Prepare to be shocked, rocked and variously dismayed.
Get ready to bring everything you thought you once knew into question.
Brace yourself for an encounter with the misshapen truth.
In the tradition of trailblazing investigative journalism reminiscent of the glory days of The Washington Post or more locally Tracey Grimshaw & all the gang at A Current Affair, SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK, after months of exhaustive research in and around the coffee shops of Brisbane, is finally now ready to lay bare the foundation-rocking findings of its undercover probe into what can only be labelled THE GREAT VANILLA SLICE CONSPIRACY.
Before the canon goes ‘boom’ however, let me establish some bona fides.
Vanilla slices and I have enjoyed a wanton love affair since as far back as when I was in the 6th grade. I can remembering ordering them from the school tuckshop and pretending to myself they were real food. Back then they came with pink icing on top and the custard (the colour of Maccas cheese) inside was quite gelatine which meant a vaguely plasticky feel (though still yum) when you bit down on it. And square, very square compared to today’s rectangular creations.
So to the business…
Food manufacturers reducing the portion sizes of their products but failing to adjust the price is nothing new. Australians are well aware of chocolate maker Cadbury’s much publicized many sins in this regard over recent times. Last year in the UK the company that produces Toblerone bars was forced to confirm, after suspicions were raised, that in an attempt to increase their bottom line and give consumers less for the same price without it being overly obvious, they had increased the size of the gap between its triangular chunks (smart!).
I can now verify that over the course of the last four to five years, the vanilla slices served up in various Brisbane coffee shops chains have gone from containing two internal layers of pastry to one internal layer of pastry to now no internal layers of pastry (see top photo). Naturally the in-your-guts kicker is the standard price for one of these poor-excuse-for-a-vanilla-slice anemic looking imitations is the you’ve-got-to be-kidding-me extortionist fee of $7.90!
Both Gloria Jeans and The Coffee Club (who use the same supplier for their pastries) are chief linchpins in the conspiracy. And a most silent conspiracy up until now it has been. When was the last time you saw vanilla slices front page news? No one’s been talking about it but all that ends now. The More Thriller Vanilla (MTV) movement is born as of today. The goal of this people’s movement is obviously to have at least one, and in time, both of the internal pastry layers restored. MTV will not rest until it’s goals have been achieved and in the meantime calls for a boycott of the purchase of all internal-pastry-layerless vanilla-slices.
Save the whales? By all means!
Save the white rhino? I’m pumped!
But for the love of all that is holy in this world can we also save the goddam vanilla slice before it’s too late for that endangered species as well!
Ps. Usually when I get this pent-up I call for someone to hand me a vanilla slice to soothe me. Since that won’t be possible under my present self-imposed ban I’ll be forced to reach for my other go-to – musk sticks!
Pss. Your bonus read this week is from a person who likes (quality) vanilla slices almost as much as me.
LICK THE ICING HERE
Psss. Your recommended reading this week is a 2012 published novel titled LIFE, DEATH and VANILLA SLICES written by English comedian, novelist and actress Jenny Eclair (1960 – ). LIFE, DEATH and VANILLA SLICES has been described as both funny and gut-wrenchingly poignant.
Pssss. As the photo below proves, VSD (Vanilla Slice Disillusionment) has spread to the top end of town across nations separated by vast blue water oceans. But allied power such as this can easily stop VSD dead in its tracks. I believe its time for those in positions of power to act before it’s too late. The economic rationalists responsible for this insidious erosion of vanilla slice standards may very well be planning to go ahead and remove the bloody top icing layer as well! And that would mostly definitely be a bridge too far.
And one more thing…
Not sure what the standard of vanilla slices is in England but I know the person to ask should I ever wish to know. James is a schoolteacher who lives in the town of Reading (40km from Oxford) in the south-east of England. He’s the CEO and chief ideas person behind a very entertaining blog calling itself JAMES PROCLAIMS. (SEE IT HERE)
A feature of James‘ blog is his standing offer to supply meaningful answers to any question posed to him. Recently I availed myself of his services when GOOGLE could not properly assist me. Here’s what I asked –
“Do our idyllic childhood memories set us up for a life of disappointment when inevitably many aspects of adult life do not measure up to how we first conceived of them from our cocooned viewpoint as ‘babes in the woods’ or… are we all really on our own Wizard of Oz ‘Peak Behind the Curtain’ journeys where the ultimate goal is acquiring wisdom and understanding without being brought undone by the occupational hazards of accompanying bitterness and disillusionment?”
And here was James’ reply –
To be honest Glen, by the time I got to the end of that question, I had pretty much forgotten how it all began. I find that my attention span isn’t what it once was. Or is it? I don’t know. I can’t remember if I ever had much of an attention span. Probably not. More to the point, am I actually answering your question at all? Let me revisit the question again…
(Musical interlude while James goes back to read the question)
Right, I think I’ve got this. Adult life is inherently disappointing, and we are definitely prone to reminiscing about better times. But they never happened. Life was always rubbish, and the only reason we might not have thought that when we were kids is because we were stupid. Although, even as an infant I was a little world-weary in truth.
9 thoughts on “The Great Vanilla Slice Ripoff”
The line ‘Charting the sad demise of the vanilla slice from the ‘Chardonnay of pastries’ to the common cask wine of the pantry’ made me laugh out loud! Classic!
I hope the campaign works.
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It may be a one man campaign at present but the boy scout movement got kicked off by just a single person (Robert Baden Powell in 1907) too, so let’s see if this one takes off.
The millefeuille or Napoleon is an exquisite experience of custard and the layers of pastry. Today’s version ‘the custard slice’ or ‘snot block’ as someone ref red to it the other day does not even belong in the same category.
If I were to be honest I wasn’t too keen on this delight when I was younger because I inevitably made a mess trying to ‘cut’ through the layers with the side of a spoon. It was like trying to cut a high rise with the levels squeezing out every which way.
Now cream donuts were all the go for my family. Fresh cream, hot dog shaped dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. To my disgust there would also be a glob of strawberry jam on top. No problems I always scraped that off. Earning one of these treats was as simple as holding it up its two and and chomping on it from the end. Today’s version pale into camparison to those of the yesteryear.
I too am on a self imposed ban due to risking life and death on a low carb diet.
I must say that my choice of lollies in the past have met with your approval. Fellow musk devotees.
Life will never be the same again.
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Expressed like the true blogger-in-waiting you are Michelle.
‘Snot block’? Hadn’t heard that one before but it has the ring of classic Aussie eloquence to it so I can understand and support it’s rightful place in the lexicon of local dialect.
And musk sticks?
For me they’re like a coffee-high without the caffeine. There’s something in them – could it be the musk scent? – that is so good for bringing to center stage my good friend Sarah Tonin.
And Wagon Wheels! These days you need a bloody magnifying glass, nay, a microscope to see one!
I feared laying bare the demise of the vanilla slice might turn out to be a slippery slope and open the gate to a whole tide of misgivings regarding declining manufacturing standards and portion sizes.
The Wagon Wheel was the next obvious cab off the rank in this grievance-airing forum.
Let’s remember them as they once were with these retro ads from 1991 and 1989 –
Even though the size and quality of the vanilla slice has been in rapid decline since I was a kid, I sill can’t resist buying one at the local bakery. Its a guilty pleasure of mine that I can’t seem to give up. I usually devour one in two bites, then feel guilty for the rest of the day!
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I visited a Travel Agency the other day called GUILT TRIPS but ended up not going ahead with the booking because of the price and the way that made me feel.
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