Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weekend Cooking...Real Life Food

Now we all know that fast food and prepared food, a euphemism for those delightful bags and boxes and frozen packages from the supermarket, is neither the best thing for us, nor the best thing to eat. But I also imagine that, like myself, on occasion you partake of one or the other. It's fast, it's easy..but can it ever be good?

Well, often it is not, but sometimes it can be and I recently happened upon an entertaining and rather informative web site that helps us separate the wheat from the chafe, Food in Real Life. The site judges the 'food' on two criteria. First, they give a rating, on a scale of 1 to 5, on the appearance of the ready to eat food vs. the picture on the box or in the advertisement. Then second, they give a rating based on the taste.
If you have ever removed one of these 'meals' from your microwave and realized it did not quite look like the box, you will soon see, looking at this site, that you are not the only one. But you will might be pleasantly surprised that sometimes, just sometimes, you can buy something that both looks good and actually is tasty.

As an example, from their Hall of Shame here is one with maybe the lowest rating on the site...
this interesting looking Cheesy Chicken and Rice. Not only did it only get a 1 out of 5 on appearance, but it received a 0 on taste.
"Taste: Even worse than it looks. I was able to stomach four bites before I threw the rest out; because of the way that the cheese sauce gums up the rice and traps the chicken and vegetables in a web of disgusting cheeserice, the entire dish tastes and feels the same - like crap. 0 out of 5"

On the other hand, sometimes they happen upon some that they think are really good.

Not only did it get a 5 out of 5 for appearance, but it also tasted quite nice, they thought...
"Taste:Sweet and spicy sauce; good amount of vegetables; not greasy at all. Better than a lot of Chinese takeout, even. My one complaint is that the servings are a bit small for the price." 4.5 out of 5"
An amusing, entertaining, food related site, and one that might actually keep us from making a totally inedible purchase!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Love these sorts of sites. Thanks for pointing it out! We don't have too many "ready-to-eat" packaged foods in Germany, but when I go home, my father's freezer is full of them.

  2. Really? No 'ready to eat' food in Germany? That is a surprise. I wonder if that is true in all of Europe. Are we the only people eating this stuff?

  3. I looooove the concept behind this site!!! Thanks for putting it on my radar...have a great weekend!

  4. They don't have ready-to-eat in Poland either. See this is why Europeans will outlive us all.

    I do keep a couple of Lean Cuisine in the freezer for when I need to eat quickly and don't want to be tempted by fattening stuff. It doesn't have preservatives and isn't all that bad.

  5. I bought Wanchai Ferry once and will not do it again. I can buy a meal from the local Chinese restaurant that is bigger than their bag for about the same price or less. I'm surprised they got that rating. Thanks for the heads up - I'm going to check it out.

  6. I almost never buy ready-to-eat but I'm still interested in discovering a site that does the testing and ratings for me. That's such a great resource. My mother-in-law doesn't cook much anymore, so I'll use the site to help pick out appetizing meals that she can make for her dinners.

  7. I'm going to send a link to that site to my son!

  8. Hee, that sounds like a fun and handy website. They should open an European sister site!

    We indulge on ready-to-eat food only sometimes. A few years ago our supermarket sold a fabulous brand of Lonny's Indonesian Food. Only 1 vegetarian dish, but it was GOOD! *drewl* Now it's mostly a simple pizza we buy and dress with up with fresh toppings ;)

  9. I rarely use ready-to-eat foods, but this site looks like a great resource. Thanks.

  10. I'm surprised at the Marie Callender rating. I love their restaurant food and I like their frozen pot pies. Maybe it's the Chicken and Rice, or maybe it's my taste-buds.

    Thanks for the link on the web site. I'm going to check it out.

  11. I can't say that I have tried either of these and yes, I have little reason to buy the Wanchai Ferry if I can buy from the local Chinese place cheaper.
    Beside, I find their commercial sort of creepy, with that giant panda.

  12. Funny-I must confess while the thought is nice -open package heat eat-I could never bring myself to purchase or eat packaged food-it just seems too weird to me.

  13. how

    I will admit that coming home after working 12 hours...and going back to work 12 more tomorrow, I do, on occasion use such things..yep, yep...

  14. As opposed to all these virtuous other commenters, I am a "peel back and vent" cook from way back! :--) I know it's awful, but one day, when I win the lottery, I'll hire a cook, and have healthier foods...

  15. I love it. I'm bookmarking that site right now! :-)


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