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.

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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.

Review: Burger King Farmhouse King

Those of you who read this website (and are not my mother) are aware that the Shameless Consumer has two Burger Kings near his house, the good one and the bad one. The good one serves fresh food in a timely manner and probably prays to Jesus every night. The bad Burger King, on the other hand, not only worships the god of room temperature beef but as I noted in the previous review, its employees are armed and very much against the concept of extra ketchup packets.

Well folks, after years of complaining on the internet, my hard work has paid off. Following a call back from Burger King corporate in response to my Mushroom Swiss Big King and I was told in no uncertain terms that any further reviews would result in a defamation lawsuit, I convinced my neighbor who looks a lot like me to head over to Burger King in his trademark trench coat and Groucho Marx glasses and buy the Farmhouse King on my behalf, with my credit card, therefore not technically violating the restraining order because it wasn’t me.

It looks like they’ve cleaned up their act. Service was quick, I’m told, and the fries were fresh, allegedly. The burger was served hot enough to sort of melt the cheese, and they trained the dog that sleeps in the kitchen to not lick the patties as the workers are adding the condiments. A+ improvements!

Whereas the Big King line of burgers were either nasty mushroom/mayonnaise abominations or low quality Big Mac ripoffs, Burger King decided to open their creative side with the King line of burgers, by which I mean reaching back into the Greg Brenneman playbook of piling meat and cheese, and by god is it glorious. Forget ripping off McDonald’s with the “Big” prefix, this burger is the king full stop.

Currently Burger King is running three variants of the King: Farmhouse King, Rodeo King, and Bacon King Jr. You heard me right, this burger is the junior version.

This is the Bacon King for those of you willing to clog your face arteries.

The Burger King Farmhouse King brings together the Shameless Consumer’s favorite parts of fast food, farmhouses and kings, combining breakfast and royalty together in such a way that hasn’t been seen since Ted Kennedy shot a White House intern for stealing the last Eggo waffle, thus coining the iconic phrase “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

The Farmhouse King according to Shameless Consumer’s Nutritional Outreach Division is the most unhealthy item on Burger King’s menu, which explains why this thing is so damn tasty. No lie, this monster rakes in over 1,200 calories, more than the Triple Whopper or Arby’s Meat Mountain sandwich. It also boasts 2,050mg of sodium (about a 5 on the TGIF Loaded Potato Skin meter), 63g protein, 335mg cholesterol, and 80g fat.

To put this into further perspective, if the Farmhouse King burger was Clint Eastwood’s pistol in Dirty Harry and the sodium count was his bullets, then the whole product would probably be incredibly unsafe to flame broil. It’s actually much safer to deep fry a .44 magnum than it is to flame broil, for you gun nuts out there.

Burger King describes this burger as:

The FARMHOUSE KING™ Sandwich features more than ½ lb.* savory flame-grilled beef, topped with thick-cut smoked bacon, American cheese, crispy onions, ketchup, our creamy signature sauce and a fried egg all on a toasted sesame seed bun.

And congratulations to Burger King for doing something new, well sort of. What stands out in this burger more than anything is the signature sauce. I’m pretty sure that this has never been used in another Burger King product, but at the same time it tastes a lot like honey mustard. It’s quite potent and a small amount of sauce goes a long way. A surprise since Burger King tends to slather on the fixings enough to be considered assault with a deadly condiment.

What I’m trying to say is that there is a hell of a lot of burger here, enough to actually justify the $7 price tag. The specialty sauce adds a nice sweetness to the burger, which goes well with the crunchy canned onions and bacony baconness of the bacon. You’ll need to come into this meal with an appetite and maybe a blanket and pillow, as about halfway through I could already feel myself about ready to fall asleep. Or perhaps it was sodium shock, I’m too tired and dehydrated to figure it out.

The Farmhouse King is proof that a sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal and the Farmhouse King is your three day emergency food ration. In fact, Shameless Consumer’s Apocalypse Reserach Foundation is looking into taking the Farmhouse King and freeze drying large quantities of it to use as a food source for the inevitable nuclear war, or for those horrible all nighters, whichever comes first.

