Are there any good frozen meals? I used to partake of the Marie Callender’s offerings, and thought they were very good indeed. Then a switch was flipped, and I didn’t like them anymore. I mean, talk about sodium! Before I was finished with my turkey and stuffing lunch it felt like fluids were starting to build up in my ankles. Sweet sainted mother of Harold Hecuba.
A few days ago I noticed one in the freezer, after a years-long absence, and decided to give it a shot. Pretty good, I must admit. But I know it’s a short-lived proposition. It won’t take long before I’m off ’em again. And I know there’s not really any such thing as a GOOD frozen meal. I realize this; I’m not a complete idiot. But are there any that are surprisingly good? Help me out, won’t you? Sometimes I’m just looking for a quick and easy thing I can pop into the microwave, before leaving for work. Ya know? Steer me in the right direction, my friends.
Yes, I’m offering some of you the opportunity to now lecture me on how easy it is to prepare fresh foods, etc. I’m definitely looking forward to that, as well.
And am I just becoming delicate in my old age, or are car headlights now far too bright? It feels like everybody is driving around with their brights on, at all times. When they’re coming toward me I find myself grimacing and throwing a hand up in front of my face, like a TV detective witnessing a car explosion. An explosion meant for him! But what’s even worse are the cars behind me. The impossible brightness ricochets around inside my vehicle, from mirror to mirror, and it’s a wonder I’m not thrown into a state of disorientation and careen straight through a Shoe Carnival.
What’s going on?! Is there really a need for a military-grade lighting rig to be mounted to every Ford Fiesta and Plymouth Cyst (or whatever)? Hell, when I was growing up, everybody just had two candles for headlights. OK, that’s not true. But it’s gotten WILDLY out of hand, in my opinion. Any thoughts? Have you noticed a change over the past five years or so? It’s outrageous.
Have you ever seen a show on HGTV, called Island Hunters? It’s an offshoot of House Hunters, I think, and features people in the market for an island. A freaking island. Generally, it’s a couple of gay men from an exotic foreign land, who want to open a resort of some kind, and have a budget of $15 million or more. They look at places out in the middle of the ocean with no electricity or anything, and often no structures of any kind. And I sit there thinking: Who’s going to build all this stuff? Where are they going to stay? How are they going to get the materials there? What’s the process for bringing in electricity? It seems like a completely foolhardy endeavor to me, even crazier than those weirdos who buy “tiny” houses. And what’s next? Treehouse Hunters? Houseboat Hunters? Underground Bunker Hunters? Planet Hunters? What’s wrong with, you know, just a house? In a neighborhood? With a reliable lawn service?
Would you ever want to live on a small island, out in the middle of nowhere, with no other inhabitants? That’s the goal of some of the people on that show. They want a place where they will not encounter another human being, ever. I mean, it might sound more appealing to me tonight, after I’ve been at work for a few hours. But… I would have no real desire for something like that. It seems like the pursuit of a madman. Am I wrong? And why do I keep watching crap like this??
A few weeks ago Toney and I had new passport photos taken at AAA. Our passports are about to expire, and it’s cheaper to renew before that happens. However… I won’t allow mine to go forward because the picture is so breathtakingly bad. I know they’re always bad, but this one takes it to a whole other level.
The woman was barking orders at me, telling me to keep my chin down. Further! And no smiling! You’re not allowed to smile! By the time she was done with me, I looked like some bloated double-chin corpse they found bobbing in the ocean. I was howling in protest, but she was not willing to let me have a do-over. She was a hard woman. So, I’m going somewhere else, and just paying a second fee. I mean, there’s NO WAY. I’d be looking at that hideousness for another ten years.
I thought about posting the photo here, but it’s so bad I can’t do it. You guys know I have no problem laughing at myself, but there’s a limit. I mean, seriously. I look like a fat cadaver, who recently died of sadness. I’ll just pay another $15. Gladly.
