A Cup, A Cup, A Cup, A Cup Of Sodium Caseinate

For the coffee lover, fall ushers in the best of times: that of the yummy flavored coffees.  Rich pumpkin, deep chocolate notes, earthy wafts of cinnamon spice all beckon from grocery store and specialty shop shelves.  “Drink Me,” they say.  “Drink and be warmed and soothed by my rich, roasted goodness.”

I was pretty stoked to select a bottle of Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer to begin this season of caffeinated revelry.

As I stirred the creamer into my cup of joe, I admired the packaging.  A silhouette of cows, tractor and barn on the front hinted at the production facilities used by the manufacturer, Friendly Farms.

Then I turned the bottle around to the ingredients.  Apparently, what with the bad economy and all, Farmer Friendly is moonlighting at the local chemical plant.

Here’s the rundown of ingredients in the “cream”:

Water, sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, less than 2% sodium caseinate (A milk derivative*) dipotassium phosphate, disodium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavors, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, color added, carrageenan.  Not a source of lactose. 

And in tiny print at the end: “Contains: Milk.”  Really?  Where?  Oh, you mean the less than 2% milk derivative.  I should have known.  How many times have my kids come running into the kitchen as I’m removing a batch of warm cookies from the oven and pleaded, “Mom, can we have some cookies and sodium caseinate derivative?”  “OK kids,” I’d laughingly say, “but don’t spoil your appetite!”

Rereading the bottle, I see that nowhere does it actually claim to be cream.  All it says is “Pumpkin Spice”.  The clever packagers know that my brain will infer the cream part, based on the picture on the cover, the shape of the bottle and its placement in the dairy section near other cream-ish products. 

*Interesting side note: have you noticed that dairy products now come in bottles that look like Mae West?  I read an article that manufacturers have switched to this package because research shows that bottles with a thinner waist are more attractive to buyers.  Apparently, we are so stupid that we equate a shapely bottle with a shapelier us.

The front of the bottle advises “Shake well” in little letters.  They should print a hazmat warning, instead.  If you get an unadulterated swallow of dipotassium phosphate, your head might balloon up like a blowfish.

It wouldn’t be so bad to be putting all these questionable chemicals in my body if it tasted good.  After all, we all know we’re taking our lives in our hands when we eat a Twinkie, but we’re willing to take the risk for the sake of the sugary, creamy goodness therein.  But this stuff doesn’t even taste like pumpkin.  It doesn’t taste like anything, really.  It just turns the coffee tan if you put enough in the cup.

I guess if I want real, natural pumpkin flavor in my coffee, I would need to cut open a jack-o-lantern, throw in a pot of java and swish it around.  Somehow, that doesn’t appeal.

I threw out the pumpkin spice creamer, a sadder but wiser gal.   I’ll be going back to plain, old, real cream.  It’s not very exotic, but at least I have a good chance of coming out of that encounter alive.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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55 Responses to A Cup, A Cup, A Cup, A Cup Of Sodium Caseinate

  1. Jackie says:

    I wish I were a hardcore coffee gal and could give you tips on how to recreate a pumpkin spice latte for yourself. But I love the idea of purchasing pumpkins and swishing around the coffee inside. That should do it. Be sure to send the pumpkins to me for some carving; mine rotted 2 weeks ago 😉


  2. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Apparently, we’ll eat or drink anything if it’s packaged right. We’re just that dumb. Loved the video!


  3. Mmm…tastes just like the sodium caseinate derivative Mom used to make!


  4. Precisely why I’ve even stopped buying fat free half & half. I looked at the incredients and said, “Um… that’s not real.” So… there’s fat in my coffee. Which I’m drinking right now, so it was an excellent time to read your post. I wonder if anybody sells the pumpkin syrup Starbucks uses to make its lattes? And then you can just sprinkle in some pie spice (allspice works, or cinnamon and nutmeg)… I wish you luck finding a satisfying and non-chemical concoction!


  5. Tori Nelson says:

    Ick. Nothing starts your morning right like a nice swig of pumpkin flavored cell carrageenan!


  6. “It just turns the coffee tan if you put enough in the cup.” Ha! That about sums it up.

    My husband buys creamer all the time this time of year and no matter how many different flavors he pushes on me, it all tastes the same. Burnt bitter syrupy sugar. “Hey, honey! Try this one, it’s Maple Syrup Pancake with just a sprinkle of cinnamon bun!”


    • pegoleg says:

      With me, it’s all about getting the taste equivalent of a stack of maple syrup pancakes, or pumpkin pie, without the environmental impact on my thighs. Sigh. Tell your hubbie to let me know if he finds a keeper, ok?


  7. Evie Garone says:

    Damn, we can’t get a break! All we’re asking for is a little treat in our coffee! Are you happy or sad you read the ingredients, for after all the saying is ignorance is bliss! So what is in all those tasty treats at the Starbucks that come out every season . . . oh, NO! Do not go there! Good blog!


  8. Amy says:

    I started reading ingredient lables a few years ago and now I wish I hadn’t. It started with high-fructose corn syrup – they put that crap in EVERYTHING! It’s hard to buy stuff without it. I became obsessed and now it takes me twice as long to go shopping because I’m squinting at sides of boxes looking for words I can’t pronounce.
    Just give me good, old fashioned milk in my coffee with a little sugar (brown sugar is a nice substitute, too) and I’m happy.


