Review: Taco Bell Double Chalupa

We here at Shameless Consumer Industries generally don’t like to review limited time items for obvious reasons, but we had to take a look at the Double Chalupa from Taco Bell while that pending lawsuit complaint from the McDonald’s PR firm makes its way through our counsel’s small intestine. The double chalupa isn’t new at Taco Bell, it shows up once every few years.

This year it even comes with a spicy version, chock full of enough jalapeno to make you say “that wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be” while simultaneously putting your grandmother and white friends in the hospital. Not much more to say about the marketing campaign, so let’s dive in.

In order to fully understand the double chalupa, we must go back, BACK I SAY, to the ancient days of yore, long before the age of written word, when monks passed along history from one generation to the next solely through verbal conversation, good memory, and hot iron branding. These are the ages in which we find our hero, Lupa, a fair maiden living her life in the fields of what is present day Mexico.

Lupa tended the lush and prosperous fields day in and day out, as she kept her village fed with plentiful bounties of corn, lettuce, and tomato while raising her much beloved cattle for their beef, cream, and three cheese nacho blend. Her father a mighty warrior and her mother a sitting judge for the ninth circuit court of appeals, Lupa worked the fields by day and by night she experimented with new and interesting ways to turn her produce into fanciful meals for the peasants in her village who had only known the pure horror of existence.

You see, for the village of Cuarta Comida was just a blip in the kingdom of Tacomartes who up until five years prior had been living under the horrible and tyrannical rule of the Duchess of Hamburg. The Duchess in her unending cruelty passed decree after decree, limiting how those under her rule could live their lives. The beef, she declared, shall only be ground and served in a patty-like form. The grain shall only be formed into small, hand-sized loaves to be filled and eaten as one meal.

But Lupa’s father, as the legend goes, was awoken in the night by an angel who tasked him with freeing his country. “The Duchess controls everything, so you must be cunning to defeat her,” the Angel said as it floated above his bedside. “She has nigh unlimited power, but her creativity is restrained by her breaded abomination. In order to defeat the Duchess and free your people, you must be willing to think…outside the bun.” Lupa’s father drew his sword, mounted his steed, and was away at once toward the castle in which the Duchess lived. If he was going to strike, he needed to strike now.

Taco Bell’s $5 Double Chalupa Box unlocks the chance for fans to win a custom Xbox One X Platinum Limited Edition Bundle only available at Taco Bell. (PRNewsfoto/Taco Bell Corp.)

This is the part of the story where the legends start to split in their recounting of the tale. Most historians generally agree that Lupa’s father poisoned the Duchess however his poison of choice is not entirely set in stone. What we do know is that the poison was apparently applied to her pillow, and the Duchess later died due to complications arising from a particularly aggressive form of conjunctivitis (pink eye). In his will, Lupa’s father thanked her for he could not have completed his holy mission without Lupa’s delicious sustenance.

As the years went on following the death of the Duchess of Hamburg and the disappearance of Lupa’s father, the town prospered and grew enormous in its population. Lupa gave birth to five children, two boys and three girls, all of whom she named Marion. Her five children left upon reaching adulthood at the ripe age of eight and Lupa was once again left alone to tend the fields and feed the needy people of her village.

And one day, a sick traveler came upon Lupa’s house. He had great pains in his stomach, and was afraid that he would surely die if not tended to. Lupa brought him into her house and, in a fit of ingenuity, decided to use the man as a guinea pig for her big experiment. With the precision of a master, she molded and baked her corn tortilla shell, added the seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and the three cheese blend. The sick man now on the verge of death, writhing in pain on her cot, Lupa fed the man her concoction.

He grew still, and for a moment Lupa thought him to have passed. Seconds turned into minutes, and around a half hour later the man suddenly bolted up from his rest and ran out the door full of piss and vinegar. Lupa was shocked, she didn’t know how to react. Several minutes later the man entered back into the house looking much more energetic and lively. He thanked Lupa for her nourishment and apologized for, as he put it, painting the wall of the neighbor’s house brown.

For months he had traveled the lands looking for someone who could help him wreak revenge upon the demon that blocked up his body with a diet of beer and raw meat. He pointed to the remaining meal and said “in my village a fair maiden such as yourself created a dish very similar to this. We called it a charosa, as her name was Rosa. But you, you made something so much more. This meal is filling and invigorating, yet light enough to have for a meal after dinner. You should call it a double chalupa.”

The man could not pay her, as he did not have any money, but he promised to spread the story of her good deeds far and wide, and would make it his life’s mission to have her sanctified by the church of something (church may be a mistranslation as there was no known organized religion at this point in history). As he left, Lupa asked the man’s name. Montezuma, he replied.

