Monday, March 07, 2011

Visiting the Kraft Kitchens

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard rumblings about a trip to Toronto over Spring Break and that I will be visiting the Kraft Kitchens.

Wait, I can hear you saying, doesn't Kraft make processed food?

Yes. They do.

I won't lie-when I first was invited, I was kind of excited. I'm human, you know.

Time went by, the dust settled, and then I really thought about it. The truth is, we don't eat a lot of Kraft products. I abhor Cheese Whiz and think it's only 1 step away from eating plastic. Kraft singles are not real cheese and I refuse to buy them. Dream Whip is 'edible oil product'. Oscar Meyer? Are you kidding?

Sorry, Kraft. There are a ton of your products I really don't consider food. I won't buy them, I won't promote them, they will not pass my lips or make their way into my shopping cart. (except for my incredible weakness for Oreos, the only packaged cookie I will ever eat)


There's products I love, you know. Nabob coffee has been the only coffee in my house for 20 years. Those yummy cheesecake brownies were made with Philadelphia cream cheese. I often buy Cracker Barrel cheese, and swear by Certo when I make jam. Baker's chocolate, Kraft Peanut butter, Magic Baking Powder, Jet Puffed Marshmallows, Miracle Whip, and Sugar in the Raw are staples in my pantry. I buy, and eat, them all the time. In fact, I have mentioned them in posts here before Kraft ever contacted me.

I want readers to know that I am going because my curiosity is piqued, not because of any job possibilities or swag that could be involved. It's an interesting dilemma, I think; by supporting the real and unprocessed food that I use and bake with all the time, am I supporting the Cheese Whiz? Is it wrong to even buy that brand, despite the fact that sometimes I have no better alternatives, if any at all? I have never made it a secret that I bake, and I believe in full fat decadent baking, so does it make it wrong that I then promote things like chocolate? Marshmallows?

Let's be honest-I DO support home made, from scratch food. I also realize that food is expensive, and a lot of people I know can't afford to buy organic, natural products that can cost double of a regular run of the mill can of tomatoes, for instance. You do the best you can and sometimes, you have to make compromises. If I have a choice of No name brand cream cheese or Philadelphia, I go for Philadelphia. Why? I like it better. Can I afford the all natural, goat's cream cheese from Vancouver Island that is amazing but goes for twice the money? And I doubt you can either, so while I can talk about amazing, organic, natural food here on my blog, the reality is there are a lot of people out there who can't afford to buy it. Why should I exclude them?

My intentions are this; I want to see these food companies, up close and personal. I want to ask questions, like why their packaged food here in Canada has so much salt, or why their products in the USA use milk from Genetically Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone. I want to know what they think they'll get from a food blogger like me. I want to be the one blogger in the room asking the tough questions. I want to know what those of us who have been fighting for real food in schools are up against, first hand. I want to ask them, for my 15 year old, to make a salad dressing that doesn't have MSG in it and has more natural ingredients. I don't want to be just words on a screen, I want to be there, in person, looking them in the eye.

Jamie Oliver commented to me months ago, when I was complaining about some incessant emails from fast food companies, "You must be doing something right. They want to talk."

Okay, then. Let's talk. I'm curious. However, be warned.

Getting me curious can be a dangerous thing. I am really stubborn, I love to research, and I can be downright annoyingly persistent.

So tell me, dear readers, what would you like me to ask Kraft Canada?

In the interests of being absolutely transparent with all of you, I need to tell you that Kraft is paying for my flight and one night hotel stay in Toronto. This will, in no way, influence my opinions of their products. I am using this trip for research purposes-to gather information for readers and myself, to then help me more carefully consider any future dealings I have with Kraft, including talking about the products that I have listed that I buy and enjoy. At the moment I'm undecided.

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