Finally, I’m watching all four of the Jaws movies on Netflix. They recently added them, and I told Toney I’m gonna watch ’em all. She gave me a look that sarcastically said, “Shoot for the stars!” which was mildly hurtful. But a person has to have his projects, right?
So far I’ve watched the first one, which is great, of course. I’ve probably seen it five times in my life, and twice during the past year. It’s nearly perfect, I think, except for that scene where Quint, the crusty old fisherman, is eaten by the shark. I know it was 1975, or whatever, but it looked like a giant rubber toy flopping around. The special effects were primitive in those days, but they weren’t horrible throughout the rest of the film. That scene, however, is ludicrous. Maybe not Ed Wood-bad, but close. Also, I used to have an issue with the ending. But I’ve made my peace with it. It’s a little comic book ridiculous, but this is Jaws we’re talking about. Not Sophie’s Choice.
And the other night I watched Jaws 2. I’m pretty sure I saw it as a new release, in the theater. But that was in 1978, when I was 15. I remembered nothing about it. I have a sense that I liked it, but you can’t trust the 15 year old Jeff Kay. God knows it’s true. I figured it would be super-bad, but it was better than that. It wasn’t great like the first one, but it was OK. Some of the same actors were back, and the movie was entertaining. The best scene, by far, was when an entire helicopter, with blades whirling and a man inside, is pulled under water by the shark. Man, that’s fantastic. The movie wasn’t bad at all. I keep thinking about it, which means… something, maybe.
I have a feeling Jaws 3 will be an absolute abomination. So, I can’t wait. I also saw it in the theater, as Jaws 3-D. I know it’s terrible, but I’m hoping it will be fun to watch. I have it penciled in for Saturday night.
I’ve never seen the final entry in the franchise, but I think it’s a full-on cartoon by that point. I seem to remember hearing that the shark can read minds by then, and stand up in the water like a fucking cobra. Looking forward to it! Michael Caine stars. For the paycheck, obviously.
I need to get moving, my friends. Another day of “opportunities” awaits.
If you have any opinions on the Jaws franchise, or blockbuster sequels, or movies you loved as a kid and saw again as a seasoned adult, please tell us about it in the comments. I asked some other questions above, as well. I can’t remember what they are, but I’m pretty sure it happened.
Have yourselves a great weekend!
I’ll be back on Monday.
Now playing in the bunker
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I’m trying to dig around in my brain to come up with a decent frozen meal to suggest to you, but nothing’s coming up. I gave up on them some time ago, too, because they suck. Maybe try yourself a Stouffer’s entree. Might not be too bad. Just don’t read the label.
I’m right there with you on the brights! I thought it was just me.
Am I really first?
Stouffer’s Grandma’s Chicken & Vegetable Rice Bake
Joe T. says
My grandma never made a rice bake, so I can’t relate.
Is Jaws 3 the one where the shark breaks through the glass observation tunnel to kill the people inside?
Evol meals aren’t to bad, pricey as hell though.
Except for seeing Bess Armstrong run around in a wetsuit (or less), Jaws III-D is pretty awful. All the 3-D shots look dark & murky. Dennis Quaid is annoying and stiff. Lou Gosset Jr. is a cartoon.
A frozen meal is to real food as a frozen pizza is to a real pizza, with enough sodium to pickle a mummy. MREs for civilians.
The young version of myself was easily swayed by Raquel Welch,
Diana Rigg, et al (Fantastic Voyage, The Avengers), tough hombre cops (The French Connection) and general film mayhem (Walking Tall). Seeing those films again is a bit embarrassing but still leaves a vestigal tingle. On the other hand, 2001 – A Space Odyssey and The Godfather pt II were, and still are surprisingly excellent movies.
I’ll second the motion on “2001.” An outstanding movie that would never have been made today. Even the effects hold up surprisingly well.
And Diana Rigg in her cat suit? OMFG, as the kids say.