Unfortunately this was also the olden days when thirty five was considered geriatric age, and giving birth five times with no hospitals and evidently no male partner had hastened Lupa to her end of life duties. She summoned her children via carrier slave, and they rushed to her side to see her off on her deathbed and to bequeath upon them her final gifts.

To her son Marion, she gifted her tortilla mould. To her daughter Marion, her three cheese nacho blend recipe. To her other son Marion, her tortilla recipe. To her daughter Marion, the family cattle. To her other daughter Marion, the family farm. And to her final daughter Marion, the writing utensil she had borrowed about ten years prior.

And as her life faded before her family’s eyes, Lupa gave her final speech. “My children, you must travel north and bring the prosperity that I have left you to all of those that you meet. Even if it takes a hundred generations, I want you to spread my message of love, of good food, and more importantly, the greatness that can come when you think outside the bun. Spread our authentic cuisine or my name isn’t Lupa Ruiz  de Juno Nepomuceno María de los Concerto Cinco Dólares por Pie de Largo Cajita Feliz y Tacobel. Now go, and live mas.”

As for the Taco Bell Double Chalupa, it’s pretty tasty. Great deal since the $5 box includes another taco, churros, and a drink.

Verdict: 5/5 – Tasty, filling, and a great deal.

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Foodbait: Top 5 McDonald’s Alternatives Brought To You By Burger King

We here at Shameless Consumer Industries are always looking for new ways to boost our productivity, by which we mean relying less on our staff who manage to get a post up about once every five months. So in the name of your entertainment and education, we’ve been putting out a call for guest articles. We only have one rule, your food based article must contain at least one reference to Peyton Manning.

Let us know if you want your guest article on Shameless Consumer, and we might post it!

Photographed: Fresh McDonald’s

McDonald’s! It’s the kind of food that makes you wonder what exactly the FDA is good for. Also a great lesson in how repurposed seagull meat can be colored to look a whole lot like beef.

But I digress. Welcome to the first Shameless Consumer guest article, where we present you with alternatives to those meals at McDonald’s that you tolerate because your significant other got it on the way home and didn’t call ahead to ask what you wanted.

Brought to you by Burger King!

1. The Whopper

Photographed: Not a Big Mac

We all know the ingredients of a Big Mac; two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion, in a sesame seed bun. Sure, it allegedly has onions and pickles somewhere, tiny little slivers in that sea of Thousand Island “special sauce” and lettuce.

The Whopper doesn’t need two patties or that useless center bun. We manage to pack in a quarter pound of savory flame broiled beef, sliced onions you can actually see, thick and crunchy pickles, juicy tomatoes, and tasty Iceberg lettuce in a sesame seed bun. Doesn’t fit as well into a jingle? You’ll be too busy chomping down on our filling and affordable sandwich to be singing a jingle. Unless that jingle is “the Big Mac sucks.”

Now available in our 2 for $6 combo!

2. BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter

McDonald’s may have the big breakfast but you’ll need to head over to Burger King if you want the Ultimate Breakfast. The BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter contains everything you need to start your day right; warm and scrambly eggs, a tasty sausage patty, a warm and fluffy biscuit, crunchy hash browns, and three fluffy pancakes just begging to be drizzled in that sweet, syrupy syrup.

There may not be a federal commission on hangover breakfasts, but if there was they would certainly pick Burger King’s Ultimate Breakfast Platter as the top brand name cure with McDonald’s coming in as the low quality generic knockoff that has severe side effects.

McDonald’s has something similar, but you can bet that it isn’t as filling, as tasty, or as good of a deal as the Ultimate Breakfast Platter. Combine it with a tasty cup of Joe to really get your morning kicking. Or go with McDonald’s if you’d prefer to spend the day in the bathroom with polio.

3. Onion Rings

Don’t get me wrong, fries are a delicious part of any balanced burger-based meal. Everyone has a cheat day, and why not spend it in the loving embrace of a plate of hot and crispy, golden onion rings?

McDonald’s doesn’t serve onion rings. Hell, they’ve barely nailed down the idea of making fries after all these years. Maybe onion rings are just a shy touch above their education levels.

4. Dutch Apple Pie

When it comes to lunch, you’ll definitely want to go Dutch with Burger King as in telling your significant other to get your own damn pie! McDonald’s may have a hot apple hot pocket, but the King makes his delicious desserts look like a pie, taste like a pie, and even burn like a pie.

That’s right, tell the D’s to hot apple beat it and make your way down to Burger King for some hot Dutch lovin’ from the hot Dutch oven. Crisp and flakey for your wakey wakey, so give it a try, it’s a baked not fried, we’ll top it with ice cream and unlike the competition, nobody dies.

Burger King’s Dutch Apple Pie really takes the cake.

