For those of you who have ever laid awake at night wondering if any company could ever depict what perpetual bachelorhood tastes like, I’m here to tell you the people behind Banquet Microwavable Meals have been perfecting the recipe since 1953. As someone who’s ingested pound after endless pound of such loser delights as bologna, Chef Boyardee and hamburger buns to keep himself alive, I can say with great confidence I haven’t encountered any dining experience more successful in reminding me that I am alone in this world.
The vast majority of these microwavable treasurers feature an entree and two side dishes. According to their website, the company produces 92 varieties of frozen meals, of which I have tried these four:
- Chicken Fingers (accompanied by fries and a brown, spongy substance passing itself off as a brownie)
- Salisbury Steak (corn and mashed potatoes)
- Pizza (pudding)
- Fish Sticks (mac & cheese and pudding (which many times find themselves mashed together!))
“How do they taste?” you may ask. Well, imagine the food you’d find in your elementary school cafeteria, with about 3/4ths the taste. Since my career-oriented (or as I like to call her, lazy) mother didn’t pack a lunch for me while I was in school, this is great way to recount my elementary dining days without Mrs. Zarse yelling at me for discussing the murders of Jeffery Dahmer in grizzly detail.
If the paragraph above sounds to be faint praise, I assure you that’s not done by accident. There are various reasons not to enjoy these meals aside from the fact they simply don’t taste good.
There’s the social stench they bring. You wanna acquire a disgusted look from someone? Try distracting your roommate while he’s preparing for a date by eating one of these while simultaneously watching old episodes of Saved By The Bell. Sorry Ryan. You know, for a guy with a safety deposit box full of That 70’s Show DVD’s, you sure are judgmental of my taste.
Also, they tend to be too much work. There’s always one piece of food that has to be taken out or microwaved separately from everything else. If you’re eating microwavable dinners, there’s a good chance it’s because you are too lazy to thoroughly prepare something that will actually be satisfying. This lifestyle becomes a bit strained when you are forced to get up not only to grab your dinner from the microwave, but also to place parts of it back in to make sure maximum flavor capacity is achieved. Just because the company is called Banquet doesn’t mean I want to feel like I’m preparing a meal for an entire banquet hall!
And finally, I should note it’s simply not possible to eat a Banquet Microwavable Meal and feel good about your standing in life at the same time. I don’t care how bullet proof you are to social criticism, when you are trying to force that fourth fish stick down your gullet, you will feel sad. These meals should come with a disclaimer that reads “Warning: No One Loves You.”
And yet, despite how much I dislike, and occasionally even hate these frozen dinners, it’s hard to imagine I will stop buying them at any point in the near future. Why? Because I am poor and they would need about an 80% price hike to work their way up to dirt-cheap. Your neighborhood Kroger will likely always be selling these at a 10-for-10 rate. So if you have no money and are too lazy to fill out that food stamp application form (they actually make you fax that shit in! Not on your life Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program!), these can become instrumental in keeping you alive. And when compared to the Stouffer’s ($2.75), Marie Callender’s ($2.75) and Hungry Man’s (an egregious $3.12) of the world, it’s much more accommodating to all budgets.
There’s really no point in offering a serious review of Banquet Microwavable Meals. I think it’s pretty much set in stone that most self-respecting adults will look to eat something more substantial than a $1 frozen dinner. As for me, I once let my friends video tape me as I took a dump off the top step of a ladder. The fact that I even know the definition of self-respect surprises even me.
If you’re someone who chooses a slovenly existence ahead of a life of dignity, this is a dream product for you…albeit not a particularly good one. But what are you gonna do, teach yourself to prepare a hearty and nutritious meal? If the only reason you eat at all is simply to stay alive, Banquet has created a life-long friend for you. And for a dollar-a-pop, you will likely be all the more forgiving if there are certain occasions where you feel like you’re eating a gym mat.
- Cheap, cheap, cheap!
- Eating keeps you alive
- Sort of Gross
- Can be a bit too much work
- Proves beyond the shadow of a doubt you are a loser
- There’s very little meat in these gym mats
Final Score: 6/10