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Kids and Bars

September 19, 2016

This weekend we left the kids at home to go to a bar. Kinda.

Many thanks to Albany Jane, who hasn’t disappeared off the face of the earth. I know her extended blogging sabbatical might lead you to believe otherwise. But she came over with Albany John to look after the fussy little children while Mrs. Fussy and I drank Asian beers and sang karaoke in a private room at Red & Blue in Troy.

While part of me wanted to channel my inner creepy old Bill Murray from Lost in Translation, the party had a much more festive vibe. That would have been out of place.

Still, I highly recommend the experience. Especially when paired with Red & Blue’s fiery Szechuan food, like the braised fish with roasted chili soup. One order is enough for a group of four or more. It’s huge. And it’s fiery. And it’s delicious.

Despite the presence of a sushi bar, this is quite clearly a Chinese restaurant. And even though they have a cocktail bar, I’d recommend to sticking with things that come in bottles.

Today, however, I actually want to talk about an entirely different kind of bar.

When it comes to feeding my children, there are two things I cannot imagine living without: Peanut butter and granola bars. In today’s allergy sensitive environment, peanut butter is touch and go. Our kids are keenly aware of the risks, and take precautions among their peers.

One of these days, people may not be able to eat peanut butter out in public. For the time being, my kids are luckier than other peanut lovers who cannot enjoy their favorite lunchtime sandwich in the cafeteria.

It’s the granola bars that are causing us a problem.

If it were left up to the children, they would probably subsist off of nothing but granola bars. They are sweet, convenient, and filling. I like the ones we buy because they are made with whole grains, contain very few rice related products, and are non-GMO verified.

With the overlapping preferences of the adult grocery shopper and the junk food eating children in the Fussy household, we are effectively down to one last brand and flavor of granola bars. And those are the Kashi chocolate chip chia bars.

Other bars exist that would work well for everybody, but they are somewhere between hard and impossible to find. Honest Weight Food Coop is one of the only places I’ve found some of the secondary brands that come close to meeting our impossible standards. Except one of those standards shouldn’t be so impossible, but for some reason it is.

The kids insist on crunchy granola bars. And those are increasingly hard to find. What gives? Seriously. Does anyone have any insight into this? Have we as Americans gotten so soft that we need our granola to be easier to chew?

If you haven’t looked around the granola bar aisle of a store lately, take a gander. It’s a mess.

On the plus side, Kashi is not sitting on its laurels of being the only widely available Non-GMO Project Verified crunchy granola bar on the market. Recently I found out that the brand started making savory bars too. And I had to buy a box of the basil, white bean, and olive oil granola bars.

To my shock and delight, they are actually quite good. I think you have to think of them more as a rich cracker than a granola bar. But I really like them. Which, as far as I can tell, is the kiss of death for a consumer product.

The Fussys are outliers. And we’re okay with that. One of these days, the world will catch up.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2016 10:32 am

    Granola bars are getting a bad rap these days because most are high in sugar. But there are worse things than a granola bar – at least you get some oats and nuts and fiber in you. And I agree, I LOVE the hard, crunchy bars. Otherwise it’s like eating cake!

  2. ericscheirerstott permalink
    September 19, 2016 10:51 am

    basil, white bean, and olive oil granola bars. That actually sounds GOOD. I hope they don’t decide that it needs chocolate

  3. Bob W. permalink
    September 19, 2016 11:03 am

    I burned out on granola bars when we bought them in bulk, the kids tired of them, and then it became my fatherly duty to finish them off. I dutifully ate my way through the case and haven’t had another in a long time — but that basil, white bean, and olive oil bar could bring me back to the fold.

  4. Ewan permalink
    September 19, 2016 4:10 pm

    Care to expand on why you care about a non-GMO label? I have my scientist hat on..

    • September 19, 2016 4:50 pm

      I think I did in the post. It’s largely about soy and corn and a small number of companies holding patents on a large amount of our seeds. If I have a choice to buy into this scheme or opt out, I’ll choose to opt out.

      In the case of round-up ready corn and soy (and their ilk) it’s also about a risk /reward proposition.

      Show me the GE seed that will end world hunger or thrive in drought conditions and the calculous changes.

      Call me old fashioned. Call me a dinosaur. But I believe in IPM. Bugs. Weeds. Life. I’m glad my CSA corn comes with the occasional worm happily munching away on the kernels. Or that sometimes there’s
      a critter munching through my lettuce.

      Food should sustain all life. And these are my proverbial canaries.

  5. Ewan permalink
    September 20, 2016 12:45 pm

    Golden rice is one example (thanks!). More generally, GMO is NOT equivalent to any of: BigAg, increased chemical use, gene patents… and so on. It’s purely a description of the SAME PROCESS used by breeders for millenia, sped up.

    And yes, that includes drought-resistant (and/or saline-tolerant) crops; higher-yield crops; better flavour, etc – as well as market-driven tomatoes with little flavour, to be sure. The point is that trying to tar all of this with one label-brush is a bad idea, and opposing GMO just because it’s labelled GMO is anti-science.

    • September 20, 2016 3:34 pm

      But the only GMOs being used widely in almost every product on the grocery store shelves today are the BigAg herbicide resistant ones. And there are only three ways I know of to avoid them. One, buy from a small, transparent, and trusted local producer. Two, buy Certified Organic. Three, look for the Non-GMO label.

      I do all three.

      I’m having a hard time figuring out if you are carefully parsing the difference between GMO and GE when you are making the “same process” argument. But the seeds that I think demand more careful consideration are the ones that go through a decidedly different process than selective breeding.

  6. Laurf permalink
    September 21, 2016 5:14 pm

    Do they have an English karaoke interface yet or is it still almost all Chinese?

    • September 21, 2016 5:16 pm

      All Chinese. But we were able to manage. I hung back and just sang when handed the mic.

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