The New Yorker: How Carob Traumatized a Generation By Jonathan Kauffman


#1

excerpt:

In the nineteen-seventies, carob infiltrated food co-ops and baking books as if it had been sent on a cointelpro mission to alienate the left’s next generation. “Delicious in brownies, hot drinks, cakes and ‘Confections without Objections,’ ” the 1968 vegan cookbook “Ten Talents” crowed, noting, too, that it was a proven bowel conditioner. “Give carob a try,” Maureen Goldsmith, the author of “The Organic Yenta,” encouraged, but even her endorsement came with a hedge; in the note to her recipe for carob pudding, she confessed that she still snuck out for actual chocolate from time to time—though less and less often! No one under the age of twelve could stand the stuff. Not the candy bars that encased a puck of barely sweetened peanut butter in a thin, waxy brown shell, nor the cookies—whole wheat, honey-sweetened—studded with carob chunks that refused to melt in the mouth, instead caking unpleasantly between the teeth.


#2

Just came to post the same link.

As a child of back-to-nature/hippie/commune-living parents, I experienced the horror of carob.

Firsthand.

Repeatedly.

This traumatized me for life.

I still eyeball, with great wariness, any granola (or “gorp” as it was called in our home) that contains anything that looks like it might be harboring that nasty, misleading carob instead of the gloriousness of chocolate!

(Imagine my “adults are evil” realization that our mother fed us carob…while keeping a stash of REAL CHOCOLATE hidden in the pantry! Yes, to this day I question authority and what else it’s keeping hidden from me.)


#3

Mine kept a little glass bottle of coca-cola in the vegetable bin - something us kids were allowed perhaps once a year!


#4

I understand the pain, but folks need to get over it. Carob is delicious. It’s just that it’s not in any way a chocolate substitute any more than vanilla is, and that was the problem. One of my favorite ice cream toppings is carob syrup on butter pecan.

Gee, I’m not even sure which candy bars he’s referring to here. The ones you found in every old timey health food store (and still do) are Tiger Bars which are as sweet as any other candy bar - unsurprising given that their primary ingredient is, like other candy bars, high fructose corn syrup. I always liked them - hell, now I WANT one.


#5

I wasn’t raised as the child of hippies but growing up in CA there was a lot of carob out there, I distinctly remember buying trail mix and feeling betrayed and upset about the carob in it. My parents didn’t push it on us as if it was chocolate but there were a few unfortunate incidents where i learned quickly to avoid it.
Hasn’t really been an issue since, and i just can’t imagine a reason to eat it now.


#6

Ha … below is a picture of my prevention reading, European health spa original member, mother, of four who was pushing late forties in this pic. You know there was carob in our house, we cried. My little sister discovered her snickers stash on a shelf in the back of one of her bedroom closets … she got in trouble … more crying … what we had (carob) in our house was not good, ever
EDIT: the snickers stash lasted her lifetime she kept it (hidden) even when she lived alone
the carob fortunately disappeared at some point


#7

I made trail mix, carob, and other products while working at the leader of the industry in Santa Cruz in the eighties. You want me to tell you about it. I don’t think so.


#8

Shudder The carob and the hand-rolled, unsweetened peanut butter and raisin balls rolled in coconut flakes that we used to hand out for Halloween… it’s a wonder there wasn’t some secret hobo mark in front of our door warning kids away when I was growing up. Thanks for the memories.