Monday, June 25, 2018

1961 Kicking the Can




This is not about “kicking the can down the road.” It’s about just kicking the can.  And it’s not really the can’s fault.  It’s the people who put stuff in it and sell it.

You can put on your steel-toed work boots and boot these things into the next century and when they arrive there, they may be dented but they’re still sealed.  They say “Best by 2/13/2104” for a reason.  And that’s not an expiration date, it’s just a precaution.

The cans to kick are those that have funny weights.  One in the cabinet says 14.5 ounces.  Not 14. Not 15. Certainly not 16. 14.5.  Where do they get that?

Maybe it’s because canned food makers think in metric.  So let’s find out what 14.5 ounces is in grams. Goodness!  It’s a nice round figure.  411.  Great if you ever forget the phone number for Directory Assistance.  Actually, we didn’t have to get out the scratch pad and the pencil. The gram weight is right there on the label.

So is the volume.  The can holds “One cup.”

We’re not talking about some unheard of brand of soup or string beans.  We’re talking about a national brand.  But we’ll call it Mother Cluck’s Original Recipe Chicken Broth.  Why commit slander via truth and name the brand?  But you’d know it the minute you saw it.

These odd measurements all have to do with the biggest question facing food retailers today: “How can I jack up the price without seeming to?”  Another translation: “How much less than usual can I put in the can, bottle or jar and charge the same, which is actually a price increase?”

It’s not what “Mother” would have done. Mother Cluck who actually is a 76-year-old man who inherited the company from his father who inherited it from his father.  Yes, the Cluck Family has been in the canning trade for three generations.  But Mother herself never had anything to do with the company other than creating the secret recipe.

It’s not so secret anymore.  Here it is:

Ingredients:
--Four quarts of water.
--One chicken.
--Salt.

Prep:
Place the salt, water and chicken in the pot and heat on the stovetop until most traces of the chicken disappear.

Strain the liquid.

Later, you can make the recipe without the salt and call the product “Mother Cluck’s Chicken Broth -- Low Sodium.”

But let’s get back to those ingredients for a moment. Many recipes require unusual measurements.  For example, yours may require ¾ of a cup of broth, if It were one cup or half a cup, measurement would be easy.  Dump the contents of the can or half the contents into whatever you’re using it for.

¾ of a cup takes some careful measurement.

Oh… and then there’s the nutrition label.  Calories per serving: 100.  Servings per can: About 2.45.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Once a family gets to a third generation it’s about ready to fold.” -- attributed to Steve Forbes who is the third generation of his family to run the magazine.  Quoted by Mother Clucker CEO of Mother Clucker’s of which he is the third generation owner.

Movie Recommendation: “The Promise.” If you find it on either your streaming service or real TV, consider watching it.  It’s a tangled love story and about how our great ally and NATO partner, Turkey, tried to obliterate its entire Armenian population around the time of WWI, something they still deny.  No big names were hurt or during the making of this movie because no big names were in it.

SHRAPNEL:
--Dan Ingram was the disc jockey many of us in radio wanted most to be like.  Ingram died yesterday in Florida at 83 of complications from Parkinson's. He was lightning-witted, a little risqué and smooth on the air and a joy to listen to.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
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© WJR 2018



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