YouTube Friday – Crosby’s Sexy Granmda Molasses Recipes

Well, there’s a phrase I never thought I’d be typing, but here we are.

Crosby’s, for those of you who may never have heard of it, is a Canadian sweetener company whose founding only slightly post-dates that of Confederation.  Just about every kitchen in the country has, at some point, had their little brown-and-yellow carton of molasses in their cupboard.  Consequently, just about every child in Canada has at some point discovered that even though it’s in the same cabinet as the maple syrup, Crosby’s molasses definitely is not as amazing to pour directly into the mouth.

As such — specifically, the sum of black, bitter alternative + delicious pancake topping + perennially-stained semi-cardboard container that only Mom ever had a use for — Crosby’s molasses has never really had a chance to be cool.  Which makes sense, right?  The box cries out to us in colors firmly rooted in the late sixties and early seventies, a time when we as a civilization were unafraid of yellow, brown, light green and powder blue in a way that we never were before or would be since.  That it goes on to call itself “fancy” is, to those of us unschooled in the grading of such things, just the tiniest bit sad.

Originally founded in Saint John, New Brunswick (which you should never confuse with Saint John’s, Newfoundland, if you are amongst East Coast folk and do not want to have a really long evening), in 1879, Crosby’s is the sort of heartwarming Canadian success story that makes us all still feel like we have a national identity:  The business is still based there, is still producing molasses and refined sugar products, and is still in the hands of the Crosby family, four generations later.  And like everything Canadian, it’s trying very hard to break out of the perception that it hasn’t had anything new to offer in 50 years.

So, they decided to do a little re-branding.

Not long ago, Crosby’s decided to go for it and embrace their affiliation with dusty old grandmas, and then promptly spice it up with a little bit of good old-fashioned, thinly-veiled filth.  Setting gently aside their warm family history and earnest commitment to the environment, their helpful primers on the nutrient content of molasses (so that’s how much manganese is in there!), or their free recipe book, Crosby’s moved away from their traditional approach and went full on into the world of cussing old ladies.

Now, the Old Ladies Doing Saucy Things trend has been out there for a while, as we all know.  Betty White is the acknowledged leader of the charge on this one, and rightfully so after her Superbowl ad went over so well:

Which has of course taken us down the dark road that culminates in the always-entertaining Frank’s Red Hot “Old Lady Says Shit All The Time, Much To The Horror Of The Young” campaign:

So if those represent the exhaustion of a trend, then why do I like this idea so much?

Remember that we just saw a little old woman say that she puts “that shit” (which, to the Frank’s Red Hot people, here’s to you and the brand confidence you have to be actively equating it with that phrase; the other sauce and topping people must be shaking their fists at being beaten to a permanent association with being called “that shit”) on everything, and that’s the joke.  Every ad is the same, just with the little old lady saying the same thing to a different horrified person in a different context — pie bake-off, church picnic, prayer circle, bat mitzvah, stock car rally, dogfight… whatever comes out of the situation-comedy-o-matic machine at the ad firm on a given day.

Now read the ad above, and isn’t it somehow actually funnier?  Yes, it’s basically the same joke — mixing up old people with dirty talk — but here there is at least a visible effort at something.  There is, on one poster:

  • A picture of a wholesome, traditional Canadian household baking product
  • A photograph of a respectable-looking older woman
  • A fairly obvious sex joke
  • A more traumatizing oral sex joke that hits when you realize the woman has red hair

Aaaand you’re never going to think about Crosby’s the same way again, but likely because you didn’t think about it at all in the first place.  Oh!  And you haven’t even seen the video yet!  There’s video!  VIDEOS!


Oh man, how much do I love that?  I have to assign numbers to it all, there’s so much to appreciate.

  1. A trophy to the person who cast this woman as Grandma, because she is hilarious.  She has this kind of comedic anti-timing that actually buries half of the innuendos built into the script… which of course only makes it funnier.
  2. Oh man, Exhibit A:  “Grease it up real good, just like that…”
  3. They have produced two videos, posted on the same day, and they are asking us to take as written that people are sending in letters.  Magnificent.
  4. And don’t any of you end up as crusty old ladies either — buy the god damned molasses!
  5. What we are doing now is looking at an older woman suck hot sugar off of her fingers, and refer to her numerous sexual conquests.  Game: Brought.

So why is this grandma dirty-talking okay while the Frank’s example isn’t?  Maybe because it’s just rough around the edges enough that it’s charming, or that the double-entendres are cut just thin enough to allow for far dirtier humor, or because there’re enough smiles and winks throughout that it’s all just funny and goofy and okay.  But ultimately it’s because this isn’t just a lazy fake-out of an old person using a young person’s swear word to shock middle-aged people — which is doubly cheap, since I bet most of us heard our grandparents blast out colorful language long before we heard our parents do it, and nobody is shocked to hear anyone over 50 refer to Frank’s Red Hot sauce as shit anyway.

No, instead Crosby’s ads are grounded in something else we’ve heard our mothers or grandmothers say at some point — “I was young once too” — usually right before or immediately after hearing something hair-raising about what they did in their salad days.  So why shouldn’t a grandmotherly product like Crosby’s say the same, especially with the right mix of innuendo, good-spiritedness and filth?

Even if I may never recover from that ginger cookie joke.  Good God.

  • Hellcat13

    Brilliant. I have this in my cupboard right now and never had any idea it was Canadian. Now I randomly feel warm and fuzzy toward my molasses. I ordered their (free!) recipe book because I am a nerd like that.

    • Mike

      I bet it is ring-bound and extremely cute.

      Not the grandmas, the cookbook.

      • Tina

        Possibly also the grandmas….

  • erica

    You may need to flour your glass to keep it from sticking….
    to your balls.


  • erica

    And the music! And watching her roll the cookies!

    It’s too much!

    It’s like geriatric food porn… is this what Giada will be doing in 30 years?

    • Mike

      I would pay money for that.

      Until then, we just have to watch Lidia Bastianich slurp noisily at her pasta. I swear to God she needs to assassinate the sound engineer on her show.

  • Kristie

    Old people hands gross me out a lot. I think that’s why I was never a huge fan of “grandma’s cooking.” But since my hands are starting to look wizened and veiny, and I’m only 29, I certainly hope that my children and grandchildren don’t share the same fear of leperous, decrepit skin falling into their food as I do.