Thursday, December 09, 2004

Are you hungry, man?

I was in the Tribeca Food Emporium today after work. It's where I usually do my grocery shopping. I didn't really need to buy anything, but I had to go back to look at what I noticed there yesterday. It was incredible. It was chilling. It was a Swanson's Hungry Man™ Hearty Breakfast. You know Swanson's, right? The people who make prepared meals frozen in aluminum trays that used to be called TV dinners? Well, they're still around, though I haven't had their products in years. I wasn't looking for it, but it just sort of jumped out of the freezer case at me and made me look. I saw what I saw, and I can't unsee it, so I'll tell. The Hungry Man™ Hearty Breakfast is quite a meal. The box told me that it includes:
  • buttermilk pancakes
  • French toast
  • hash browns
  • potatoes
  • sausage

The cover of the box proudly announces that it contains "Over 1 lb. of food." What I find noteworthy is that it includes both hash browns and potatoes. That's quite a deal, if your diet is running low on starch.

And what's in the Hearty Breakfast, ingredients-wise? Well, I didn't take the time for that. Suffice it to say, a quarter of the back panel was taken up with a yellow label mostly in Latin and Greek, explaining what everything is made of. I remember one of the ingredients being aluminum oxide. Now that's hearty!

In case you're wondering what kind of nutrition the Hearty Breakfast brings home, they broke that down for you, too. This product brings you 74% of your daily recommended sodium intake, 42% of your carborhydrates, 29% of your dietary fiber, 85% of your daily cholesterol, 94% of your daily fats and—ta dah!—103% of your daily saturated fats, all packed into 1,170 delicious calories, 550 of which come from fat! Sounds like good eatin' to me!

A tough-but-friendly-looking guy is looking at you right in the eye from the back panel, wearing a plain blue tee shirt and raising his right index finger. Under him the box reads, "I know what I like, and I like a lot of it." Yeah, well, okay; I'd say the Hearty Breakfast has a lot. Not bad fare if you're going to head out to plow the back forty before lunch... and if the food were made of stuff that's, y'know, not from a chemistry lab.

The box also tells you, "It's good to feel full.™" Um... sure. You can accomplish fullness with carrots and water, if that's what you're after (not that that constitutes a real meal, either.) I just can't wrap my head around the test audience for these things. But considering how popular fast food is these days, I guess it's not inconceivable you'd find lots of people who are interested in a breakfast of nearly 1200 calories that's half fat. The box didn't say anything about serving sizes, but if the product's called Hungry Man and not Hungry Men, I guess that pound of food in the aluminum trough counts as one serving.

Hungry now? Yeah, me neither...

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