Food innovations amaze me, not least because once they exist, it's impossible to understand what took so long. Sliced bread is the sine qua non, obviously, but there are lots of others - not even counting packaging innovations like ketchup in bottles with the opening at the bottom instead of the top or its ugly cousin, peanut butter and jelly in the same jar. Take salt and pepper potato chips, for instance. So simple, so obvious, such a natural extension of the salty snack repertoire - and so long in coming. I love to think about the mindset of the people who come up with these things. Can't you just see them? "Wait a minute, wait a minute...I've got it! Salt AND pepper!!"
My current favorite such innovation is a product called Zingers To Go, which is a cute box of little packets of green tea flavoring for 16.9 oz. bottles of water. I've always been a big drinker of water, but since I left Chicago - where the water is so delicious it's actually a drink all by itself - I've had to resort to bottled water, which is, frankly, really boring. By the time I get to the 5th or 6th bottle of the day, I'm just quenching thirst, not really enjoying the experience. Well, no longer. The little packets are incredible. You just dump their contents in the bottle, shake 'em up, and you have a light, flavorful drink. No calories, no carbonation, no messy decanting of large pitchers of more interesting water-based beverages into glasses for easy drinking. Antioxidants, too, whatever the hell those are. (Apparently, they're somehow healthy; at any rate, the box touts them excitedly.) My particular favorites are blueberry splash and wild berry chill (I think; I'm out of this one), but peach delight is nice, too. And the little packets are a cool shape - a cylindrical, tube sort of affair that puts me in mind of Pixie Stix and that high-rent sugar you sometimes see in tubes instead of packets. They even have quotations on them (most of them weak, but, still, nice idea).