Monday, January 14, 2008

90 Seconds to Satisfaction: Hormel Compleats

Hormel Conquers Lunch!

Their commercial gives the rationale: five minutes for lunch in a busy office, and pandemonium. Calmly, our heroine draws a single-serving pack from the stash in her desk, and 90 seconds later, she is eating a tasty entree, while her colleagues battle over stale peanuts from the vending machine.

Hormel Compleats are that astonishing commodity: a product that exceeds the hype of its advertising. Best, in my opinion, are the meals with mashed potatoes or dressing as the starch. The Beef Tips and Mashed Potatoes is a perfect size for a half-hour lunch, with rich gravy, tender meat, and the right amount of whipped potato to exactly match the gravy. Yum!

The Chicken Breast or Turkey with Dressing is also savory, and perfectly portioned. A crunchy vegetable addition (water chestnuts?) to the dressing gives it a wonderful texture and satisfying "tooth".

I also tried the pasta and rice products — it was tasty, but not as nice as the potato or dressing varieties. The chicken gravy in Chicken and Rice was too salty for my palate, for example, and the pasta in the Spaghetti and Meat Sauce was a bit mushy, while the sauce was closer to catsup than Bolognese.

Hormel also produces its signature Dinty Moore Beef Stew in the same 90-second pack, and it is just as tasty and satisfying as the canned version. What is next? Perhaps the iconic Spam will appear as a 90-second treat. Cue the Vikings...