022, Saturday
Yet another piece of American-made junk has revealed itself.
The small Honeywell space heater that we were using in my Parents' bedroom, a very physically attractive unit, has failed. As of last night it's vibrating upon use, or making a vibration noise. Cleaning the filter didn't solve the problem.
ORGANIC VALLEY GRASSFED ORGANIC WHOLE MILK
DATE OF REVIEW: JUNE 30, 2021
Probably the highest quality milk that can be bought: it's organic, from grass fed cows, and is packaged in a carton, not a plastic bottle.
And has a wonderfully creamy taste--if you want a wonderfully creamy taste. I, do not. I drink milk for pleasure and refreshment, often reaching for milk instead of soda (which is categorically unhealthy), so I want my milk to have more a clean, crisp taste. I don't want milk masquerading as a milkshake. If I want a milkshake I'll go get one. The fact that the product is produced by grass-fed cows may account for its creaminess.
Would I buy this product again--yes. It's an extremely high quality product, and it's taste, in general terms is good. But I may also look elsewhere for a milk product with a crisper taste.
HONEST ORGANIC COTTON DRY WIPES
DATE OF REVIEW, JUNE 12, 2021
What, at least in principle, could be even better than WATER WIPES, the baby-and-adult wipe product with nothing in it besides its key agent--water--than "a drop of fruit juice"?
How about a wipe product that doesn't even contain the drop, thus eliminating that concern, as the reality of the generally deceptive form of mass communication known as "corporate-speak" is such that we really don't know what "drop of fruit juice" means, what it contains, and if the "juice" is organic, or even non-GMO?
The HONEST product does away with all such concerns, and even gives us a wipe product that is, they claim, made of 100% organic cotton. Good stuff all around, it would seem.
The one glitch in this system is the way the wipes dispense--an Achilles heel for many wiping products. These wipes dispense horribly from their pouch. Good luck inserting your finger and attempting to find the edge of the next wipe to be pulled out--you'll have better luck looking for the Maltese Falcon, or the lost city of Atlantis.
That said, this is still a worthy product because of its absolute purity. Just don't compromise that purity by using a substandard form of water to moisten the wipes. Spring water from a glass bottle, or distilled water from a glass bottle, would likely be best, in my opinion.
See photo, below.
Trying to dispense the product--what a mess.
DATE OF REVIEW: JUNE 30, 2021
If you're one of the increasing numbers of Americans who are really starting to understand just how grave a problem climate change is, and how urgent it is that we address it right here, right now, no more excuses, the first thing you'll want to do is ditch your leafblower, and inform your lawncare company that you want climate-and-people-friendler tools and equipment used on your property.
The so-called "leafblower" is a dinosaur in the world of lawn-care equipment; one of the dirtiest and most polluting kinds of equipment in use, and thus one of our biggest contributors to global warming. Nor is the toxic and filthy air pollution that it produces the only kind of pollution. As many noise victims are aware, usually painfully aware, this kind of device produces sound pollution that is psychologically and physically intolerable. I, myself, now have Tinnitus--thanks to the individuals in my neighborhood wielding these death devices, and the grossly uninformed neighbors who continue to commission their use.
I give a categorical thumbs-down to all leafblowers, would not buy again and in fact would never have bought in the first place. Gas-powered units are the absolute worst. And I should alert you that we're all noise-victims, insofar as the pernicious effects of this device injure you, whether you realize it or not.
In my case, I was developing Tinnitus unawares, which I now have. Learn from my mistakes.
TESTINGTake your children for a hearing test, to gauge the actual hearing loss they may already be suffering. And for yourself, move into a room that is completely quiet (if you can find one), and sit there. Once in the room, sitting still, if you hear any noise, whatsoever--you have Tinnitus. In many cases the malady manifests as a kind of steady hum or white-noise whoosing or other similar sound. If you're hearing this, or any sound, you have Tinnitus. Meaning the loud noise you're exposed to in your neighborhood or elsewhere is already degrading your hearing.
Oh, I forgot to mention: there's no cure.
The humble, "old-fashioned" rake, broom, push mower, and even the ancient cutting instrument called the scythe are all excellent alternative choices to groom your property. In fact, once you learn about the effects on our natural environment of fertilizer production and use, you might not be so enthusiastic about compulsively "grooming" your property in the first place.
First thing you do, however: talk to your neighbors, information in hand, and get those leafblowers off your property and out of your neighborhood.
Contact me for no-charge assistance with any aspect of this issue, or, if a noise victim, with your noise problem.
APPLE COMPUTER PRODUCTS
DATE OF REVIEW
SONS OF ANARCHY
Date of Review: April 30, 2022
I've seen many episodes of this program. I then started over from the beginning to watch them again. Last time, I couldn't bring myself to do it, however. This time, tonight, I did rewatch the pilot, in full. But, frankly, it is depressing to watch such a twisted, thoughtless, black-hearted bunch of wretched humans for an hour, committing the crimes that such people commit and ruining the world as such people do.
As I've written previously, the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club is basically the Mafia on bikes. The same immorality, crime, and complete disregard and lack of compassion for fellow human beings predominates.
Don't depress yourself. Keep away from this miserable representation of humanity. We have enough of this in real life.
KNOWLEDGE - INTEGRITY - INSIGHT
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