The Road to Hell
How much soda do you drink? I realize for an American male between 18 and 49 that my consumption patterns fall well out of the norm. Very little of the stuff ever passes through my lips. And it’s not that I don’t like it nor is it banned from my house. In fact I always make sure to keep some around in case of emergencies.
Right now I have one can of Cel-Ray left from the six pack I bought far too long ago to even remember, and the last five cans from a twelve pack of Throwback Dr. Pepper I bought sometime over the winter.
What might these emergencies be? Well, in the case of the Cel-Ray it would either be fits of nostalgia, washing down some smoky, fatty meat slathered in sauerkraut, or effectively cleansing my palate after a seriously strong pickle. The Dr. Pepper fills a much narrower niche, as I very occasionally rely on its stimulative abilities when there is either no coffee available, or I can’t be bothered to brew a cup of my preferred energy drink.
Caffeine and sugar surely are proof that God loves humankind.
My secret shame, of course, is that there is much more soda in my house than what I have just laid out for you. And the best way I know to deal with shame is to expunge it by putting all my cards on the table and confessing my sins. So here it is.
I swear I had good intentions.
It must have been all the way back in September that I received a package in the mail. I only know this because Albany Jane got a similar package, as did other bloggers who happen to write about food. It was from Snow Beverages and it contained, among other things, a box filled with twelve of their natural sodas. It had four cans each of three different flavors, one of which is called Pure Cola.
I was actually pretty excited about this. It was soda without high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and it was decidedly less sweet to boot. Although not too long after receiving the package did I spy a truck advertising Sierra Mist’s Natural Soda. And that was pretty exciting too.
Anyway, the thing is that I didn’t want to do just another promotional post as some quid pro quo for some free samples. I’ve long held that the only way to know how good something is to hold it up to something similar, so that one can make direct comparisons.
Well, wouldn’t it be fun to do a soda tasting?
I went so far as to procure two additional natural colas. The first came from a local manufacturer to boot, Adirondack Naturals, which is apparently based in Scotia. I stumbled across a one-liter bottle of this for $.99 at Price Chopper. The second was a can of Blue Sky natural cola that I was able to buy on its own at our local The Fresh Market for a paltry $.69. It makes an additional claim of being GMO-free.
These aren’t details I’m recreating from memory. I’m looking at all of these sodas now. The ones I bought still have their price stickers. And all of these sodas have been sitting in a closet for months.
Did you know that soda expires?
Neither did I. That was, until today. I spent the early afternoon at Hoffman’s Playland with the Fussy Little Children, and I came back parched. Figuring that I could poach one can of the Snow natural soda from my stash without affecting some future tasting, I delved into the closet.
There I discovered that all the cans are best by March 17, 2011. That’s almost four months ago—just about a third of a year.
Interestingly, neither the Blue Sky nor the Adirondack Naturals list a “best by” date. The Dr. Pepper on the other hand is stamped with a large and bold OCT 03 11 on the bottom of the can, so I take that to mean I have less than three months to drink the remaining five sodas. This should be doable, but I’ll have to stay on top of it.
The tragedy of all this of course is that I abhor waste, and now all of the cans of Snow are destined for the drain.
It’s really no wonder that more food producers don’t send me samples to review. Perhaps I’ve learned a very valuable lesson from all this. But really in many ways it feels like my father’s famous Rootie Kazootie story all over again. My family seems to have created a perpetual feedback loop of hoarding and waste.
Maybe there is a 12-step program for this. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I’m so there. At some point you also have to apologize.
I’m sorry Snow Beverages. I really did intend to taste and review your product. Thank you for taking the time to track me down, get my address, pack up and ship your product, and for the t-shirt as well. I do believe that if soda had an unlimited shelf life, I would indeed have ultimately gotten around to the tasting. But I’ve had these for over ten months, and there is really no excuse. Well, except for the part about me not drinking a lot of soda. But that’s pretty lame.