TV dinners too heavy on carbs, fine print

We don’t eat a lot of frozen meals in our house, but lately we’ve been having pot pies on nights when we’re pushed for time or haven’t been to the store or just don’t care. (As we age, we care less about food, too.)

One night, JoAn made a big pot pie from scratch, and it was better than the little round frozen ones but was a lot of work, so we make do with supermarket versions.

Encouraged by these delicious meals, I bought a couple of what we used to call TV dinners for emergency days, and last week was one of those. We had eaten pot pies for supper, so I had no leftovers to bring to work the next day.

I prefer leftovers. Because my wife cooked them in the first place, they’re tasty. They’re cheap. And I don’t like leaving the building to buy lunch.

On that particular day, I brought what the label advertised as “country fried chicken breast tenders.” Smaller type, which I noticed only when I was microwaving it and tearing off clear plastic and putting the plastic back on and microwaving some more fine-tuned that menu: “Breaded tender-shaped white meat chicken patties served with macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs.”

So, it wasn’t chicken tenders – I had to go online to learn that tenders are real; they are taken from beneath the breast – but “tender-shaped patties” instead. A little dishonest, but I suppose that’s not the worst offense in advertising. The picture on the package showed what you would expect from chicken tenders: golden brown crust, with thick white chicken inside.

My plate was a bit different, though. The chicken wasn’t really fried, having been nuked. And the meat was barely thicker than a slice of cheese or ham. At least it was easy to chew.

To be honest, the flavor wasn’t bad. The macaroni and cheese was even better, tasting homemade, although I didn’t see the need of putting breadcrumbs on macaroni. Aren’t breadcrumbs just crunchy pasta, and macaroni just soft breadcrumbs? Seems a bit carbohydrate-heavy to me.

As I ate my meat and macaroni, I read the list of ingredients and learned that I was digesting much more. There were, of course, chemicals that I can’t pronounce and have no idea what they are or do (sodium tripolyphosphate, anyone?).

The word “salt” appeared nine or 10 times in that long list (it’s easy to lose count in such small type). “Flour” is well-represented, probably slightly more so than “enzymes.”

It would have been less scary if the list had included a few vegetables, or even “apple brown betty enzymes,” but I probably shouldn’t read those packages. It’s like watching Congress make sausage, or whatever the old saying is.

 

CELEBRATE MAY 8: Do you know who needs a good meal? Your mom, if you’re lucky enough to still have her. Cook for her or take her out on Sunday, her day. But please, no TV dinners.

 

Reach Glynn Moore at glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

More in Life

Gold Peak play the opening set of the Seventh Annual Rock’N the Ranch at the Rusty Ravin on Friday, July 7, 2023, at Rusty Ravin Plant Ranch in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Gold Peak play the opening set of the Seventh Annual Rock’N the Ranch at the Rusty Ravin on Friday, July 7, 2023, at Rusty Ravin Plant Ranch in Kenai. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Music fest returns to RustyRavin

The annual nonprofit music festival is a fundraiser for Nuk’it’un, a transitional home for men

Lisa Parker, vice mayor of Soldotna, celebrates after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Peninsula Oilers and the Mat-Su Miners on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
King of the River food drive extended, Kenai takes lead

The winning city’s mayor will throw the opening pitch at a Peninsula Oilers game

Chickpea lentil and spinach curry is served with rice and yogurt. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Finding comfort in memories

I believe that houses hold memories, and I hope the memory of our time there comforts it during its final, painful days.

tease
Getting creative with camping

Making healthy, diverse meals while outdoors takes some planning

James Franklin Bush was arrested and jailed for vagrancy and contributing to the delinquency of minors in California in 1960, about a year before the murder in Soldotna of Jack Griffiths. (Public document from ancestry.com)
A violent season — Part 4

James Franklin “Jim” Bush stood accused of the Soldotna murder of Jack Griffiths in October 1961

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Hard to say goodbye

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve been perfectly happy with my 14-year-old, base model pickup truck.

File
Minister’s Message: Faith will lead to God’s abundance

Abundance is in many aspects of our lives, some good and some not.

[csC1—]Jack and Alice Griffiths, owners of the Circus Bar, pose together in about 1960. (Public photo from familysearch.org)
A violent season — Part 3

The second spirit, said Cunningham, belonged to Jack Griffiths….

Most Read