Thursday, January 11, 2007

No trans fats. Never had 'em. Never will.

Starbucks announced that it is eliminating trans fats from its baked
goods. It might be better for Starbucks to eliminate baked goods.

Toscanini's gets baked goods from Toscanini's & Sons and Petsi's
Bakery. Both are on Beacon Street, the strange street that runs out of
Inman Square and almost reaches Porter Square. Neither place has ever
used trans-fats. T&Sons makes a fabulous vegan chocolate cupcake and I
also like Petsi's scones on the weekend.

Two years ago my sister and I went to the Fancy Foods Show in
Manhattan. Mimi was working for Tiny Trapeze, the confectionary
company that Whole Foods later purchased. The Fancy Foods show is a
great place for Foodies. There are entire aisles for countries like
France and Belgium and other aisles for regions like Tuscany. Most of
the food is delicious.

There is also a percentage of low-end junk food. This year the most
popular new items were barbeque sauces. Again. When you go to Fancy
Foods shows the most popular "other" items are either bizarre potato
chips or barbeque sauces. If you make a barbeque flavored potato chip
named after a geographic resort area like Cape May, Cape Cod, or Cape
Anne then you can come to every show.

The Tiny Trapeze booth was next to a sprawling setup for a commercial
bakery that supplied most of the Starbucks in the Northeast. Their
bakery was in The Bronx. The show opened on Friday. Thursday night
everyone set up their booths, but this guy was also taking the time to
slice up his samples. I asked him if it wasn't a little early to open
and divide all these baked goods. "Oh no," he said, "they'll last a
week under any circumstances." He was a cheerful sweet man but I
resolved never to eat anything at Starbucks.

Long ago Boston had Coffee Connection and Coffee Connection had a some
pretty good food to eat. They had a chocolate fudge brownie that was
outstanding. When Starbucks bought out Coffee Connecftion they began
to systemize their baked goods. Local bakeries like Bond and Burkhardt
would be hired to provide food for all the regional cafes. But things
went steadily downhill. I know some people like Starbucks' little
cookies but everything else went out the window. After the Fancy Foods
show I knew that it was hopeless. You were never going to find a
chocolate croissant with a little extra chocolate inside. You would
find chocolate croissants that your family could store in their shelter
along with sixty gallons of water for each household member. Now
Starbucks sells sandwiches and salads and is moving into breakfast.

I think Starbucks does a number of things well. I don't care for the
coffee but one could argue about that. The food is a lost cause. I'd
try to sell more books and records and videos. They do those things
reasonably well.