Premium ice cream has spoiled me for non-premium ice cream

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Our local grocery store has been sending us special just for us coupons in the mail, and each time it sends us coupons for various ice creams.  It knows our eating habits well.

Most recently, in addition to the standard pints of fancy boutique ice cream and Haagan-Daaz and Ben and Jerrys, we got a coupon for a half gallon of Bryers.

Back in college Bryers was the best, fanciest ice cream I could afford (mostly vanilla with minimal ingredients– is their vanilla still good?).  A huge step up from the big gallon tubs of generic ice cream my father would bring home when I was a kid.  Since DH and I got real jobs, we generally only get pints of premium stuff (or make our own!).

DH used the Bryers coupon to get a half gallon of Rocky Road.

Readers, it was meh.  Too sweet.  Not rich or creamy enough.  Nothing like the Haagan-Daaz we get.  I had a little and then it sat in the freezer until the children were reminded about it enough times for it to disappear.  DH did not partake other than a spoonful or two.

And I realized– I can not appreciate this thing I used to like because I regularly eat a better version.  Just like I can’t truly appreciate the chocolate of my youth because I’ve had too much high quality single source dark chocolate.  Even my favorite reeses peanut butter cups aren’t as good as the TJ’s knock-offs.

These premium items come in smaller packages too.  So I eat less than I did when we regularly bought the lower quality product because there is less.  Pints instead of half gallons.  Little tubs instead of big bags.

Am I getting more pleasure?  Am I getting less?  Is this healthier?  Is it worse on the family pocket-book?  It is hard to say.

Are there things that access to better products has destroyed for you?  How do you feel about that?

22 Responses to “Premium ice cream has spoiled me for non-premium ice cream”

  1. Susan Says:

    It’s not even pints anymore. Those pint-looking containers … are mostly not.

  2. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    I’m such a food snob now. Local, heritage breed meat has ruined me for the usual supermarket stuff. Ditto for local produce and fancy bakery bread. I used to be able to eat near anything and be pleased. I remember eating a small bag of Doritos Cool Ranch chips about a year ago, my childhood fave, and realizing, “wow, these taste like chemicals.” I definitely eat healthier, which is great, but I do worry about the hedonic adaptation.

    • kt Says:

      Similar here. I am fine with the meat thing — I think it strikes a good compromise for me between “ethical vegetarian although I’m not sure big ag vegetarian is really ethical so is it really good to be vegetarian or should I eat goat?” and carnivore. I like supporting the people who can do the local meat. It’s a skill set that should be valued.

      I worry a lot now about hedonic adaptation, because we have a kid. I remember growing up eating only Colby cheese. My 18-month-old spent today licking the local brie-like cheese off her crackers and demanding more. Sure, I dressed her up as a snowflake for Halloween, but do I actually want to raise a special snowflake?! How will she appreciate anything if she grows up with Brie and heritage pork? My friend who was raised with brie and heritage pork doesn’t appreciate enough; I think he’s less happy than I am. But do I feed her industrial pork so she appreciates heritage pork? The answer is no, but…

  3. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  4. Shannon Says:

    I am the same way. Typically, our local grocery store has one of the premium brands on sale, so I’ll switch back and forth, depending on what’s on sale. However, for the last month of so, none of the premium brands have been on sale. Because I am so cheap, I switched to Breyer’s – which was on sale. So not the same. We can afford to pay full price for the premium stuff, but I’ve been so conditioned to buying it on sale. Not sure what we are going to do moving forward. #firstworldproblems

  5. becca Says:

    I have a friend who gets low key excited about 50 cent Frosties at Wendy’s. Frosties are fine, if I’m walking somewhere on a hot day and pass a Wendy’s with no line? GREAT!- but I just don’t care about the price. I eat fast food out of convenience and I wouldn’t eat more if it were cheaper.

    I do eat a lot less bread than I did when I had access to good bakeries. With most sweet treats I will still eat them occasionally even if I’m accustomed to better quality. I love Halloween because I get my two butterfinger snacks. That’s it. Even an entire butterfinger candy bar is “too much” but at Halloween I’ll take two snack size and eat them on two different days and enjoy it.

    Baking cookies is a good way to never buy store made ones again (perhaps excepting take and bake dough, which is a pretty good product).

