Thursday, September 11, 2008

Batter Blaster

A friend points me to Batter Blaster, or pancake batter in a can. You must watch the demo video. I have to admit that when I first heard the jingle, I wondered if this might be a parody by the Apple Sisters, but no, it's sincere. Jump to the Press page: They were on "Regis and Kelly"! (But the video is no longer available. I can't be too sorry; about all I can say in praise of "Regis and Kelly" is that it isn't "Regis and Kathie Lee.")

According to the article that accompanies the now-defunct video, the product is available in the Bay Area, at high-end stores and at Costco. Apparently it was hard to get startup funding, though; the article quotes inventor Sean O'Connor as saying "Try telling someone, 'I have this idea. We're going to put pancakes in a can,' and not have them laugh you out of the room." I would imagine.

OK, the batter is USDA Certified Organic--that's something. The can is entirely recyclable. And apparently the propellant is not suitable for huffing. But this product is clearly targeted at the incompetence market. The article acknowledges this, implying that the product might be a hard sell for people who are capable of making their own pancake batter, and noting the price as an obstacle ($4.99-$5.99 per can). O'Connor counters this by comparing the product to pre-bagged salad, which certainly supports his vision from a marketing perspective but doesn't really refute what the article dubs "its contribution to laziness in American kitchens." My initial thought was, I firmly believe that if you are an otherwise healthy and moderately intelligent adult and you find that making pancake batter is beyond your capabilities, you are just not trying. O'Connor notes that the canned batter would be more suitable for singles and empty-nesters. But for that price you could probably go to a diner.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chicken Go Wraps

Each wrap is filled with handfuls of fresh chicken go!

I think, anyway.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Fun With Velveeta

Ask and ye shall receive: I was wondering what I could quickly find to write about today, and in the mail I found a little “Simple Shortcuts” booklet from the Kraft Food & Family people. Most of the recipes were probably OK to eat and could only be faulted for their overreliance on processed foods (Kraft brands, of course), but this one seems pretty alarming. Oh, it looks harmless enough:

What could possibly go wrong?

Velveeta plus spaghetti sauce. Sure, uh, what? Inasmuch as Velveeta can be considered cheese—and I am not saying that it can, just to be perfectly clear—it does not seem like the kind of cheese that goes with spaghetti sauce. I can grudgingly see a role for it with salsa and tortilla chips, but with marinara and pasta? Uh, no.

Unless the spaghetti sauce doesn’t actually have any flavor beyond tomato, which is true of some commercial sauces. Maybe that’s what they’re going for. I was a little surprised to see no brand being touted here; surely Kraft owns a spaghetti sauce brand? There are other recipes in the booklet that call for similarly nameless sauce, which probably rules out the idea that the recipe creators just decided none of the house flavors really were suited to the recipe.

The nutrition information for all recipes is listed in the back of the booklet. This recipe has 520 calories per serving, 14 grams of fat (7 g saturated), 100 mg of cholesterol, 1,000 mg of sodium, 55 g of carbohydrate, 3 g of fiber, 11 g of sugars and 40 g of protein. Which to me looks like it has too much of everything but fiber. Not too surprising; I’m pretty sure the U.S. RDA of Velveeta is zero.

Cheesy Chicken Italiano
3 cups rotini pasta (1/2 lb.)
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 jar (14 oz.) spaghetti sauce
6 oz. Velveeta, cubed

COOK pasta. HEAT a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat. ADD chicken; cook for 2 min. on each side. ADD sauce; cover and simmer over low heat for 10 min. or until chicken is cooked [165° F]. ADD Velveeta; stir until melted. TOP pasta with chicken and sauce. SERVES 4.

Turn this dish into dinner just by adding cooked green beans.

From Kraft Food & Family Simple Shortcuts Fall 2008