Monday, January 12, 2015

Why I should have read the large print before biting

For no apparent reason today I am depressed. It could be fall-out from Younger Son's depression (funding and problems with lack of communication with supervisors in university) about which I can do nothing (although I have suggested that I travel to Plymouth and kick some butt) or more likely it's this grey wet and windy weather. I feel I should do something practical to combat my lethargy but I feel too lethargic to bother. Hey ho. All things will pass.

So, anyway, this afternoon to relieve my misery I rummaged in the pantry for something yummy to eat being rather desperate as I finished the very last of my Christmas Maltesers yesterday. My eyes alighted upon Amaretti, Italian specialist biscuits, a Christmas gift. 'If only they weren't almond-flavoured,' I thought seeing as how I don't like almond. 'But are they?' I further thought.  

I was desperate. I took them in the study and studied the small print.
No mention of almonds there, just apricot kernels. 'That's odd but ...' I opened the box and unwrapped one of the delightfully packaged sweetmeats. I bit into it.
'Urgh!!!! Almonds! they lied to me!'

That was when I noticed in big writing on the front of the box:
A little googling however shows that both almonds and apricots are from the same genus, prunus, and that their poisonous seeds contain cyanide. Except for the originally rare few that didn't and which have been cloned by budding and grafting to provide the almond-growers of the world with a source that won't kill people. 

So I guess in some cases that apricot kernels are used in place of almonds. Indeed in China there has even been a court case about the misleading naming of products. Who'd have thought it? 


nick said...

Almond flavoured cookies, indeed. What a big con. Next we'll be getting peanut butter without the peanuts or walnut whirls without the walnuts. Is nothing free from commercial adulteration?

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Liz, I do hope that you feel perkier very soon. I am sure the grey, wet weather is not helping at all either. It will pass.

I am sure that Amaretti do have Almonds in them, one of the main ingredients. I just googled it. But it does say Almond flavour on the front , so I am not sure.

Found this on Google...Apricot kernels are poisonous, but not if you bake them at a certain temperature !

Found this "from Lombardy is the famous Amaretto di Saronno (from the homonymous town). Particularly well known is the version commercialized by D. Lazzaroni & C. called Amaretti Originali and made exclusively of sugar, apricot kernels (19%), and egg white."

And Nick they Peanut Butter without Peanuts, I will take a photo in Tescos next time I am down there.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

This year, we have Trader Giotto’s Crunchy Amaretti Tradizionale, made exclusively for us by a company in Italy’s Ligurian region that’s specialized in this particular type of cookie for more than 150 years. These crunchy cookies with the subtle flavor of almond are made with just three ingredients—sugar, apricot kernels, and egg whites. No almond? Nope. The small, almond-shaped kernel that’s found within an apricot’s pit is the source of the almond flavor. Almonds and apricots are botanical relatives, so this actually does make some sense—and this is the way Amaretti cookies have been made since 1860. So they are ok , as the flavour comes from the almond shaped kernel from the Apricot Pit. I knew I would find the answer . :-)

Liz Hinds said...

Indeed, Nick, but after the dumbing down of creme eggs we should not be surprised at anything!

Thank you for your research, Anne. It was confusing that it says almond flavoured but then doesn't contain almonds!

Ole Phat Stu said...

Here's something to depress you even more :-(

Cadbury's new American owners are changing the recipe for Creme Eggs, saving money by coating them in lower quality chocolate, whilst selling them in multipacks of five instead of six.

mrsnesbitt said...

Sounds very similar to my marmite moment! lol! My Auntie Dot nearly choked on a buttered brazil - it was quite a dramatic episode for a 9 year old to witness suffice to say I haven't touched one in my life!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I disliked Cadbury chocolates before they changed and now I cannot stand them ,, so disgusting. Americans do not know what chocolate is. And I know that from my American friends.

What is a Buttered Brazil?

nick said...

Anne: Peanut butter without peanuts? Good grief....

James Higham said...

Liz, can you email me at nourishingobscurityatgmaildotcom as I've lost your email and it's not at your site here. Question about two mutual friends. Delete this comment after it.