5. Coca Cola

Coca Cola, a drink so nice we menu’d it thrice. Everyone loves Coke, even those uncultured Pepsi fans who claim that their drink is superior. Now we’re not throwing shade on McDonald’s for going with Pepsi products, even if a recent World Health Organization study found that it was the drink of choice for retailers operated by sociopaths, but even the most ardent of Peyton Manning fans have to admit that there’s nothing like the crisp taste of a cold Coca Cola on a hot summer day to wash that Whopper down with.

And like I said, we love it so much we decided to make more of it. If a simple Coke ain’t hittin that cold spot, go with a frozen Coke now available at participating locations. But the King, you weep, I need something more creamy and sweet as a drinkable treat. Well that need can be beat with a frosted non-meat. Of course I’m talking about the frosted frozen coke, an upgrade to the already perfect, a frozen coke with vanilla ice cream.

0. McDonald’s Sucks, We Have Chicken Fries

Our Whopper might be angry, but McDonald’s is the only one coming out of this fight pissed. Irrespectively, I don’t expect a response from the clown given the low reach of this blog and the even lower literacy rate among McDonald’s executives. Come fight me, I get out of work at six and there’s a shovel in my trunk just big enough to bury the remains of your self respect.

Review: Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon

For this week’s review, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit to my audience that your pal the Shameless Consumer is basically blind as a bat, if that bat recently went blind thanks to the sodium content of a dollar store beefsteak. While my friends and family, as well as that nice paramedic, keep telling me that I’ll need to wear glasses for the next year or two until my vision corrects itself, I can’t find them. I’m blind.

I may or may not have accidentally baked my glasses into a rhubarb pie and mailed it to my local congressman, not as some sort of threat but out of genuine gratitude for paving over my neighbor’s dog. I guess I’ll find out eventually, but the reason that this is relevant to today’s review is because I picked up a package of my old comfort food, bacon, and brought it home for an old fashioned Italian reviewccini alfredo.

You’ll have to bear with this review having minimal details, because I can’t read the ingredients list or the small print. It is bacon, after all, so I’m pretty sure I can cook it despite the lack of reading capability.

I’ll be Frank with you, folks. As of a few weeks ago, I didn’t think that any product could honestly smell worse than the dollar store bacon wrapped beefsteak. If the sodium hasn’t addled my memory I recall referencing to as a dumpster fire outside a port-o-john factory. This is worse.

It’s a good thing that the Shameless Consumer is moving out of this now-condemned building within the week, because this bacon has left an unmistakable scent of pepperoni dog farts, and it’s clear that this smell is permanently burned into the material that makes up the popcorn ceiling of my kitchen. I’ve never stir fried dog food, but I do recall the unforgettable smell of a dog’s BM that’s been baking on pavement in the hot August sun, and this isn’t nearly as appetizing.

All I can say about Sweet Earth bacon is that it doesn’t act like bacon. Generally with bacon you throw it on the pan and get a nice sizzle that almost sounds like clapping, like a pat on the back and a quiet affirmation that a tasty side to your breakfast or garnish on your salad is more than worth the subjugation, torture, and murder of an entire species of animals. This stuff sizzles a bit and almost looks pre-cooked, pre-burnt, as if breakfast is a sin for which you must be punished.

Bacon is also sustaining, in that you’re bound to end up with a tasty soup of grease at the bottom of the pan that can then be immediately used to cook your eggs, or save it for later for future cooking purposes, to fix a squeaky door hinge, or to boil and freeze into popsicles and hand out on Halloween to the neighbor kids. Try this, the kids will be so happy that they will buy and hand deliver eggs to your house like the kids in my neighborhood do.

At the end of the day, people are Grand Slamwiches.

This bacon doesn’t leave behind a grease trail as much as it does piddle out some brown substance that looks like taco seasoning, at such small quantities that I couldn’t even use it to flavor my coffee. It did serve as an excellent pesticide, as I accidentally left some droplets on the stove and returned later that afternoon to find several dead flies, a written and signed death threat from my landlord, and a note from my neighbor that he would be vacating his house effective immediately.

Incredibly, and despite the pungent aroma that I experienced when first opening the package, the bacon lost almost all of its smell and flavor after cooking. Objectively, I can’t comment on whether this is a net positive.

Sweet Earth bacon isn’t the worst thing that the Shameless Consumer has ever eaten, but only because I once had a bottle of Coca Cola shatter in my mouth and swallowed some of the shards of glass. Statistically speaking, this job has only poisoned me

Verdict: 0/5 – Smells like dog food. Tastes like dog food. I don’t think this is real bacon.

