Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Facebook Ruined My Life

For years, coffee was an unwelcome presence in the Johnson family home. My parents both hated the taste, and coffee-drinking never became a part of their morning routine. The only time that nutty aroma of freshly brewed coffee showed its face in our home was on the occasion that my grandparents visited, or the even rarer occasion that my mom hosted a baby or wedding shower, or a church home group meeting. (And truth be told, she served instant coffee for those home gatherings)

It was a special treat then to take a small sip from the top of Grandma or Grandpa's steaming mug of bitter brew. I never dared to slurp too much, though. My parents reminded us continually that coffee drinking will make you short. And I believed them. My non-coffee drinking parents, at 6'1" and 5'10", towered over my caffeine-addicted grandparents. It made perfect sense.

But with the advent of Starbucks and a cozy coffee house or drive-through stand on every corner, my mom found her opinion of coffee changing. She found that, hidden beneath plenty of milk and a more than healthy dose of chocolate syrup, coffee was quite bearable.

And then, the world invented French Vanilla Coffee Mate creamer. My mom loves Coffee Mate creamer. Every morning she has a few cups of Coffee Mate creamer, diluted with a splash of coffee. And in the afternoon she microwaves the remains of the morning's coffee to enjoy her creamer again.

Coffee time has become family time when we're all at home. My mom, Sarah and I sit around the kitchen table with our mugs of coffee...Mom's diluted to within an inch of its life (especially if Sarah made the pot), Sarah's strong and heavy, but lightened with a healthy dose of Coffee Mate, and mine with just enough creamer to turn my coffee the color of a CPO's khaki uniform.  While we have graduated to more complex flavors than just French vanilla (Belgian chocolate toffee anyone?), you are hard pressed to find us drinking cofee without Coffee Mate.

Coffee Mate has established itself as a pillar of our culture of comfort and togetherness.

But yesterday my world was shattered--by a simple Facebook status update.
Sorry to make you bust out your reading glasses...
Prompted by Jennifer's comment about creamer having no dairy (which I knew), I decided to read the ingredients on the back of Steve's carton of Coffee Mate as I poured some into my waiting coffee mug. Big mistake.

**Note: If you prefer to have your illusions of flavored coffee creamer remain unsquelched, please stop reading now.

-Partially hydrogenated soybean oil or cottonseed oil
-Less than 2% of Sodim Caseinate (a milk derivative)
-A long list of chemicals whose names I can barely sound out

I almost threw up in my mouth. And then I poured the creamer into my cup. After all, I've been drinking the stuff for years. Why should anything be different today? Could knowledge really change taste?

I took a sip of my coffee and my mouth filled with the bitter, greasy taste of vegetable oil. The smooth texture that I once loved now reminded me of the feeling you get when you've eaten too much tempura. I might as well just drink motor oil.

Needless to say, the mug sat full on my desk for the rest of the day.

Maybe it was just a fluke. Maybe it was just a temporary reaction to becoming aware of some of the things we put in our bodies. Maybe this morning, my coffee would taste ok.

I poured a dollop of Toffee Nut Coffee Mate into my cup, topped it off with coffee, and went to work.

Alas, that cup, half filled with a combination of Folgers and vegetable oil, still sits in the Durango. I couldn't drink it.

Facebook ruined coffee for me.


Tiffany said...

Facebook only ruined CoffeeMate. There's always milk or half & half. =)

Mom said...

Tiff, without Coffee Mate there is no coffee! Of course, that's just me talkin'! lol And Heather, is nothing sacred? Now everyone will know my secret. However anyone who has ever drank coffee with me already knows, huh?

honestabe said...

Oh My Gosh the next thing we will read on Facebook - Coffee Mate ingredients will cause tongue cancer