    • pegoleg says:

      I’m a little late to the label-reading club, but I’m trying to go healthy as much as possible (yuck). This old body is so used to fillers and nitrates, too much healthy might send me into shock!

      I’m going to try the brown sugar- sounds good!


  9. gojulesgo says:

    I’m trying to give up Lean Pockets for the same reason! (I did just order Pumpkin Spice coffee, but plan on enjoying it with my usual half-and-half.)

    That picture is fantastic.


    • pegoleg says:

      Lean Pockets? What’s wrong with those? Lots of wholesome leanness – you can’t go wrong. Do you think the Pumpkin Spice coffee manufacturers put any real pumpkin anywhere in there? Do we even want to know?


  10. ldsrr91 says:

    My favorite beanery changed the brand of coffee today, to something called “Truckstop Blend” and it is really bad. I may have to go back to Ice Tea.

    Nothing ever stays the same in my world.

    Enjoyed the piece and the “about comments.”



  11. I love the part about the bottle looking like Mae West! I was picturing the pumpkin spice “creamer” in the refrigerator case calling out in that deep rasping voice, “hey there Peg-o-leg, why don’t we meet for coffee some time.” Right now I’m eating the fall flavors and drinking vanilla caramel ~ flavored coffee, shot of sugar free caramel flavoring (acesulfame potassium and friends) and I go for the big guns… light cream!


  12. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I’ve given up buying the fake pumpkin lattes that coffee shops serve. None of them are pumpkin spice-y enough! I’ll just content myself with adding nutmeg and cinnamon to my coffee with skim milk. If I froth the milk, it feels fancier and seems to taste better.


  13. Sandy Sue says:

    That radioactive fake creamer will give you goiters, girl! I think there’s such a thing as cinnamon syrup in the spices aisle at the grocery store that you might try with your Half ‘N’ Half. Maybe there’s other kinds now that the season is upon us.

    Those Andrew Sisters are adorable. I like Manhattan Transfer’s version of “Java Jive” too.


  14. pattisj says:

    I think I may be going back to tea, as well. You’ve taken all the fun out of coffee. 😉


  15. This is exactly why I don’t drink coffee…or tea. Or anything that requires fake creamer.


  16. Fun post! And I loved the video.

    In my world, I have little kids and so do my friends. As such, many of us have formula in our homes. You can guess where this is going. 🙂 Apparently, it’s not half bad when used as a creamer! Especially if it’s already in your house and saves a trip to the store with the little ones.


  17. Nonstepmom says:

    Try this: 2 tbsp canned pumpkin (not pie filling); 1 tsp vanilla; alittle milk or cream (about 1/4 c) apinch of cinnamon & cloves, I like alittle sugar. Put in big coffee mug, & pour coffee over. It’s not shaped like Mae West, but its natural & cheaper than coffee shops. (I mix abunch together & it keeps in the frig all week). Great blog!


  18. Seasweetie says:

    I would say just whip up some cream and add some pumpkin pie spices. But that sounds so far beyond my domestic capabilities that I wouldn’t actually suggest it to anyone else.

    On a related note, I read the ingredients in my shampoo yesterday and did not know what a single one of them was. All I know is that I put a whole bunch of chemicals on my head every morning and rub them into my scalp. My brain is probably absorbing them, which contributes to my “eclecticism”.


  19. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    “Mom, can we have some cookies and sodium caseinate derivative?”
    Unfortunately, I was drinking a smoothie at the exact moment I read this sentence.

    I had enough sense to put down my drink at that point, which is good, because my keyboard would otherwise have been toast at:
    I guess if I want real, natural pumpkin flavor in my coffee, I would need to cut open a jack-o-lantern, throw in a pot of java and swish it around.

    I love this post so much. In fact, you could say I love it about a billion times more than I love the pumpkin spice latte I procured last Friday. After having a sip, I texted a girlfriend:
    I remember pumpkin spice lattes being twice as tasty and half as expensive.

    (Oh, and when I say “texted”? I mean, “telepathically communicated,” because there’s no way I’d keep on sending text messages after realizing it’s actually hurting my hands. I’m definitely smarter than that. *cough*)


    • pegoleg says:

      Maybe we should just splurge and eat a whole pumpkin pie with REAL whipped cream and be done with it.

      Nice save on the texting comment there, Deb. I KNOW you’re too smart to mortgage your future for the sake of textural gratification.


  20. …in a tiny voice… I really like the Pumpkin Spice creamer… have some in the fridge right now. Don’t shoot me.


  21. Big Al says:

    You should have saved it. You could have used it for fuel oil when furnace ran out.


  22. If it has more than 3 ingredients and any that I can’t easily pronounce, I don’t consume it. I don’t consume much…:|

    I love how you cleverly make your point. You’re GOOD!


    • pegoleg says:

      That’s a really good motto – both about the 3 ingredients AND the “you’re good” :). I know that the more foods are processed, the worse they are for us. But the ingrained bad eating habits of a lifetime are so hard to break.


  23. That’s why I stick with Starbucks…their “non-fat, vente, pumpkin spice, latte, no whip” is delicious and has no ingredients listed (except the forementioned)….now…I figure if you can learn how to order it (I truly have a friend who is scared to go to Starbucks for fear of knowing how to order coffee), that should be enough, who cares what’s in it! LOL 🙂


  24. Pingback: A Cupdate | Ramblings

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