Don’t come to this sandwich with some snack-level appetite, Burger King is coming to the fast food heavyweight championships and they’re aiming to go home with the belt. This burger is tasty, filling, and has just the right combination of meat and sauce. I don’t recommend it as a regular meal, but as a once in a while “haven’t eaten all day and now I’m too tired and hungry to cook,” it’s a good deal.

Verdict: 5/5 – A delicious, not-so-nutritious meal that puts the king back in Burger King. Puts the competition to shame and has more salt than a Saltini family reunion.

Review: Fish People Wild Crab Bisque

Today’s review comes to us from our good friends over at Nature Box, but it isn’t actually a Nature Box branded item. It is Fish People Wild Crab Bisque, but you probably already knew that if you read the subject line.

Fish People’s soups cost about $6 in stores and you get about 10 ounces of soup for your troubles. Not the cheapest product in the batch, but you should expect to get higher quality than your average Campbell’s Chunky or Progresso Low Sodium. The soups come in a handy pouch and take up minimal space, offering plenty of room in the cupboard for whatever else you put in a cupboard apart from a single packet of soup.

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One cool aspect of Fish People Sea Food is that they include a 7-digit code on the back of every package that tells you exactly where your product came from. This search function is probably more powerful than it needs to be, as I quickly discovered that the specific crab in this bisque was named Burt Shelldin of 82 Salt & Pepper Boulevard somewhere off the coast of [redacted] American Waters. While it’s great that Fish People wants to be transparent, I feel like they’re going overboard and almost trying to justify killing this crab, because it also included a mug shot and rap sheet, ending with an arrest in 2016 for “in-sea-dent exposure,” a charge which tells me that undersea police are either relentlessly stupid or really desperate to make ocean puns, highly inappropriate considering he allegedly exposed himself to tadpoles.

Like I said, it’s a unique feature but I could have lived my entire life without knowing that the crustacean community is experiencing a rampant herpes epidemic, or that enterprising little cretins like the one in my bowl had figured out a way to make millions of whatever the hell currency they use by cornering the market on vaccine supplies. The cure to crab herpes is crab bisque, in a morbid turn of events.

Fish People’s Wild Crab Bisque describes itself as:

This popular seafood soup serves up the Best of the West. Delectable crab and Pacific Pink shrimp, harvested from the depths of our local waters, are combined in a light cream sauce with sherry, sweet onions and hints of orange and cayenne.

The package claims that it feeds one hungry person, so I went and found a hungry person. Her name, incidentally, was Sherry. She was a vegan. I tried convincing her that this was vegan wild crab bisque, whatever that would look like, but she wasn’t taking the bait. Evidently the giveaway was that the food smelled edible. By this point I had worked up quite a hunger myself, so I set to work.

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The Shameless Consumer has two rules when it comes to seafood: Never buy gas station sushi and never turn down a good seafood bisque. This pouch can be microwaved or boiled in a pot of boiling water, but either way you’re probably going to want a bowl to pour it into, so the Shameless Consumer brought out his trusty Field & Stream brand mug, fit for only the heaviest of chowders and bisque.

Fish People’s crab bisque is delicious by the way, for those who haven’t already stopped reading after that whole bit about crab herpes. The ingredients are fantastic, a heavy cream bisque with a fair amount of crap shredded in for good taste. It isn’t heavy on the salt, like most other bagged seafood soups wind up being, and it perfectly hits the spot and warms the heart on a cold October evening.

Best of all, you can eat it right out of the pouch, making this a fine soup to eat at work and then dispose of in your neighbor’s cubicle. It’s oddly filling as well, not in the sense that you’ll be full to bursting but enough to satiate those hunger pains until dinner or second lunch, whichever comes first for you.

Ultimately, Fish People brand Crab Bisque is a tasty treat that can’t be beat, given its $6 price tag I would recommend having a few in the cabinet for the occasional pick me up. They are very shelf stable, the pouch that I bought didn’t expire until 2020.

Nutritional Highlights:
Calories: 310
Total Fat: 22g
Saturated Fat: 13 (65%)
Cholesterol: 135mg (45%)
Sodium: 560mg
Protein: 13g

Verdict: 4.5/5 – Eaten as quickly as it was cooked, the Fish People crab bisque may be gone, but our review shall forever leave imprinted on your mind the concept of crab herpes.

