Don’t Just Taste, Eat the Rainbow, Part 1
“Hope your birthday is a slice of wonderful…with frosting on top! (preferably Rainbow Chip, but we’ll take whatever delicious frosting finds us, no?)” a dear friend wrote in the birthday card she sent me. We lived together a couple of years ago, and on my birthday that year I had a “cupcakes and karaoke party,” which included confetti cupcakes with Rainbow Chip frosting. Before the party I had expounded on the virtues of Rainbow Chip (vs. every other store-bought frosting, particularly Funfetti/confetti/sprinkles). There really is nothing like this frosting, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. My mom used to make us these cakes and cupcakes for special occasions (and on request), and when I moved to New York, I started baking and bringing in treats for my coworkers. I varied what I made, but confetti cupcakes with Rainbow Chip frosting were included in the rotation.
Grocery stores in New York are small and often carry only one or two varieties of any given item; I could typically find frosting in chocolate, vanilla, maybe cream cheese/butter cream, but I managed to track down a C-Town not too far from me (but certainly out of the way) that carried Rainbow Chip, and whenever I was in the neighborhood I picked up a couple of tubs of the multi-colored candy-infused icing just to have on hand.
When I moved back to the Midwest (land of baked goods galore), I figured RC would be easier to find. After all, not only are grocery stores larger (and there are more of them), but I was moving to the hometown headquarters of General Mills, the company that owns Betty Crocker, maker of Rainbow Chip frosting. SURELY I would be able to find this beloved frosting whenever/wherever.*
Therefore, I was very frustrated last year when I started having a harder time finding it. At first, I could only find it in certain chains. Then only one store. Finally, I couldn’t find it at all. I attributed it to hitting the stores before they’d restocked, but it got so that I stopped being able to locate its place on the shelves, as stores no longer had a spot dedicated to my favorite** frosting.
I checked the Betty Crocker website to locate a store where I could purchase RC frosting and when that didn’t work, I looked for reasons why I couldn’t find the frosting and found conflicting results: there was a statement from Betty Crocker that the frosting hadn’t been discontinued but that stores’ stocks varied from location to location (which felt like a redirection of blame). I then saw that people were selling the frosting (for $50 a tub and up) on eBay, which made me regret not buying more in bulk when I first noticed the shortage. It also made me really regret having to throw a tub (or two?) away in the time I’ve lived in my current apartment because they keep the heat at 85 degrees, so even though the frosting hadn’t expired date-wise, it had gone bad.
When I checked back recently on the Betty Crocker website, I found no explanation (but a confirmation that the frosting had, in fact, been discontinued) and a ridiculous redirect to Rainbow Sprinkle frosting. Which, as everyone knows, is not Rainbow Chip frosting, and, as plenty of people pointed out in the comments section of the new frosting, has already existed in the inventory of icing offered by Betty Crocker’s competitors. In short, if you wanted Rainbow Sprinkle frosting (aka Funfetti/Confetti), there were companies that already offered it.
The public’s response to this has been to write over 150 (!) comments on the Betty Crocker Rainbow Sprinkle frosting page (which searches for Rainbow Chip frosting redirect to, no doubt because of said comments). Commenters initially posted on the Rainbow Chip page, but it, like the product, has since been removed. These comments are hilarious–pure poetry in some cases–but they are also sincerely sad.
I’m sincerely sad about this.
I’m sad for myself because I love this frosting. I’m sad for the other people who love this frosting. And I’m sad for future children who won’t know the delights of this festive, colorful treat. In a blah world, Rainbow Chip frosting was a ray of sunshine that hit droplets of water to create a prism. And you could eat it! What I read in these genuine, angry, sad comments was that this frosting represents many treasured memories, and its discontinuation, for some people, has signaled the death of childhood and a fraying of the connection to childhood.
Seriously, though. The only way I can make sense of this is that something in the Rainbow Chip frosting ingredients was discovered to be fatally toxic and Betty Crocker doesn’t want people to know this because then they would start filing lawsuits. Otherwise, I can’t understand how you could read the outrage (and it is outrage) in these comments and not consider re-releasing Rainbow Chip frosting.
I plan to post next week a few of my favorite comments, but if you want to read them in their entirety, check out this website. With names like “luvrainbowchip,” “rainbowchipMOM,”RnBowChp,” “loverainbowchip,” “rainbowchipFan,” and “ILiveForRainbowCHIP,” you can see there’s no shortage of RC frosting fans.
If you want to sign a petition to bring back Rainbow Chip frosting, check out here, here, and here (all on Change.org) or go to the Hey Betty Crocker Bring Back Rainbow Chip Frosting Facebook page or the Why Facebook page for the same basic sentiment. If you want to watch a heartfelt plea on YouTube (not me, but still), check it out. If you want to write letters to Betty Crocker, here is the address:
|General Mills, Inc.
P.O. Box 9452
Minneapolis, MN 55440
If you need something to get you through in the interim, check out this recipe on the blog Not Without Salt. I haven’t tried it, but if BC doesn’t bring back RC, I might just have to.
Please, Betty. Bring RC back! -Sarah
*You know, like the Shakira song. I mean, the frosting didn’t exactly have me head-over-heels, but my relationship with it has lasted far longer than any romantic relationship, and it has even helped me cope with a few break-ups.
**Store-bought. My mom makes really good Sea Foam Frosting and Cream Cheese Frosting*** from scratch, and there have been other homemade versions I have liked. Really, all you need is butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little milk and you can whip up a frosting.
***They’re in caps because they’re titles of recipes.