REVIEW: Hormel Chili ‘n Spuds Chili Meals

When the apocalypse happens and survivors are fighting over food, the Hormel Chili ‘n Spuds Chili Meal is probably one of the products they will be brawling over, along with cans of SpaghettO’s and creamed corn.

It’ll be more valuable than gold, silver and platinum combined, because during the apocalypse, they will all lose their value since they’re not edible and the Cash4Gold building was destroyed. The Chili ‘n Spuds Meal will be valuable because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and has a decent shelf life.

It’s a microwaveable meal that takes 90 seconds to heat up, but since electricity will probably be non-existent in a post-apocalyptic world, there will be no way to power a microwave, unless someone jerry-rigs a way to create electricity from despair.

Fortunately, the sealed meal can also be prepared by boiling it water…or urine, if water is hard to come by because the only source of it is being hoarded by a group of survivors with more guns than you do. Of course, once you get your water (or urine), you’ll need to obtain fire, which will be extremely easy thanks to the never ending supply of burning carnage around you.

The Hormel Chili ‘n Spuds Chili Meal is not pretty looking, but it’s definitely better than your other options, which will probably be creamed corn or the cooked flesh of your fellow humans. It tastes a lot like a canned chili I’ve had in the past. The sauce has a smidgen of spice, but it’s kind of bland and lacks any tomato flavor. But still, it’s better than a can of creamed corn.

The meat chunks are tender and so are the potato cubes, but the starch doesn’t add much flavor. Instead they just provide a different texture and some carbohydrates, which will give you the necessary energy to help you run away from whatever zombified creature that finds you. It’s also bean-less chili, so you’ll less likely to produce the gastronomical leaks that make it easy for the zombified to locate you.

If I was living in a post-apocalyptic world, I would totally kill someone with a can of creamed corn for the Hormel Chili ‘n Spuds Chili Meal. But since I don’t, I wouldn’t kill anyone for it, nor would I send my gold chains to Cash4Gold so that I can have the three dollars necessary to buy another tray of this shelf stable chili.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 tray – 250 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein, 15% vitamin A, 4% calcium, 2% vitamin C and 10% iron.)

Item: Hormel Chili ‘n Spuds Chili Meals
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 10 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like canned chili, if you like canned chili. Has a little spice. Meat and potatoes are tender. Can be either microwaved or boiled. Bean-less chili. Spuds provide the carbohydrates necessary to help you run away from zombies. Fire.
Cons: Tastes like canned chili, if you despise canned chili. Kind of pricey for what you get. Chili sauce was kind of bland. Contains MSG. High in sodium. Being forced to eat human flesh. Living in a post-apocalyptic world with zombies.

REVIEW: Hormel Compleats Roast Beef and Gravy

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
Price: $2.04
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.