Review: Hungry Man Handfulls Philly Cheesesteak

Hungry-Man is a bit of an enigma in the frozen food industry, specifically in that the nerds over in high finance can’t figure out for the life of them how a brand based on big portions, low nutrition, and man-sized appetites is growing in a world where frozen foods are seeing steep declines in sales and people are generally turning to healthier alternatives. Hungry Man not only survives but succeeds and grows in an environment where branding your food “eat like a man” would get you strung up in an instant if your average vegan had any upper body strength available.

Hungry Man meals generally satisfy the five basic man food groups: Salty, meaty, cheesy, greasy, and salty, and this big pocket of hot meat doesn’t fail to satisfy that list. I’m quite surprised that Hungry Man didn’t go for the term “Man-fulls” with this product, but this blank check from Scotch Buy cigarettes for the purpose of funding the Shameless Consumer Podcast, aka Spoiled: A Shameless Consumer Podcast brought to you by Scotch Buy brand cigarettes, has me reconsidering my idea to question Hungry Man’s marketing team.

I don’t know why, I’m just feeling less inquisitive all of a sudden. This check is printed on fancy paper.

The filling is more of a combination of the thin slices of steak you see on the packaging and a slurry of beef and cheese, like a baby food for manly babies with manly baby appetites. The box says that the contents include beef, peppers, onions, and american cheese and…sure. I’ll take Hungry Man’s word for it that there are onions and peppers in this concoction. I could definitely taste hints of onion and pepper among the mixture of beef and cheese, but there definitely wasn’t the minuscule trace of visible veggies as seen on the box.

Which is fine, the less my manly eyes have to look at vegetables, the less I need to be aware that I’m eating them. Vegetables are for vegetarians, berries are for bears, and Trix are for kids, but meat? There’s no I in meat, but there’s a ME and incidentally no u, so stop I’ing me steak, if u know what’s good for u.

The Hand Full weighs in at about 9oz of food, making this a little over a half pound for about half the price of a full pound Hungry Man Dinner. I would even go so far as saying that it’s just the thing when you come from work and you don’t feel like cooking, or ordering out, but you still want something kind of resembling a Philly Cheese steak. It’s also filling, which is what you want when you’re hungry.

Getting a good Philly Cheese steak outside of the fair, a sandwich shop, or a restaurant is pretty difficult, so I’m going to grade on a curve and say that the Hungry Man Manfuls Philly Cheese Steak gets two thumbs up. It’s filling, it’s tasty, it doesn’t have a lot of vegetables, honestly the only thing I could ask for is an hour of your time with Spoiled: The Shameless Consumer Podcast brought to you by Scotch Buy Cigarettes, assuming our first episode ever gets released.

All Hungry Man needs is a catchy phrase to go with it, like snap into a Slim Jim, or mmmm, beefy. Speaking of Hungry Man, have you tried the Sixlicious new flavors? I don’t know what that means either but I’m going to find out.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – I lost the photos to this review, again, and ultimately decided not to steal snapshots from the various Youtube reviews of this product. Otherwise the only complaint I have is that a Philly Cheese Steak-like product will ultimately serve to remind you that you’d like a nice Philly Cheese Steak.

Chef’dless Consumer: Black Truffle Butter Sirloin Steaks

Here at Shameless Consumer Industries, I have a lot of respect for the pre-made meal industry. It takes a lot of gumption to take $8 worth of food and sell it for over $20. Thanks to Chef’d you no longer have to sign up for those expensive and controlling Blue Apron subscriptions, and for $20 per two-serving meal, you can have fresh ingredients right at your fingertips, provided those fingertips are attached to a body that is shopping at your local grocery store where Chef’d products are sold.

Or if you’re a frugal consumer, like myself, you can wait until the Chef’d products are on deep clearance which in the case of my local Tops Markets is always.

Today’s product is Black Truffle Butter Sirloin Steaks, a meal that is completely worthless if you’re the type of person who hates sirloin steak and black truffle butter. Personally this meal combines two of the Shameless Consumer’s favorite things: Truffles and sirloin, and the dish itself is actually a callback to the inventor of truffle butter, Florencio Trofel, an Italian immigrant who left his country in the early twentieth century and found his way to Brazil. Florencio, incidentally and ironically, accidentally discovered where the nipples are located on cashews and thus stumbled into a rather lucrative business harvesting and selling their milk.

But enough about history, let’s talk food. Chef’d Black Truffle Butter Sirloin Steak is so easy a four year old can figure it out; six steps and hardly any words with more than two syllables. In short, I couldn’t ask for more outside of a four year old who might be able to explain how to cook a steak.

First step is to water down the chicken base (yes I said chicken base), quarter and add the potatoes, and then toss in the roasted garlic for good measure, and right now some of you are no doubt thinking “potatoes in chicken stock with roast garlic? This guy might just be on to something.” You’re welcome. Throw those puppies into the microwave for ten minutes.

Fun fact: Chicken base looks like caramel. It does not taste like caramel.

