Thursday, October 14, 2010

A poor meal in poor packaging

Today’s meal is the Michelina’s Lean Gormet Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice.  Unfortunately, this meal lived up to the Chinese white rice meal stereotype; I was hungry again almost immediately upon completion of the meal.  The chicken is cut in tiny, tiny cubes, which might make it a good option for your grade school-aged child, but the small bites were not particularly appealing to this adult.  The vegetables were not particularly memorable, but as is often the case for me, the bites of pineapple added a welcomed dimension of flavor, though not as memorable in this meal as in others I have eaten. 

I realize it is a choice to be made, but I am somewhat puzzled by the use of white rice in this lean meal.  Health-conscious choices in the 21st century nearly always opt for brown rice, so much so that I’ve grown unaccustomed to eating white rice.  I never particularly cared for white rice even before today’s whole grain craze, and it certainly doesn’t appeal to me now that it’s almost non-existent in my diet.

What I really want to write about, though, is the packaging of this meal.  It frustrates me in more ways than one.  It is one of those cardboard boxes that the meal is right inside; you actually cook the cardboard box in the microwave.  Now, for those of you who are too busy or lazy to do any cleaning and recycling of your frozen meal packaging, this is probably *less* of a waste than most of the other products out there.  But for those of us who generally clean and recycle any plastic trays and accompanying cardboard boxes, this packaging is a real disappointment because this box cannot be cleaned and therefore cannot be recycled! 

Additionally – and here’s my real frustration – the meal instructions are on the bottom of the box.  Which goes into the microwave.  And then comes out of the microwave because I'm having a busy day and forget the instructions as soon as I stick it in.  So I look at the instructions again and try to commit them to memory.  But there are two rounds of cooking involved and I can’t retain the information that long.  So after the first few minutes of cooking, I have to pull the meal out and hold it up high so that I can look at the instructions again to know what needs to happen for the second round of cooking.  I simply don’t have time for this and I look ridiculous with the meal up higher than my eye level reading from an already-open box.  Sigh!  I know these may seem like ridiculous complaints, but there are a lot of meals out there, and I simply don’t have to put up with less-than-ideal circumstances, especially for a meal that is not particularly memorable.      

Calories:  330
Fat:  3 g / 0 g trans fat
Sodium:  640 mg
Notable good nutritional content:  30% Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C
Notes on cooking:  I can’t even give you these since I had to throw the uncleanable box away, but I know it involved two rounds of cooking.
Notes on packaging:  Boo, boo, boo!!  See above!!


  1. Hey Carly! Nice review!! Can I make a suggestion (sorry.) For those of us who are constantly eating out of the freezer, could you come up with a ratings scale? And maybe tag them by ratings so as this gets big, we could search by rating? Just a thought. I'm enjoying this thoroughly.

  2. I have known that some kind of rating scale would need to emerge. Great idea about the tags! I will come up with a plan and implement it in the next few days.

  3. I agree whole heartedly about having the directions on the bottom of the container. Add having to try to read them over your head, through bi-focals and I often end up with a strained neck muscle.