Wednesday, April 05, 2006


My husband came home the other day and informed me that when his co-workers asked him what he would choose to be the last meal before he dies, he answered that he would choose Swanson’s prepared corn.
I had no idea what he was talking about.
Shawn went on to tell me the corn was part of a Swanson’s prepared meal. Swanson’s fried chicken dinner to be precise.
Apparently it is 2 pieces of fried chicken, a side of mash potatoes, a bit of corn and a brownie.
I had no idea what he was talking about.
To me any tv dinner is gross.
I associate all t.v dinners with Lean Cuisine and Jenny Craig etc.
When I think of t.v dinners the following comes to mind.

-Fried, Greasy,mystery meats.
-One meal where all the food tastes the same
-5 mins in the microwave for soggy food,7 minutes for overcooked, dry food
-I imagine all t.v dinners to be fatty, flavorless sodium nightmares.

So, upon hearing about the content of his last meal wish, I was floored! Speechless. And that doesn't happen often to me (note to self: Maybe that's why he said it).
His mother’s pork chops? Delicious, but no, he will take the Swanson’s meal. My fabulous steak and homemade fries or Parisian chicken and lemon tweaked salad?
Apparently they didn’t make the cut.
Needless to say the knowledge of my husband's final meal haunted me, so I spent a week looking for it in the grocery stores of our neighborhood, Target's frozen foods and I finally found it at the deli around the corner.
After buying the meal, I came up with the most amazing and fun experiment.
He would make a Swanson’s dinner and I would make the exact same food from scratch.
Tonight we did just that.
At first I was not impressed with the frozen dinner. It looked flat, colorless and yucky, like something you'd give someone if they wanted to die, not something they'd want for a final meal. Then my husband popped it into the oven and half an hour later, the chicken looked edible and the mash potatoes were no longer white, they had risen and melted butter was oozing out of the top of it. The corn looked plump, bright and smelled really, really good. The brownie had risen and was bubbling and emitting the most amazing aromas.
I felt defeated.
Then I took out my own crispy fried chicken, buttery sweet corn kernels, white fluffy mash potatoes laden with salt and butter and we set them on the table.
We had a nice sample dinner, but a dinner that had a purpose.
I would discover once and for all if this meal he wanted on his deathbed was worthy and after going years without it, if he still loved it as much.
I made my husband close his eyes and I fed him a spoonful of each dish.
The object was that upon tasting a spoonful of my corn and a spoonful of Swanson’s corn, in no particular order, he would have to:
1: Try to guess which was mine and which was Swanson’s.
2. Tell me which one he liked better.

Now granted this was a lot of pressure, but we were both having fun, I tried the Swanson’s, he tried my dinner and we picked at each other’s meal the entire time.
Here are our responses.


I liked the way the Swanson’s meal looked after being cooked. I was quite impressed, but I liked the way my chicken looked crispier and more evenly browned. Their corn looked ok, but was sitting in a little bit of water. My corn was buttery and bright, with no excess liquid. I am ashamed to say that Swanson’s mashed potatoes looked much more appealing than mine. My potatoes were not attractive at all, uuurrggghhh they were white and slimy looking.
My brownie looked awful and small by comparison!
After an interrogation he admitted my meal looked better, chicken crispier, corn fresher etc, but he said his brownie won out big time! Alas my friends, he is right!

I found my chicken tasted much, much better, oh my god, Swanson’s chicken was nasty. My corn won hands down! My mash was awful, theirs wins there. My brownie tasted better.
He said he likes the taste of Swanson’s chicken, although it referred only to the skin, he said that once you took a bit the meat looked gross. Shawn said mine tasted better. Their potatoes were better, their brownie was better and our corn…oh my god was tied!

Then after I gave him a look of defeat, he said all my food was better, and that I won!
He also went on to say he loved my food.
Aha! He can be bought with a pout and a smile!

I am typing this with a headache, I think it was the food. Or maybe just the sight of that chicken.
Oh god, if I had to eat another Swanson’s meal, I think I could become a vegetarian.

1 comment:

gnarly nanny said...

yay, a new post!! i just did a jig (in my brain.) you guys are so funny and creative! your relationship sounds awesome! :)
where is the target you go to? is it new? my friends told me the only target around was in a seedy area in brooklyn...