    The fact is, we live in a country that wastes something like 40% of all food. Even many poor people can afford way more calories and treats than they would ever want (nutrition is the premium cost, and convenience). You *have* to have personal rules about what not to eat if you don’t have any medical ones. I realize the only reason my vegetarian focused diet has endured low these 20 years? (Sidenote: god I’m old) is that I can’t process a menu and make a decision in a reasonable time frame if I were to eat meat.

    While it’s sad to realize things that once brought us joy no longer do, it’s not sad to realize we just get more joy out of different things now. Plus expectations are huge here. Just thinking “oh yes I love that treat” that you had years ago is kinda risky, irrespective of the quality wrinkle. I no longer enjoy poprocks and that’s ok. I can watch my kids enjoy them and that’s better.

  6. Nanani Says:

    Cheese! I ate cheez-whiz and the like when I was a kid, but now processed cheese-like toppings of that sort just taste like plastic. Includes “nacho cheese” sauce, and even most cream cheese.

  7. rose Says:

    VOTE! And thank you to N&M for posting and helping us all.

  8. FF Says:

    Breyer’s isn’t the same as it used to be. They used to base their advertising on being all-natural, but if you look at the ingredients, this isn’t the case anymoret. Some flavors are longer be labeled “ice cream” but “frozen dairy dessert” because there is no longer has enough butterfat to meet the requirements for ice cream. So your tastes may not have changed that much–its a different product now.

  9. Debbie M Says:

    I’m still good with a variety of richnesses in ice cream.

    I’m still good with both milk and dark chocolate, but I don’t like the waxy kinds anymore. On the other hand, since I had Leonidas filled chocolates (from Belgium), I can no longer eat things like Whitman’s samplers. To be fair, I never liked those chocolates (I’d keep trying them, hoping maybe this one would be good). Even that bad flavors of Leonidas (coffee) are better than the best flavors of Whitman’s. Maybe just knowing that good chocolates exist changed me into a person that won’t eat bad ones? That’s wacky.

    I’m also ruined for processed American cheese food spread (or whatever they call it). Except in queso dip. And I won’t buy those frozen pizzas that are so cheap they don’t even have real cheese on them.

    Campbell’s tomato soup. Has it always been sugary and I just never noticed before? Or have they sweetened it over the decades? I used to love that stuff, and now I hate it. Thank goodness for La Madeleine. Or even justing mixing almost any tomato product with cream or even milk and heating that up.

    Mostly I’m okay about losing my taste for things I used to like because a) something better is available and I can afford it an/or b) I now know how to make something better myself and/or c) the old thing isn’t healthy for me anyway or the new thing is healthier for me or less destructive to the environment or maybe even cheaper (if I’m forced to make it myself). One exception is that I used to like fried eggs, especially on toast or corned beef hash and I don’t anymore. I guess nothing better replaced that in my mind, so it doesn’t apply to your question.

    If I moved someplace where the better things weren’t available or I became a person who could no longer afford them, then I would definitely be sad that I couldn’t enjoy the old things anymore.

  10. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I didn’t know that Breyer’s had stopped being high quality, good to know.

    I used to hate losing my taste for the low quality low price thing because then it meant paying premium prices but I’m learning to balance that with lower quantities and appreciating that it can have a demonstrable effect on my health and well being.

  11. Leah Says:

    We eat Annie’s mac & cheese now instead of Kraft. So much better. Now, Kraft tastes fake to me.

    • becca Says:

      Oh that’s a good example. I liked Kraft as a kid, and loved Velveeta shells and cheese in college. Now I really like the Annie’s deluxe and Kraft and Velveeta disappoint. The regular powdered Annie’s is ok, but Mac and Cheese is definitely something I’m not *super* price sensitive to- I eat only what I “let” myself nutritionally because I would eat way too much otherwise. It’s just, if the shelf stable stuff gets above about $3, then it makes sense to get the frozen Amy’s and bake it.

      Mmmmmmmm Mac and Cheese…..

  12. Ask the grumpies: Ice cream preferences | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] wrong.  Inferior soft serve is not as good as hard scoop, but superior soft-serve is better than superior hard scoop.  Since then we’ve found a single food truck in the city closest to ours that has similarly […]

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