Review: Cotton Candy Twinkies

It’s Twinkie time! Special thanks to Bostwick Saltini of Bologna for sending this treat over, Bostwick’s note reads “your website is hilarious, please continue spreading the truth about the history of food. Also please don’t mention my name in your shoutout as association with Shameless Consumer is punishable by prison time in my country after you disparaged us in your Salted Caramel Moonpie review.” Thanks for the support, Bostwick. I don’t know if they have Olive Garden in your country, but I’m sending you a gift card regardless so you can taste some authentic Italian food.

Twinkie is as American as apple pie, moon pie, and cow pies, which means that any deviation from the norm is bound to cause controversy. The last thing you generally want to do with an iconic food is to muck with the ingredients, and new flavors with bad results will have a manufacturer strung up at high noon faster than you can say ‘treason is punishable by death.’

You may know of the Twinkie as that delicious snack cake that went away for a while a couple of years ago and then pretty quickly came right back. It’s a treat that has found its way into children’s lunchboxes for well over a millennia.

The real history is a little different, however the Taste in Reviews board at Shameless Consumer Industries will not allow me to discuss the true history of the Twinkie as it was deemed too pornographic for the general audience. I won’t go into much detail, but I think most adults can figure out the origin behind a “pound cake” stuffed with “banana cream filling,” especially when you look at the close connection between the Twinkie and the tater tot. You getting me? Wink wink, nudge nudge, you might want to look at Weird Al’s Twinkie Weiner Sandwich.

The Shameless Consumer has an affinity for the Twinkie because it reminds the Shameless Consumer of the Shameless Consumer. We’re both rubbery, a bit on the sweaty side, and we’re both chock full of banana flavored filling. One is an American tradition, the other simply an American hero. If the Moon Pie is the Batman of this story, the Twinkie is Robin and candy corn is the Solomon Grundy.

Cotton Candy flavored treats have a habit of carrying an oddly bitter aftertaste. Thankfully replicating cotton candy is easy since you can actually use the cotton candy sugar in the recipe, and thus not have to go through the arguably pointless process of artificially recreating what is already artificial. That’s too far down the rabbit hole, and frankly you’re already too deep when you’re making cotton candy flavored candy.

The Twinkie itself is your standard pound cake shell, it’s a bit greasy and mostly serves as the carrier vessel for the filling inside. The filling is nice and fluffy, almost pillowy, reminiscent of those times when I would come home late at night from the fair and hide some cotton candy under the pillow for some early morning snackage. Don’t knock bed cotton candy until you’ve tried it.

File this one under enjoyed more than I thought I would.

Verdict: 4/5 – A very potent snack that won’t change the opinion of anyone who already hates Twinkies. In fact, it’ll probably reinforce how much you dislike them. Something to buy once and then laugh over its memory.

Review: Popeye’s Cheddar Biscuit Shrimp With Ghost Pepper Jam

Marco Brambilla’s Demolition Man movie depicts the far future of 2032 where violence and sex are a thing of the past, everyone is PC and weak, and the only surviving music are tv ad jingles. While most people assume that this movie was a fictional story, the Shameless Consumer can confirm that these are actual events that will occur in our future. I should know, I came with Brambilla in the time machine. He wanted to warn everyone about the impending dystopian future, I just wanted to get my hands on some French Toast Crunch. They discontinue it in 2020 and it never gets picked up again. Ask Marco yourself, he’ll deny knowing me just as violently as my family does.

But apart from the three seashells in the bathroom (which I will be reviewing in approximately ten years), the thing most people remember about the movie are the franchise wars. All that Marco tells the audience is that Taco Bell won the franchise wars, and thus every restaurant is Taco Bell. In reality, Taco Bell didn’t win the franchise wars, Marco and I went to Taco Bell after coming back to the far past (the more recent past for you folks) and got some Taco Bell, and the guy put sour cream in his nacho supreme even though he asked for no sour cream, and Marco got pissed and decided to slander them and make them pay for product placement.