Joe T. says
” I find myself grimacing and throwing a hand up in front of my face, like a TV detective witnessing a car explosion. An explosion meant for him!” That’s a damn fine sentence that made me laugh.
There is a line of “paleo” meals that are pretty incredible. They look like a real plate of food with shrink-wrap on it. I’m not a paleo person, but those meals are the best and most “real” frozen dinners I’ve ever had.
I had a similar experience with the passport renewal. I got my picture taken at Walgreen’s. How convenient! It’s right down the street. The person taking the picture was short, and I’m tall, so it was an unflattering angle to begin with. Then I had the resting bitch face. I had to come back an hour later to pick up the photo, and it was all packaged up. I couldn’t believe how bad it was! I used it anyway.
Marie Callender frozen chicken pot pies are still out of this world.
Frozen Skyline Chili, sans spaghetti (make that separately yourself)
El Charrito frozen Mexican entrees (if you can find them; Food Lion used to sell them – in between them hosing down their chicken in battery acid to make it ‘fresh’ for another day).
Stouffer’s frozen Creamed chipped beef
I didn’t think the scene where Quint gets eaten is cheesy at all. Yeah the whole shoot the oxygen tank while it’s in the shark’s mouth is implausible but it isn’t impossible. (In the book, Hooper gets eaten; probably for sleeping with the chief’s wife.)
The words “frozen creamed chipped beef” strung together, have to be the most unappetizing in the history of food.
I’ll second the chipped beef, a mucelagenous goo with bits of flattened cow. it’s quite nice over toast as SOS.
Some of the frozen crap at Trader Joes is okay. The chicken samosas and the French cheese/onion/ham flatbread are good, but do they count as a meal?
I just had that very same pizza about a week ago and it was damn
good! Of course it was 10:00 pm dinner so anything would have tasted good, but I would buy it again.
I thought it odd recently when the people of Texas and Florida were going through hell – and the running article on Yahoo was about Richard Branson and his island. I am pretty sure he can afford to rebuild without even thinking about the cost.
People tailgating me is my pet peeve…with their halogen lights all up in my rear bumper. I drive a pickup, and live on a 2 lane road by Lake Travis, near Austin. Traffic is notoriously horrible here. And when a yuppie gets close to his lakehouse, salivating with the promise of an earthy pinot noir on their lips, they have zero patience. That’s when I abide by the speed limit…or even less. It drives them bonkers. In what amounts to, at an absolute maximum, 30 seconds off their trip…the grief and anguish I cause their cardiovascular system takes a week off of their lives. Is it wrong that I amuse myself in this manner?
You have earned my unending respect, lakrfool. I, too, tend to operate my vehicle similarly. I find that tailgaters, no matter what lane they are in, still tailgate. I love to get in the middle lane of the freeway and do the speed limit, leaving both the fast and slow lanes open. It never fails that some idiot will ride my tail, which just makes me take my foot off the gas and drop my speed slowly. They get crazy when I am abiding by the law. They swerve around me, tail pipe smoking like crazy, and leave me in their dust. Many times there is a cop just over the hill that catches them in their antics and pulls them over. I tend to smile and wave at them as I go past them…doing the speed limit, of course. It makes me so happy to do this.
Stouffers meat loaf is pretty darn good and there are a couple of Marie Callendar frozen dinners I can eat (pot pie and spaghetti come to mind). The worst thing is you never have enough food in those damn things. I have decided that those diet frozen dinners are based solely on the lack of food in them; it has nothing whatsoever to do with the food or how it is prepared. How can you consume too many calories without any food?
Do you not have a Keep Right Except To Pass law where you are? People who sit in the middle lane are rolling chicanes who turn a 3 lane road into a 2 lane road.