Step two is to pat the steaks dry with a paper towel, preferably while whispering sweet nothings and words of encouragement to them, and then season with salt and pepper. Not that salt. I have to say this is where Chef’d let me down with its inconsistently shaped pieces of meat. If I wanted inconsistent meat, I’d visit your dad. You know, the cross eyed butcher.

I made this joke knowing that somewhere, out there, a someone is reading this whose dad is a cross-eyed butcher and will take this way too personally. That was actually the joke, nobody is going to read this.

Step 3 is to sear the steaks for  two minutes on each side, forming a nice crust. Personally there are only three things that the Shameless Consumer is fond of having crust on. Pizza, pudding, and grandma’s mustache. That said, I’m particularly proud of any kind of crust that I made myself so this steak had wedged a special spot in my heart next to the immortal remnants of those TGIF loaded potato skins.

The next step is to put the steak, asparagus, and rosemary in the oven at 425 and bake for 4-5 minutes.

What pops out is a tasty meal if I do say so myself, with ingredients sourced from Chef’d and no need for sharp cutlery, we can ensure ourselves a delicious meal with Shameless Consumer at the helm and minimal casualties to speak of.

Speaking of deliciously sourced meals, have you heard of Food Phreak? They deliver fresh ingredients to your door on a weekly basis, and right now I have a special deal where if you go to foodphreak.com/shameless, they’ve promised to add another incident report to their rapidly growing grounds for a restraining order against me. It won’t get you anything off your first order, but if you listen to any podcasts odds are you already know of a coupon code you can use.

Ultimately I give this meal a thumbs up under the condition that you also buy it at $7 like I did. At $20, maybe not so much. It did give me two meals, and I can’t complain about the steak. No, I absolutely can.

Verdict: 4/5 – Very expensive at its normal price, but decent ingredients. Asparagus was rather soft on its tips. Truffle Butter should be in everything.

P.S.: This review was not sponsored by Chef’d, but the next one can be. Hook me up, whatever your name is.

Dollary Dursdays: $1 Chopped Beef Steak Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review contains graphic imagery to a degree that Shameless Consumer management has decided to step in and offer this warning: Those with weak stomachs should get over it. Thank you.)

This week on Dollary Dursdays, we dive back into the shallow end of the pool known as the Dollar Tree frozen food section, break our necks on the linoleum flooring, and gently float back up to the surface holding the $1 chopped beef steak. I know what you’re thinking: A $1 chopped beef steak? That sounds economical and delicious!

Hold all comments until the end of the review, folks, I need to get this written down before the renal failure kicks in and I go fully comatose.

The $1 Chopped Beef Steak comes to us from Chef’s Requested Foods Inc, a processing company whose slogan roughly translates to English as, “now legally recognized as food in 1 country.” It’s made a name for itself digging through the dumpster outside of the Mongolian Buffet restaurants for uneaten leftovers and converting said foodstuffs into steak-like product. The “Chef’s Requested” in “Chefs Requested Food” is presumably short for “the Chef’s Requested we throw this tainted meat out for the customer’s own safety.”

Chef’s Requested has a substantial line of dollar store meat-like products and, considering the deluge of one star reviews on their Facebook page talking about grisly meat and a large portion of the steaks being injected with water, it doesn’t get much better from here folks. The Shameless Consumer Research Council was able to go back through their history and find that at some point between 2012 and 2014, Chef’s Requested changed its supplier, opting to drop its normal steak manufacturer and instead partnering with the dog food company to reduce costs, but further rejected their plans since dog food beef is a bit too high quality for their products.

In terms of this “steak,” I have to say I’m impressed by its ability to smell both like its been preserved in formaldehyde while also smelling like its been left on someone’s shelf for the past week at room temperature. After cooking, the steak managed to take on the smell of lightly brined roadkill, hot and fresh in the afternoon sunlight and just waiting to be basted with Jack Link’s Tennessee Whiskey barbecue sauce and washed down with a refreshing can of Schwepps.

So Chef’s Requested’s beef steak might smell like a dumpster fire outside of a porta-john recycling plant, but how does it taste? Imagine using a dirty sponge to wipe down a cast iron skillet that had just been used to cook a cheeseburger, throwing the sponge back on the skillet for a few minutes, and then eating the sponge. You’ve just imagined a more satisfying and nutritional experience.

Everything about this chopped beef steak can be best summarized as “…ish.” The steak is steak…ish, the bacon is bacon…ish, the salt water flavor injection is salt…ish. The quality of the meat is indeterminate as a slurry of mechanically compiled hunks of ground beef. Could be angus cuts, probably more likely to be a combination of low quality lips, butthole, and taint meat. This cut is more water than steak now, twisted and evil.