What you didn’t see was the scene after Sylvester Stallone eats at the fancy Taco Bell restaurant where Marco shot a very long, graphic, and detailed scene of Stallone’s mud butt. The scene was cut to avoid an NC-17 rating. In all honesty, Little Caesar’s wins the franchise wars because all of their restaurants were secretly built to withstand improvised explosives. Test it out for yourself! Nobody eats pizza in the future.

But enough about history, or more specifically your future and my history, let’s talk about Popeye’s.

Popeye’s is the distinctly not-KFC chicken brand that people love to eat, and like its eventual Kentucky Fried Arsonist (check back in 2022 for more information), Popeye’s pretty regularly comes out with new ways to batter its food. The latest is cheddar biscuit butterfly shrimp, shrimp coated in none other than cheddar biscuit breading.

Who doesn’t like cheddar biscuits, apart from the unborn or Nazis, and who doesn’t like Popeye’s apart from the arsonists hired by KFC five years from now? Nobody, that’s who.

If Red Lobster ever commissioned Lush to develop a cheddar biscuit bath bomb, it probably wouldn’t be as powerful as the smell coming out of this box. It’s like my nose is an unsupervised Vietnamese child navigating hundreds of miles of cheddar biscuit landmines left over from the franchise wars. I’d like to stick two of these pieces of shrimp up my nose and leave them there, ensuring that the delicious smell of cheddar and biscuits never leaves me.

In case my analogy was too offensive, what I’m trying to say is that the Shameless Consumer can’t get enough of the cheddar biscuit smell. If God sent his only child down to modern day America to act as a sacrifice, as he does in 2027 to end the franchise wars, he would probably show up in the form of a living cheddar biscuit. But enough educating for today, I’m just waxing poetic on my past.

What you get is a thickly breaded shrimp that oozes biscuity goodness. The cheddar takes a back end to the biscuit flavor, the two parts melding into a delicious concoction. For comparison, imagine taking the top part of a Red Lobster biscuit, the crispy yet slightly chewy, buttery, cheddary biscuit, and wrapping it around a shrimp. That is the Popeye’s Cheddar Biscuit Shrimp.

And I’m surprised to say that the pepper jelly was quite tasty despite being called “ghost pepper” and not being even slightly spicy. It is quite sweet and peppery, and goes well with the shrimp.

Ultimately, I have to give this a two thumbs up, for $5 with a side and biscuit, it’s not a bad deal.

Verdict; 4.5/5 – The sauce could be spicier. I am about to be sued by KFC, Popeye’s, Lush, Marco Brambilla, and very likely the FBI anti-terrorism unit. They are all wrong.

It Came From Blue Apron: Roasted Beef & Farro Salad

Here at Shameless Consumer Industries, we like to follow the KISS rule, which stands for Kevin (Bacon) Isn’t Sheriff, Stupid. What that means is while food should look good, it should emphasize satisfaction and filling. Don’t serve me pretty air. Like when you hear about those five thousand dollar platters at three star Michelin restaurants on TV only to see the waiter bring out the tray and the whole meal is smaller than what you’d serve an infant.

Like Nature Box, Blue Apron was an idea that the Shameless Consumer had because he heard it on the radio show. Which show? All of them. These days you can’t listen to the radio, a podcast, hear voices in the fillings in your teeth, or intercept private Russian communications without someone being sponsored by Blue Apron. In fact, scientific studies show that Shameless Consumer is the only entity left on earth not sponsored by Blue Apron. Even you are, check your big toe for your branding.

Let’s talk about cost. Blue Apron costs $60 per week for three, two serving meals. If you’re single and hate shopping for dinner ingredients and don’t mind paying a premium, it’s great. Otherwise, I dare any one of you to find me a universe where a standard meal is more than $10 per serving. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Blue Apron is also great for simple meals that are pretty elegant, not simple like instant mashed potatoes but not difficult like Beef Wellington. My cousin died from Beef Wellington disease, a story I’m sticking to even though the coroner has sued to keep me silent. They keep telling me he’s alive and well in Birmingham, and even went as far as to set up a double who still visits on Christmas. I suppose we all go through the stages of grief in different ways.

