I don’t know a lot about the South, but if the Food Network has taught me anything itâ€™s that the food is good because it has a lot of soul in it. Sort of like Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat, I guess. Other than that, my knowledge of the region is limited to popular culture. It would be far too irresponsible to fill this review with southern stereotypes. I could talk about how Michael Vick and Miss South Carolina have set any progress back about 150 years, but all of that would be too easy, ignorant, and fun.
Itâ€™s a lot better to focus on the positive, like this tasty meal from our friends from Banquet, which I have a sordid and confusing past with. It’s filled with twists and turns and maybe even a few liaisons with other brands. Banquet started selling their fried chicken meals with one big thigh instead of a drumstick and a wing. That crushed my saturated fat and cholesterol-filled soul. For the past several years, I have felt betrayed. Even though I received fewer grease burns from eagerly picking up chicken pieces, eating was never quite as fun or interesting.
However, Banquet has now unveiled two new chicken meals that have found a way into my heart. They have this southern fried chicken meal, which is something Iâ€™ve been waiting for my whole life, and one featuring two drumsticks. I can only imagine that theyâ€™ve been keeping all of the spare drumsticks in some warehouse for the past 5 years. Since I didnâ€™t feel like eating chicken that has been around since I was in high school, I opted for the southern variety.
If youâ€™ve ever looked at a supermarket ad, you will notice that Banquet is perpetually on sale at 10 for $10. While this is awesome for the person on a budget, it also causes a great deal of shame at the checkout line when your cart is a sea of red boxes and everyone else has real groceries. I usually throw in a bell pepper so I donâ€™t feel as bad, but the cashier sees right through me.
I will never understand why the company calls itself Banquet. Obviously, youâ€™re not meant to serve it at an actual banquet. Are you supposed to sit on your beanbag chair and pretend to be at a fancy affair as you shovel corn into your mouth? I have come to the conclusion that Banquet exists to humiliate me.
After a few hours of stewing and self-loathing, I get over my paranoia and start to enjoy the meal. The chicken actually tastes pretty good out of the microwave. Obviously, it isnâ€™t crispy, but itâ€™s also nice and peppery. This is a welcome change of pace from the ultra-salty fried chicken in the regular meals. Instead of corn, you get a decent amount of green beans. Iâ€™m not sure if green beans are more southern than corn, but at least itâ€™s edible, which is far more than I can say about the corn in these meals. A cup of fake mashed potatoes rounds out the meal quite nicely.
If thereâ€™s anything bad I can say about the meal, itâ€™s that it costs 25 cents more than a regular Banquet meal. However, not even my cheap ass can reasonably complain about the price hike. In fact, even the biggest college lowlife can afford the extra quarter for a frozen dinner.
Unless youâ€™re from the South.
Item: Banquet Southern Fried Fried Chicken Classics
Purchased at: Stater Bros.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Tasty, flavorful chicken that will actually remind you of good fried chicken. Side dishes that are actually edible. Great value for the price.
Cons: Not even close to banquet-quality food. Southern stereotypes. The humiliation of a diet consisting of 95% frozen dinners. An extra 25 cents per meal.