The $1 chopped beef steak doesn’t so much cook as it does gray, and what comes out of it is a soggy mess. You’ll remember way back in the far distant past of about two paragraphs ago I referred to this dish as a sponge filled with beef water, and as the delightfully animated gif below will show, I wasn’t lying.

You may never be hungry again. I’m so sorry.

As for the bacon, I once said that there is no such thing as bad bacon. I’d like to retract that statement. The bacon presumably was just as pumped full of water as the beef was before being cut and wrapped around the steak. The cut I got on my steak was almost pure white, all fat, and not the flavorful kind of fat either. The watery kind of fat, that makes you cry and lose faith in the powerful god of bacon.

Ultimately, the Chef’s Requested $1 Beef Steak is the kind of food by which your boss would be fully within his moral rights and legal obligations to fire you if you brought a bunch of them to serve at a corporate cookout, with the exception being that you work in an actual torture dungeon. It’s not so much a steak as it is a barely edible conglomeration of meat poorly cobbled together to serve as a vessel for lightly salted grease trap water, except not as tasty.

(Verdict: 0/5) – Chef’s Requested brings dishonor to the family name that is steak.

Clearance Stack: Good Food Made Simple Vermont Maple Syrup Oatmeal

Vermont Maple Syrup Oatmeal is good food simply made by Good Food Made Simply, and the first review for Clearance Stack, where we take a look at foods that found themselves on the clearance rack at the local grub hub outside of Shameless Consumer Industries (your mileage may vary). It comes in a plastic packet because disposable bowls are a waste. These are likely to be a bit shorter than the standard review, and thus release on a more consistent basis.

Ah who am I kidding?

But first let’s talk about the history of oatmeal. Oatmeal’s origins date back to about the year 1,000 BC and actually originated as weeds in and around central Europe. They’re actually one of the last cereal grains to be cultivated by farmers and were slow to become mainstream due to their image as a barbarian food, and due to the fact that they go rancid very quickly after harvesting if they are not processed quickly enough.

I bet you thought this review was going to talk about how oatmeal was first discovered by Transpacific adventurers and lawfully wedded couple Jacob Oates and Bethany Smeal, entrepreneurial chefs who traveled across the world in the second century BC to find the perfect coupling for their raisin cookies. The Oates family may have brought oatmeal to the coastal city of Mafra, Portugal, but they discovered the crop in the same way that Devlin Chakram “discovered” the source material for his bestselling book, 99 Uses for Belly Button Lint.

Now the Shamless Consumer loves oatmeal as much as he loves his other staple breakfast food: Garlic bread, and oatmeal has a really important added benefit: It’s very hard to screw up, both from an industry and consumer point of view. Steel cut rolled oats are cheap as hell and you throw them in a pot of boiling water (or milk) until they’re tender, toss some tasty maple syrup or brown sugar (or fruit) on top, and you’re good to go. The most important oatmeal of the day as part of the most important meal of the day.

GFMS’ oatmeal is simply made with five ingredients: filtered water, organic whole grain steel cut oats, organic vermont maple syrup, organic brown sugar, and sea salt. Presumably neither the sea salt nor the filtered water is organic.

GMFS describes its food as:

“Oatmeal doesn’t have to be the mushy stuff your mom used to make. Made with organic steel-cut oats, and with a nutty texture, it’s an oatmeal both you and your mom can love.”

Okay, GFMS, let’s clear the air. First of all, my mom didn’t make me oatmeal as a kid. Thanks for the reminder. Second, my grandma did make me breakfast but it was Farina brand farina, not oatmeal, and she melted real chocolate into it to cover the taste of the cigarette ashes that fell in because she liked to smoke over the stove. Again, thanks for the reminder.

The instructions are just as simple: Rinse under warm water, remove the oatmeal from the package, place into a bowl, and microwave for three and a half minutes.

While our product cooks, I’d like to take a minute and apologize for the rather boring history lesson at the top of our program. Not every food has a crazy origin, you see. This dish does give the Shameless Consumer time and opportunity to dive into our historical records and instead talk about the USDA, otherwise known as the organization founded by United States President Abraham Lincoln out of a deep desire to know what his neighbor, Thaddeus Tate, was having for dinner and if he could have a bite without looking like an intrusive schmuck. The organization’s initial goal was to knock on Thaddeus’ door each night and demand samples of his dinner under the guise of a suspected plague.

Incidentally this ruse continued for two years before Thaddeus knocked on Lincoln’s door and extended a hand of amicability. Misreading his movements, Thaddeus was quickly shot by Lincoln’s secret service. It is estimated that Lincoln’s scheme saved the country an hundred dollars in food costs, or about $3.6 million in today’s money.

