Friday, April 20, 2012

Hungry-Who? ...

I'm kind of hopeless when it comes to food.

I love it, don't misunderstand. I admire chefs, though I'm very glad I never became one. I wish Allen Sternweiler would reopen my beloved Allen's, if only for a night, so I could have his mushroom ragout one more time.

I love a great Chicago hot dog and pizza and haricot verts. From frumpy to fancy, I love it all. Well, most of it. May cilantro never touch my palate again. And guava can stay the hell away from me, too.

But when dinner time rolls around, I am often stumped. Nothing appeals to me. I run through every fast food option and most of the time I discard them all. Occasionally, I'll go get a salad. Which hardly counts as fast food. I don't eat fast-food burgers anymore and there are only so many chicken sandwiches a girl can stomach but the chicken isn't really good for me anyway. Poor chickens.

So, last night, as I sat at my computer, scrolling through Twitter, clicking through to various news stories, none of which were helping me decide what to eat, my brain finally settled on ... Thanksgiving.

That's what I wanted, I decided. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Humph.

Why the hell hasn't someone created a franchise for Thanksgiving fare?

"Boston Market!", some friends offered, helpfully.

Nope, not nearby. (There seem to be far fewer Boston Markets in the world than there used to be.)

So I continued to sit and mull.

And then my brain informed me that surely – surely – someone in the world of frozen dinners offers turkey.

So I headed off to the store.

And last night, for the first time in my existence, I bought a Hungry-Man dinner.


And last night, for the first time in my existence, I asked myself, upon returning home and opening the box, "What hungry man is this supposed to feed? An Ooompa-Loompa?"

Have you ever seen a Hungry-Man dinner?

It's pathetic.

The idea of a Hungry-Man dinner makes me think of a burly guy, just home from a hard day on a construction site, or a ranch hand who's spent the day building a split-rail fence. He comes home, all grimy, showers up, and tucks into a Hungry-Man dinner to sate his man-sized hunger.

Yeah, that's not real. But that's advertising for you.

The black plastic compartmentalized tray contained a turkey-stuffing-mashed-potato-and-gravy compartment, a mixed-vegetable compartment, and a cranberry-ish-something-or-other compartment. (That one, turned out, was "dessert.")

The slices of turkey were perfect half circles, about 5 inches wide at what would be their diameters, and maybe an eighth of an inch thick. Maybe. There were four such slices. I've seen more meat on a meager sandwich from Subway.

But I followed the instructions (to nuke the thing; no, I wasn't about to put it in the oven for 40 minutes) and 10 minutes later, I was no closer to the Thanksgiving dinner I wanted than I was before I went to the store.

Was it edible? Yes. Did my body reject it? No. Would I buy it again? Only if my options were a bowl of shiitake-cilantro-guava goo or that. Well, or bugs. Maybe if my options were a pile of bugs or that. Then, yes, I'd opt for that.

I love that the box offers "SIMPLY COOK & SERVE."

What the hell else would I do with it?

Take it on a trip?

Introduce it to my parents?

Also, note that the photo is "ENLARGED TO SHOW QUALITY."

My hearty congratulations to the food stylist for creating a plate that looks a lot like what I wanted to have for dinner last night.

I can't wait for November.

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