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Marie Callendar's Herb Roasted Chicken

Price: $2.50
Rating: ** / *****

Well folks, Christmas season is in full force right now. For most people, this means gifts and time with loved ones, maybe with some compulsive shopping and poorly conceived confessions of love thrown in. For others like myself, it is a time for frozen dinners, crying in the shower, and staring in the mirror lamenting the fact that all I have is a sliding mirror closet. Christmas just holds a special place in all of our hearts. Maybe it's only because of the brainwashing from the American media or the litany of strip clubs promising me "ho's, ho's, ho's", but it has worked on me. Even for a heathen like myself, the spirit(and by spirit, I do mean alcohol) of the holidays triggers something deep on the inside. Check out the sweet snowman tablecloth. Yeah. On to the review...

If you looked up "bland" in the dictionary, then you'd be a nerd. But if you looked up "bland" in the dictionary again, you would find a picture of this meal right next to it. It looked like the perfect Christmas meal, too. This is a big disappointment for me because I was intrigued by the possibility of a home-style meal(okay, maybe not in my home, but somebody's home) that had real pieces of chicken in it. That's right, no processing involved at all! Makes you wonder why other companies can't do that, but I digress.

The chicken, while real, is horribly under-seasoned and doesn't come out very well in the microwave. What is brown on the box picture turns out a sandy gray after heating. The mystery herbs are never specified and don't offer much in the flavor or fragrance department. The addition of some lemon pepper from my pantry made it tasty enough, but the meal shouldn't need additions to be enjoyable. The cooking time is also odd, as the box calls for everything to be cooked at once, but the chicken was done a solid 3 minutes before the mashed potatoes were. Nothing quite like stringy, burnt chicken to chew on. Of course, you have to take out the chicken and then mix the mashed potatoes to heat the meal correctly but the box doesn't say anything about that.

Not all is bad, though. The vegetables, broccoli and carrots, were not overwhelmingly mushy and were swimming in enough liquid to stay moist while the mashed potatoes tried to defrost itself. The potatoes had a reasonably thick texture after cooking, though it needed a pat of butter to taste good. I guess everything could use a pat of butter, but I only wish they wouldn't make me have to do that to my arteries. I don't want a heart transplant for Christmas...unless it were Superman's heart or something. I guess that would be a fair trade off. If they ever get the cajones to put some seasoning on the meal, I may buy it again. Until then, steer clear of this home-style tray of blah.

Apart from the unusual butter coating that Marie puts on every freaking vegetable known the man, I liked this meal.

Maybe my taste buds were off that day, but it didn't really taste like anything. Or maybe my sense of taste is so messed up by frozen dinners that everything has to be really salty to have flavor. That would be unfortunate.

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