Colorado has one of those laws and it doesn’t matter. Try driving a hybrid through the main artery of Denver during rush hour. Just a few hours ago I was in the express lane, going 70 in a 55 mph area, with someone bearing down on me. The first gen honda insight will do 85, 90 easily when it’s properly maintained (yes, mine is) but I’m not taking points on my insurance because some asshat in a Tesla (fuck you tesla, i get 650 miles on a tank on a bad day) has decided he’s got a hardon to get to his McMansion in the burbs and I’m in his way. Besides, Talking Heads “Stay Up Late” was playing on the all music NPR station, so I started swerving the steering wheel, a little rush hour dancing. I-25 North’s express lane empties out a few times so commuters can get home, I got outta the way, but only when the solid line went dotted. Then a BMW tried to smell what I’d eaten today. Same deal. This is an everyday, often two, sometimes three times a day event. The phrase “nine millimeter” is becoming a familiar internal voice.
Sodium and bloating are part of America. Don’t eat carbs and shitty fats and you’ll be cool, until you get an infection. Embrace sodium. It’s part of the ocean. I’m 54 and skinny as a rail, salt is one of the few food groups: salt, alcohol, protein, chocolate (LIndt). High blood pressure is a sign of alertness. You’re not going to live forever.
What does it matter if the person likes pinot noir or lives in a McMansion or is a semi hauling pig shit? Willfully sitting in the middle lane to impede others because, for some reason, that amuses you … well, that doesn’t reflect well on you, does it?
Limey, I’m not intentionally, as you say, impeding others. I’m doing the posted speed limit while maniacs with a death wish are doing 20+ mph over the posted speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic in every lane and riding other drivers bumpers. Have you ever witnessed a crash at 75 – 80 mph on a crowded freeway? It ain’t pretty! And, no, we don’t have the keep right except to pass law here.
If you want to drive at low speed, that is your prerogative – just don’t do it in the left lane. Having said that, I rarely get to drive even at the speed limit. Driving into DC every day sucks the moose, as in 90 minutes to go 25 miles.
I know Connecticut has a “no passing on the right” law, and New Jersey has “keep right except to pass.” People often abide by these suggestions in light traffic, but when it gets thick all that “after you, my dear Alphonse” stuff goes right out the window.
I think Chris was making a point that, in the United States, lacking the kind of formalized class structure that defines so many of our European friends, we use money and the things money can buy to give us the gift of entitlement. We don’t have Sir Harry Flashman or Lord Shithouse, so we substitute a fancy-ass house and car and the perquisites of an MBA (massive bank account) to let others know that we are important and should be shown some goddamn deference, in the workplace, on the road, or in that high-end pub that uses a block of ice instead of a bar top. OK, I’m done revising and extending Chris’ remarks. Thanks Chris.
I would add that we also have a pretty independent streak running down through half a millennium of history, from our reluctance to bow to our British overlords on the streets of 16th century New Amsterdam, to the unfortunate coffee party, to the Marianas Turkey Shoot, to George Bush visiting a Mosque in peace two days after 9/11. When we assert our entitlement/independence on the freeway, we endanger lives and become the assholes we despise. If you’re going 85 on an urban interstate, there isn’t a lane for you. You’ll just have to go fuck yourself.
I will never understand the mentality of “I love to get in the middle lane of the freeway and do the speed limit, leaving both the fast and slow lanes open. ” That’s just being an ass.
I love to leave my cart in the middle of grocery store aisles while I wander around looking for things. Oh wait, no I don’t, because I’m not an inconsiderate ass.
Limey, I second everything you’ve said here. I’ve lived in both England and America and have come to realize that I have English driving manners but American levels of road rage. It makes me a very sweary driver, but at least I’m swearing in the correct lane.
I will never understand why it’s so difficult to hold the position that a driver should occupy the farthest right lane practicable and simultaneously hold the position that it’s unsafe to go 85 MPH in ANY lane of an urban interstate highway.
You’re in rural Montana with your Swedish luxury sedan or sports model and are willing to self-insure against hay farmers and jackrabbits and drunks, be my guest and please let me know you’re coming.
