I’m not a fan of packaged and processed foods, but sometimes packaged is the only way to go, since making homemade pasta, peanut butter or maple syrup isn’t feasible for 99% of the population.
That being said, there are better options within the realm of packaged foods. Whole wheat pastas are quite good (and no longer that expensive), while there are plenty of peanut butters available without added sugar, salt and hydrogenated oil.
As for maple syrup, there was a lighthearted article in The New York Times yesterday about an IHOP in Vermont that offers real maple syrup (the only IHOP in North America to do so), supplementing IHOP’s usual synthetic rainbow of flavors.
The real stuff isn’t listed on the menu yet, though, causing several diners post-pancake angst.
“I’m disappointed,” the article quoted one person as saying. “I ruined my pancakes.”