Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Banquet pot pies. How they've changed!

“The Greeks cooked meats in open pastry shells called ‘artrocreas’ however it was the Romans who added to top crust making the first pot pies.”

I can remember buying Chicken Pot pies back when I went to college. I had little money (much like now) and they cost less than a quarter (not like now)! At that time, there were no microwave ovens anywhere and so you had to have access to a real oven. Back then, they also came in little aluminum circular trays and were made by iconic companies like Stouffer’s, Banquet and Swanson. I’d pop one in the oven and a half hour to forty five minutes later, dinner was served! Chicken pot pie, long hair and plenty of beer was definitely my scene back then. Peace man!

Cycle forward (quite a few years I might add) and pot pies today come in all sorts of interesting combo’s. They even have fruit pot pies (I plan to eat and post one of these soon)! Most cost about a buck or sometimes a little more, and you can nuke them in the microwave in just a few minutes for a really fast hot meal. That then, is the subject of this post. I will be delving into the world of pot pies to see if they still measure up to my boyhood memories.

My selection for today will be the Chicken and Broccoli pot pie made by Banquet and distributed by ConAgra Foods. The picture looks pretty good, doesn’t it? A delicate, thin brown crust filled to over-brimming with all sorts of tasty morsels. Gotta love those advertising folks! Just look at the shear size of that hunk of chicken in the picture will you? I wondered briefly if I would be able eat all this in just one sitting?? Well, as the Chef on the Food Channel is known to say, ‘Allez Cuisine!’

In honor of this meal, I have a new ranking score card that looks like this:

      Category              Score                     Comments
Package artwork:         1-10                 How appealing is the package artwork?
Visual appearance:      1-10                 Does the food look as good as the package?
Smell:                          1-10                 Is my nose aroused? Is it happy, shocked or only running?
Taste                            1-10                 1 = you don't wanna know whereas 10 is a mind blowing culinary experience!
Texture:                       1-10                 1 = cardboard & 10 = melt in your mouth!
Cost:                            1-10                 1 = RU crazy, 5 = Affordable, 10 = Just about free?
Score:                          1-10                 An average of all the above!
As you might imagine, a score much below a 5 would not be a good thing to eat. (Especially if that score was being helped by a high mark for the package artwork and cost factor)! So, now that we have that settled, what say we take this pot pie for a spin?

After removing the packaging and carefully checking the instructions,

Score Card for Banquet’s Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pie

      Category              Score                           Comments
Package artwork:       8                        Mouth watering comes to mind! Nice picture.            
Visual appearance:    3                        Stark realities can be hard to bear! Can’t they?
Smell:                        7                        Very nice and pot pieesh!
Taste                          8                        Satisfying and filling. Like a pot pie should be!
Texture:                     8                        Carrots were a little crunchy…
Cost:                          7                        Under a buck? That’s cheap these days!           
Score:                        7.2                     So-so to medium good!

Overall, pretty decent for 370 calories. You could tell that this dish uses a lot of salt as a substitute for flavor, but then again, most companies do. My only real gripe was that he product was hesitant to come out of the tray. I had to dig it out, ergo the rather poor picture that is still somehow intriguing. Other than that, this is a good product for anyone looking for a hot meal on the run!

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