You’d stroke out driving in Germany. Lane discipline, mirror and signal use, courtesy, and some unrestricted autobahns. Middle lane zombies are why we can’t have nice things. Despite driving at ludicrous speeds in excess of 85mph, Germans die less often per mile driven than we do. Why? Lazy, incompetent, inattentive wheel holders.
There’s no law against swearing in the correct lane 🙂
My wife eats those frozen salt bombs heated in the microwave.
To me, they smell like sweat socks, chemicals, and burnt plastic, hate them all. Marie Cockroach, Stouffers, Banquet, Amy’s, Lean Cuisine, tried them all. Yuck !
Went to the grocery store hungry a few weeks ago and convinced myself to try Jimmy Dean breakfast bowl. Couple of bites and in the trash.
Of course, my diet is way better. Cigarettes, chardonnay, and lots of steaks.
She weighs more than me, and she will kill me if she reads this.
I am one of four people who paid to see Jaws 4: The Revenge on the big screen in 1987. Indeed the shark reads the Chief’s wife’s mind and follows her to Bermuda or something…the non-actress who played her was married to the producer, which explains a lot. And there is a great scene where Michael Caine gets out of the water fully clothed, dripping wet, and after the next cut is bone dry. They probably filmed that thing in 4 days without giving a shit. Two wasted hours of my life that only brought me closer to the grave. you are in for a treat. MST3K should do that one. For Revenge.
Michael Caine said this about Jaws 4: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
Goonie GooGoo says
The Jaws where the son is a cop and dies by the buoy near the beginning is one of the worst movies ever made. He wouldn’t shut up. I could not watch the whole thing. I am glad the loud mouthed kid was eaten. The shark shut him up.
I saw the original Jaws in the movie theater when it was new. It was fun, but I didn’t like it enough to watch it again. Certainly not enough to shoot for the stars.
Frozen dinners: I haven’t had one in decades, so no opinion. This is not snobbery; it’s acknowledgement that they’re expensive and they suck. Nowadays I cook up a mess of (something) and freeze it in meal-sized portions for later. Mmmm, homemade chili that’s ready in five minutes.
I have a new car and the headlights are very bright. I don’t like driving at night because people always flash me thinking I have my high beams on. Sometimes they think I’m being a dick and not turning them off so they will turn their brights on in a fuck you too type of way. I feel like screaming I don’t have my high beams on!!
Yes, Jaws 3D is absolutely terrible, never saw 2 or 4 and don’t want to. Two thumbs up for Diana Rigg in a catsuit though.
Another one for the Catsuit Chronicles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t2j8NcVpW4
Great song, too. If you’re youtube-ing it, scroll down afterwards to the guy with the wall of masks in the background; he’s pretty good.
To this day, the original jaws movie is one of my favorites. I remember Jaws2 and I know I saw the others but can’t recall them at all.
I think the brand is bertolli that makes a good sized bag of frozen Italian dinners. The good thing about them is you can choose how much you want.
And in the part of the supermarket where they have the pre made mashed potatoes and pierogies I’ve seen a fresh chicken pot pie. The thing is enormous and the brand is something like Mrs. So and so. Looks really good but I never got it because it’s too large.
You can take head and shoulders pictures at home and upload them to the passport web site to crop them on an overlay so they fit the guidelines. Then have them printed up all on one sheet at Walmart or wherever. I did passport photos for four family members for less than $2.00 total.
Phil Jett says
My daughter just bought a new car and the headlights are so bright you can see fleas giving you the stink-eye from the body of roadkill at midnight on a county road. She also said she is constantly having on coming cars flash their lights at her because they think she has her brights on. She just flashes them back which must really blind them.
The only frozen meals I really like are Stouffers. The mac and cheese is the best, especially if you cook it a couple of extra minutes so the edges get all brown and crusty.
the high beams must be bright enough to burn the paint off a shithouse, why doesn’t she just go “here bitch” and flash the high beams of God?
