Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Healthy Choice, I'm Calling You Out

It's not often that I eat fast, frozen or carryout food. I work at a truly great restaurant, which has its benefits, and when I grow tired of the free delectables, I really enjoy cooking. If I get out of work late and don't feel like enduring the grocery, I try to hit a local deli for something a little more healthy. For insurance when I'm out of options, I like to keep a few frozen food entrees in the freezer, to enjoy after those exhausting nights of all-out bartending, when the last thing I crave is something greasy and ill-prepared.

I'm a Lean Cuisine gal, and they've never let me down, so I've been pretty loyal. But, this week, I was a little low on funds, and Kroger (regional grocery supermarket titan, likely evil) was offering one helluva deal on Healthy Choice entrees for their "valued customer card owners" or whatever they're calling the solicitation of personal information for purposes of mass-marketing and trend studies in exchange for irresistible discounts these days. I like carbs late at night (don't start with me), so although I'd never tried them, I thought I'd give a few Healthy Choice Macaroni & Cheeses a whirl, because they were so damned cheap. They've been biding their time in the freezer all week, just waiting for their chance to laugh at me.

After a hellish Saturday night, I found myself incredibly hungry, out of energy and clocking out too late for "good" carryout. I remembered the Healthy Choice packages in the freezer; Oh, yes, yummy, a tray of frozen, low-fat mac-n-cheese, a few hours catching up with Tivo, and off to bed! As soon as I got home, I popped one in the micro. I like my frozen food well-done, so I followed the instructions, cut the vent, stirred, rotated, whatever, and added on an extra minute.

This is what it looked like when fully cooked. Sure, I know I'm nitpicking, but there's a barely-there, scarce "difference" between the package photo and the actual, cooked meal... hmm, maybe if I just added a sprig of fresh parsley...

Image hosting by Photobucket

I was so astonished at the lack of pasta, I had to count them. 18 macaroni. Covered in a whole lotta glompy cheesy-sauce. Now, I'm sure they put some love into it, since it's clear that they are lovin' them some cheesy-sauce at the Healthy Choice plant. Macaroni, not so much.

Image hosting by Photobucket

After carefully avoiding the weird, yellow, lumpy sauce, I picked out the 18 utterly limp, tasteless macaroni (told you I was hungry), leaving the tray looking, well, tragic and soupy, as anyone could see. I mean, look.

Image hosting by Photobucket

I promise, I've never felt compelled to photograph a TV Dinner before, but I've never been so disappointed in a frozen entree in my life. And, this, on an evening where my ass was kicked serving booze-fueled blowhards, my cupboard was bare and I was really, really needing some comfort food.

With that, I go to bed hungry... damn you to hell, Healthy Choice! What's so freaking healthy about globs of weird-ass pee-yellow flavorless goop?

Thieves, I tell you.

I can't get no satisfaction
I can't get no satisfaction
'Cause I try, and I try, and I try, and I try
I can't get no
I can't get no
When I'm watchin' my TV, and that man comes on to tell me

How white my shirts can be
But he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke

The same cigarettes as me
I can't get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey
That's what I say

Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"