OMG!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wondered why all of a sudden i couldn't find them any more. The vegetable broth incubes was a long standing therapy for a queasy stomach in my family - whenever my mom or i had a REALLY bad migraine or one of us got some sort of stomach flu or anything like that, this was the first thing we would (carefully) sip down once we could keep water down. It was perfectly flavorful and salty. We would always have it out of large hand made pottery mugs we bought on a trip to Gatlinburg TN area when I was very small.
Both my parents were physicians and they swore by this particular vegetable broth to handle the post nausea tummy. :( I'm so glad my Mom is no longer here to miss this stuff - she had it around in the refrig all her life. I miss it terribly - I've been looking for it for years, didn't know it was no longer being made (but really, guessed, just hoped I was wrong...)
Oh my god, I thought it was just me! To me the smell seemed to have numerous components - a yeasty/ammonia smell, a bit of onion, some kind of chemical cleanser, a bit of a whif of overheated nonstick pan, definitely some old, overheated oil, a fermenting fruit/veg note and worst of all, the unmistakable odor of deli meats that have turned.
The combo of them all, although it doesn't actually smell anything like it, occasionally reminds me of that infamous "hot tub" odor. This suggests that the scientist in the article may be on the right track when he speculates about volatilized fatty acids - because those same things make emesis, stinky feet, rancid oils etc stink powerfully. They are at least responsible for the vaguely "fruity", rancid vomit like components.
I'm relieved to know it's not just in my head. The puzzling thing is that many years ago, like in the late 1980's, I don't remember Subway having that smell. Then I started to smell it here and there, usually in locations that were small and looked poorly cleaned, then it became ubiquitous. I don't eat there too often any more - not since the weekend where I saw green cold cuts at not one, not two, but three different locations in 2 days! (I left the first one and went to another location, which also had that problem, then went home in disgust. The next day I tried one more time at yet another location. I'll never forget the look on my hubby's face - even he could see the faintly iridescent green color on the meat!)
I will say the smell got noticeably worse when they started using bagged produce - even the freshest, most recently delivered to your market bags of salad greens, lettuces, cole slaw mix and lately baby carrots have a rank scent that cannot be washed out. Contributing that to the already nasty store smell didn't help Subway out, IMO.