Now the Shameless Consumer likes his oatmeal like he likes his women: Thick, steel cut, and covered in maple syrup, and Good Food Made Simple delivers on all cylinders. What you get is a thick, chunky, oatmeal with a sweet mapley syrup that is there without being too there if you catch my leftovers. It’s sweet without feeling sweetened and at 11 grams of sugar it’s nothing to write the dentist about.

Oatmeal is a great filling way to start the day, and this product does not disappoint. My only wish is that ol’ Abe Lincoln was still around to have a bite and admit that his secret service couldn’t kill me from point blank range all those years back. That’s right, Lincoln, you won’t be tasting any of my delicious dinners anymore.

Verdict: 5/5 – Good Food Made Simple’s Vermont Maple Syrup Oatmeal is tasty, filling, and high quality and even at the standard price of $3 for two servings, it’s worth its weight in grain.

Review: Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n

It must be Friday because Popeye’s is coming out with another limited time offering.

Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n comes from a long line of marketing brands that center on the consumer’s interest in doing a thing and then another thing. It’s the same sort of culture that brought us Pizza Hut’s Rip and Dip breadstick crust pizza, John Daly’s Grip It & Sip It alcoholic beverages, and your grandmother’s technique of sit’n and knit’n.

But Popeye’s is here to entertain and to nourish. No, that’s not the word I’m looking for, and it wouldn’t make much sense to say that the Colonel is here to Entertain and Mansplain. I’ll figure this out before it goes to publication, but it’s something along the lines of Fry’n and Die’n. [note: make sure this gets replaced before publishing]

I found myself in the local Popeye’s ready for dine’n and shin’n, a surprising change from the usual greet’n and beat’n I get when I walk through the front doors and try to place an order. What can you expect when they franchise to those people. You know who I mean. I’m just saying, a Popeye’s probably isn’t the smartest choice of franchising for a family of militant vegans, and they force you to order the item as it’s named on the menu, but I will admit it’s the only place that still distributes the incredibly tasty Popeye’s “I’m a scumbag” Sliders. Oh and they still have those packets of spicy honey mustard, really they’re generous people.

The chicken itself is a regular chicken breast sliced down to the base, split apart, breaded, and fried in a method that pays respects to an early third century medical remedy for peeshinus, also known as the fear of using the bathroom in public.

Popeye’s describe its Rip’n Chick’n as:

“Now available in select locations!”

You slay me, Popeye.

I was surprised to see how much of a punch the Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n packed since I assumed that this would be a standard fare spicy Popeye’s chick’n, but rip’ned into the shape of Hanson’s strong hand from Scary Movie 2. It’s like going into a fight thinking you’re opponent is a baby when in reality it’s Jimmy “Baby Faced Assassin” McLarnin, saving up for retirement by investing his foot in your ass.

It can’t be understated how much this chicken breaks the fast food standard for spiciness, leaving the Shameless Consumer coughing and reaching for a drink with each bite. And I know spicy, ladies and gentlemen, I once watched two brothers get seriously ill eating a California Reaper pepper after losing a Super Bowl bet. Sorry, that’s the Big Game bet, and one of them wasn’t actually in on the bet.

If standard Popeye’s fare runs into the realm of “too spicy for your grandma” ring, the Rip’n Chick’n blows a stop sign and runs over several pedestrians to make a no-signal left down “outing that one friend who constantly humble brags about his resistance to spicy food.” The four spice blend of cayenne, habanero, black, and white pepper left me reeling. I had no idea there was such a thing as white pepper.

Otherwise this is pretty standard fare Popeye’s chick’n, in the sense that the breading is crispy, the chicken is moist and tender, and overall it’s a pretty decent product. The spice does give it a kick, and it’s almost palatable on its own to not need any dipping sauce.

Which is fine, because the guy at Popeye’s didn’t give me any sauce. The indignity of the matter! Thankfully the Shameless Consumer hoards sauce packets like they’re used napkins, in case I need some extra barbecue sauce or FLG sauce. With some tangy barbecue sauce, I was ready to go. I guess McDonald’s dips what Popeye’s skips. This review brought to you by McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, now available in chicken.

The Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n strip’n will get you Dip’n into your wallet and flip’n a snip’n of cash, no tip’n or gyp’n. What I’m trying to say is that the chicken costs $5, an extra dollar for a drink, and comes with a side and biscuit. Overall it’s a fair amount of food for its price, and your server probably won’t forget the sauce.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – My only wish is for this to become a full menu item.

Review: Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose

The Shameless Consumer found the Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose while carousing the local not-Whole Foods store also known as Orchard Fresh. Like most items chosen for review on this website, it was picked for its strange name and fancy bottle design. It’s chocolate, so it carries an inherent whimsical side, but it’s not called chocolate milk. No, siree, the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose is described as a chocolate beverage. Think Yoohoo, but with ingredients that come from nature instead of the whatever the CEO’s pool vacuum picks up on weekends.

