My wife left this week for a three-week trip. I could almost envision the wheels spinning in my three teenagers’ heads as they contemplated three weeks of frozen pizza and cereal. And they were almost right, in that my lack of cooking skills dictated that we head directly to the frozen foods section.
If I can put it in the oven or in the stove, that’s alright with me. I’m not proud of that personal shortcoming, but I don’t do extensive meal preparation – I’m just not wired for it. I’m one of those guys who will willingly pay $4 for 50¢ worth of lettuce as long as it is chopped up and bagged for me. Convenience is more than my primary concern; it’s my only concern.
So we headed to Walmart where I directed the kids to the frozen-foods section. Their mission was to find fare that would feed four people after the reading of simple instructions and just two minutes in the microwave or 35 minutes in the oven.
There turned out to be a whole lot of options available, and my kids returned with a full shopping cart of frozen-food bounty. As I inspected it, however, I grew a little angry. There were chicken products everywhere; even the frozen enchiladas I’d found in the food court as I waited for the kids to shop had chicken in them (it may sound a bit ironic, but that just doesn’t seem American to me!)
My beef-loving kids showed me the Philly cheesesteaks they had selected under the rationale that most of the other beef products were subpar. Well, I proceeded to remove about 25% of their selections and replaced it with more appropriate beef products, but these weren’t nearly as plentiful as products from the competition.
Since then, we’ve been conducting our own little research project, and the results are highly discouraging. Our conclusion thus far is that the cheaper chicken allows it to be surrounded with more flavorful products. Plus, on average, the chicken entrees microwave better than beef.
Okay, the Philly cheesesteaks were a real highlight, but with their cost and serving size, buying them wasn’t much cheaper than taking the kids to a fast-food restaurant. My kids will testify that I’m a terrible cook, and I readily admit that I’m not typical. But from my Walmart shopping experience, I can definitely tell you that the beef industry is getting clobbered in the frozen-foods section.
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