When you get finished with the Jaws quadrology (?), you should watch this next – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Beach – “Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…you can’t get there!” Yes, that is the actual tag line from the ‘film’. Great B-movie stuff with John Saxon and Burt Young.
Root 66 says
I’ll second the Stouffer’s Mac-n-Cheese. It’s excellent, but probably the equivalent of putting a salt lick in your lunchbox! I eat it anyway. I have had good luck with the “Boston Market” frozen meals. Most of them are pretty good–especially the Sweet and Sour Chicken.
As far as living on a small island, I think Gilligan & Co. tried that (speaking of Harold Hecuba.) They seemed to do pretty well…but they had more people show up there than at a Black Friday Sale!
BTW–your passport photo antics had me in stitches! Thanks!
“A fat cadaver, who recently died of sadness” – good one.
We watch HGTV as our default channel, half-interested and half-mockingly. I’m on the same page with you about Island Hunters. For $5 million, you can buy a beachfront mansion on a super-private section of coast. But these people elect to spend it on a barren island possibly containing a rundown shack on it, just so they never have to see another human again. It’s creepy and silly. And as much as I love my wife, if it were just her and I alone on an island, it would eventually end like The Shining.
My son is also watching every Jaws movie. We were luckily to see a 35 mm print of Jaws at a local ‘classic’ theater a few years back. I being old saw it in 1975. I saw Jaws 2 in the theater and it was good but not as good as the first. When Jaws 3D came out I went to the theater and it was sold out, so we went home. The next day I read the reviews and said “phew dodged that bullet” I also skipped Jaws- the Revenge. I like to think of Michael Caine’s quote about Jaws the Revenge. “I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve seen the house the movie built and it is very nice.”
Frozen dinners: About 15 years ago I too like Marie C’s offerings on occasion. I liked the baked chicken breast and then hubby liked the chicken fettuccine with broccoli. [the fat and calories were horrific on that one] The last time they were on sale I skimmed the section and saw nothing that appealed. Current hubby likes Stouffers entrees. He eats them for breakfast; specifically Swedish meatballs, Salisbury Steak, Macaroni and Beef, meat lasagna and occasionally creamed chipped beef. I like the corn and spinach souffles, Harvest Apples, and the Welsh Rarebit.
There are one or two Lean Cuisines I like one is a rice and beans dish. I don’t buy a lot of frozen meals.
Fat is what makes food taste good. If Jeff were still maintaining the “things that are true” list, this fact would be there.
We grow some pretty tasty apples, pears and cherries up here in Washington that don’t contain a shit-ton of fat.
This past spring daughter had to get a new passport. Wow, you can’t smile anymore. Poor girl looked like Groucho Marx. The eyebrows not the mustache.
Thanks for the suggestion Greg. Groovy stuff…
I’m 52 years old and my mom still likes to tell the story about me sleeping on the floor of
their bedroom for 2 weeks after they took me to see Jaws at the theater. I think that was
the movie that started my love for all kinds of horror/thriller movies. Anyone remember
Ssssssss, Night of the Lepus, Squirm? (packs of killer earthworms) ?
These brands of meals are the best that me and my wife have found over the years…
Luvo, Kahiki, and Tai Pei. Massive variety between the 3.
I’m just saying . . .
Michael Narmour says
BJ’s sells Michaelangelo’s frozen dinners – Lasagne, Chicken Parm, etc – and all are excellent. Have not checked the ingredients yet cos I don’t want to have to guilt myself into giving them up, but I don’t think they’re as bad as the big name brands. They’re casserole-type meals tho, so it’s either dinner for two or two dinners (which isn’t bad).
There is a BJ’s near me, but I haven’t signed up. How much land does a man need?
Besides, I’m pretty sure you can’t get a safe at Safeway, or a Wal bass at Wal*Mart, or a home at Home Depot, so…
This is why I didn’t buy my racquetball cup at Dick’s Sporting Goods.