It’s great for adults because it brings back memories of childhood without the associated shame of drinking a boxed Yoohoo. It’s also shelf-stable, so you can take your stash of Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Beverage and hide it from the kids like a serious adult. Alternately, you can lock your kids in the basement.

North American Beverages advertises the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Fat Free Chocolate Beverage as:

“Remember what a treat it was to drink chocolate milk when you were a kid? We do, so we created Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Beverage.”

Of course I remember what a treat it was. Unfortunately, now I’m an adult and can have chocolate milk whenever I feel like it, which sorta softens the flair and treat aspect. Sure, I could have some sense of self control, but the Shameless Consumer just can’t help himself when it comes to the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Fat Free Premium Chocolate Beverage.

Taste-wise, this product is mostly indistinguishable from the Yoohoo packed with your lunch for school as a kid, or the one you fished out of the garbage can in the school cafeteria (but we’re not here to point fingers). The revelation doesn’t bring down Natural Beverages as much as it does elevate Yoohoo, what with its corn syrup solids and high fructose corn syrup.

I won’t comment on the price since I bought this at not-Whole Foods where the prices are generally marked up pretty high. Going by how much I paid for it ($2.29), I’d be willing to bet that the bottles are probably sold for $1.99 everywhere else. It’s a toss up in terms of value, since you can always play the argument that you shouldn’t be drinking chocolate beverages often anyway.

Regardless, the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Fat Free Premium Chocolate Beverage, now in chocolate flavor, is a fantastic addition to anyone’s adult lunchbox. It offers the taste of Yoohoo with none of the artificial ingredients or synthetic shame associated with drinking a boxed chocolate drink for children as an adult, in a cubicle.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – If the Shameless Consumer had been more of an adult, he wouldn’t have lost the photos for this review.

Chefless Consumer: Spruce Up A Salad With 3 Easy Ingredients

Hey folks, Chefless Consumer here today with another tip on how to spruce up those boring meals. Before we begin, I’d like to issue an apology on behalf of Shameless Consumer Industries regarding our last piece in this segment and some negative reaction over a small joke we made about how to spruce up a Chipotle Taco Bowl.

Our lawyers have vehemently denied to the courts that our joke regarding Norovirus as a secret ingredient was in any way an indication of insider knowledge of the actual outbreak that occurred just three weeks after our segment hit the air. It was in poor taste, not unlike Chipotle’s queso, and we apologize to anyone who had the misfortune of eating at Chipotle.

Today we’re going to look at a dish that we all need to eat, as much as we really don’t want to. Of course I’m talking about salad, a food whose name is derived from the Italian phrase for “not pizza.”

I’m going to show you how with three easy ingredients, you can turn that Garden Salsad into a Garden Salglad.

Step #1: Start With Your Salad

The salad I’ve prepared for this dish is a simple combination of lettuce, onion, and thousand island dressing. Now this is a salad, which automatically makes whatever you do to it healthy, so I like to go light on the salad and heavy on the thousand island dressing. I also added a pickle for some extra crunch.

This isn’t Subway, folks, let’s not ruin another meal by putting too much lettuce in it.

Step #2: Add Cheese

What would a salad be without cheese? Praying for someone to put it out of its misery, that’s what, meaning salad and I have a lot in common with each other when in the presence of salad. Now I hit the grocery store about as often as I hit the gym, so all I had in the kitchen was some pre-sliced American cheese.

You can add any kind of cheese your heart desires, from sharp American to mild American, or even Kraft singles.

Step #3: Ground Beef

Ground beef is an overlooked commodity in salad, in fact you won’t find it in many combinations outside of the Taco Salad popularized by modern Chinese cinema. For the sake of funsies, I browned up some ground beef, drained the fat, and formed it into fun discs that can later be broken up while you eat. See? You can even have fun while having lunch, and I drained the fat from the beef which makes it healthy.

Step #4: Croutons

I’m not a fan of croutons, I find them to be difficult to chew and I’m always afraid of cracking a tooth. So to liven up this dish, while still incorporating some level of bread into the mix, I went with simple sesame buns. Sesame seeds are healthy, and croutons make for great ammunition if your friend is sleeping with his mouth open, so really we’re talking about taking this dish and having fun while staying healthy.

Step #5: Finish your Dinish

Oh no…

I must apologize to our viewers around the internet, it looks like in my pursuit of a better salad that I kinda accidentally constructed a Big Mac. I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean, other than that the Big Mac is actually healthier than nutritionists give it credit for. After all, as we have proven today it’s basically a salad.

What I’m trying to say is if you’re going to try and eat healthy, eat McDonald’s. Have a Big Mac.

(Editor’s Note: This article is not sponsored by McDonald’s, but it can be. Hit me up Ronald.)