If a complete dinner in less than two minutes doesn’t appeal to you, then you’re either lying to me or to yourself. People barely have time to put on their pants before they get out of the house, a problem that has cost me several hundred dollars and a few restraining orders.
Hormel understands and they have introduced a line of Compleat meals that come out hot and ready in 90 seconds. That’s how long it used to take me to spike my ridiculously bad Asian hair in junior high (Note to self: travel back in time and slap self). By any standard of convenience, taking a box out of the cupboard and microwaving it the length of a couple commercials is pretty damn easy. But as exciting as it may seem, not all things turn out the way you want them to.
Shocking, I know.
You mean a 90 second meal doesn’t set the culinary world on fire? Well, no, unless that fire is started by me after I take my molotov cocktails over to the Hormel factory. Everything about this meal is offensively horrible in the worst way imaginable. Even worse, the cooking directions are all off. I can deal with crappy food, but when the crappy food comes out so cold that I keep having to taste it to see when it’s ready, I just begin an all out vendetta with the thing.
All in all, it probably took five solid minutes to heat the thing through. By that point, the edges of the mashed potatoes were crisp and the center was unpleasantly tepid. I understand that contrasts in texture makes food interesting, but the principle doesn’t exactly apply here.
So now that I figured out that it really takes the same amount of time to cook as a regular frozen dinner, it had to be really damn good to not make me chuck it at the neighbor’s annoying dogs. I’m sad to say that it disappointed me deeply.
The meat was dry, almost like beef jerky, and came apart in flakes. Yes, flakes. You know, like how really well cooked fish does, but only completely awful and from a cow. Not only is that disgusting, it is confusing to the taste buds.
The gravy wasn’t any better. In fact, it was completely tasteless and worthless. The mysterious sauce was watery and contained only hints of beefy goodness. It’s hard to describe…the best way I can describe it is that it tasted like “brown” with perhaps some celery thrown in. It covered the beef and a sizable bed of mashed potatoes.
I was actually pleasantly surprised with the potatoes at first because they were lumpy like homemade mashed potatoes. This was before I realized that it was just undercooked potato flakes that were just dense and mealy. My disgust at this revelation was the breaking point. In my growing hysteria, I threw the bowl against the wall and watched it slowly drip down towards oblivion. You’ll have to take my word for it, but it was very dramatic.
All in all, my hopes were crushed and it will be a long time before I can truly dream again. It was a lesson learned the hard way: gourmet meals aren’t cooked in 90 seconds. Especially ones that appear to be designed for bomb shelters and emergency kits.
Item: Hormel Compleats Roast Beef and Gravy
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: You can use the plastic bowl as a 7 layer dip container after you’re done.
Cons: Cold and flavorless food. Spiky hair. Ridiculous promises regarding cooking length. Public indecency.