Because I'm a marginal wife and mother, sometimes we eat tv dinners instead of homemade food. My husband favors Hungry Man, while I like a Marie Callender's, which almost gives the illusion of eating real food. But at some point, many moons ago, their packaging announced a recipe improvement. I don't like change, so I was predictably skeptical and grumpy as I microwaved my dinner that day. There was no discernible difference, except for the vegetables, which tasted like chemicals.
Every single Marie Callender's tv dinner meal that I've had since that recipe "improvement" has contained vegetables which taste like chemicals. I can't even eat the vegetables anymore, and I love vegetables. I have to microwave separate vegetables, which defeats the whole purpose of buying tv dinners in the first place: abject laziness. Finally, I reached my limit - I had to write a grievance letter.
Which is exactly what I did - I sent an e-mail to ConAgra, a name which sounds like the beginning of aggravation. Perhaps. A representative - Teri - replied promptly, and explained that all they'd done to the vegetables was to reduce the sodium in the seasoning of the vegetables. I don't think so, dear. If that were the issue, the application of salt would solve the problem. If lack of salt were the root of all strange flavor, then everything that didn't have salt would taste like robot food, which is how your vegetables taste, Teri. We both know that lower sodium, like the cake, is a lie.
So, just between you and me - what did you really do to the vegetables? Leave a comment, sweetie.
While we're here, I'd also like to talk about Toaster Strudel. Specifically, the cherry variety. For those of you unfamiliar with the product, also found in your grocer's freezer, here's a visual aid:
Okay, so it's been quite awhile since I've had these, and maybe my memory's not so great, but when I took the pastry out of my toaster oven, carefully applied the icing and took my first bite, I was definitely not prepared for what I saw. I hadn't really thought about it before I bit into the pastry, but I did have a certain expectation for how the filling would appear. I had the picture on the box to go by, after all. What I didn't expect was this:
Hot pink filling. My camera doesn't even do it justice, it was practically neon in person. Now, I'm well aware that I'm eating a product that I took out of my freezer, which was essentially made by a machine, but a visual cue such as this wildly unnaturally colored cherry filling really drives the point home that I'm eating artificial junk. Don't these people want to do everything possible to help me keep my illusions that I'm not slowly destroying my spaghetti house every time I eat one of their delicious desserts?
So again I took finger to keyboard - this time to Pillsbury, a company whose name sounds like where you'd find a nice stash of Xanax, to see if I could solve the mystery of the unreal filling. As of this posting, I haven't heard back yet.