This is probably the point where you expect me to talk about the history of roast beef, to which some book nerd is thinking that it is Swedish for beef that is roasted, when any educated person is aware of its origins as a racist slur against Ottomans living in Greece in the late 1400’s. Plus, we don’t have time for history, we have beef to cook.

Where’s the beef? I know where…

Anyway, the roast beef needs to hit room temperature before we can do anything with it, and that’s going to take some time. Come back in like, fifteen or twenty minutes. So how is everyone’s summer going? See any good movies? Did you know that it’s been like five weeks since the last Shameless Consumer review? Who is the lazy moron that runs that webs-oh hey the beef is set.

We place our immaculately seasoned beef into a pan of heated olive oil and flip occasionally. Now the Shameless Consumer likes his meat like he likes his food poisoning: Rare and from meat, so we’re going to take the lower end of the cooking times. If you want to go for more well done, unfortunately nobody can help you.

Now that the beef has been pan fried, we eat. I’m just kidding, but look at that beef. We’ll need to transfer the beef to our oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. I’m going for 8, at a lower temperature. While the beef roasts, we’ll be cooking the Farro for 16-18 minutes. Gee, woulda been good to start with that, right Blue Apron? You kinda have to read ahead, because the next step usually starts as the previous step is still going. It’s like a crappy choose your own adventure novel.

Anyway, bippity boppity boo, and dinner’s done for two. I’m going to skip the rest of the steps since I’m sure you’re aware of how to put vegetables on a pan until they’re cooked, and Shameless Consumer Industries will probably be relieved that I’m not spending a review making comparisons to the Nazi movement. It’s a pretty simple method of cooking the food until it’s cooked, mostly by pan cooking or roasting in the oven. This is what I like about Blue Apron, it has simple recipes that even lazy food bloggers like yours truly can cook to not write about.

The ultimate meal turned out to be sort of a hodgepodge of stuff, with the farro acting as the emotional support, telling the olives that existence is an illusion and that we will all die one day. I’m hesitant to talk about the specific ingredients because this recipe isn’t exact and can change pretty heavily based on your cooking ability.

Regardless, the whole meal was pretty tasty and easy to cook. I have to hand it to Blue Apron, I expected the service to be sub par and overpriced, but found the food to be quite tasty albeit overpriced. I could always buy my own ingredients, but who wants to go to grocery stores? Amazon sells everything I need!

If you’re a cook and don’t care about buying the ingredients yourself, I recommend checking out Blue Apron’s website. You can actually see their recipes and try it out for yourself without having a subscription.

Verdict: 4/5 – I underestimated just how much farro this meal came with, wound up with enough for two gigantic servings. The roast beef was a good cut, and the ingredients were fresh and tasty. My presentation wasn’t great, but then again I’m just shoveling this into my mouth hole so who cares.

Review: Marshmallow Peeps Trio (Easter Edition)

Fun story: So the Shameless Consumer was sitting at his desk eating his usual lunch of Rolos and plain, unsweetened green tea, when the folks over in research and development come over and threw this down on the desk. Cherry Limeade Peeps. Assuming that I was in the midst of a stroke, I reasonably asked one of the two men to use the golf club taped underneath my desk to quickly put me out of my misery. They simply walked away laughing.

Undeterred, I strolled right into the office of the VP of Shameless Consumer Industries and submitted my resignation. He didn’t even read the not-so-subtle comments about his mother’s taste for disgusting perversions like Domino’s Pizza before slapping the page with a giant “rejected” stamp (I have no idea where he got the stamp). So I, kindly, and in between lobbing a barrage of vulgar and in hindsight possibly racist obscenities at him, requested to be fired again. That was denied. I ran over the VP’s dog, he promoted me to the nonexistent title of “Foreman of Peeps.” I shot the VP, he somehow managed to pile my desk with even more Peeps to review by the time I got back.

In order to better explain the craze for Marshmallow Peeps, I’d like to bring to my audience’s attention the concept of Freeganism, where Brooklyn hipsters save hundreds of dollars a month by dumpster diving and eat otherwise fresh, still packaged food that’s been thrown out because companies like Trader Joe’s weren’t able to sell it. Imagine if these people didn’t care about the quality of food going into their bodies, and you have those who enjoy Peeps.

If that analogy didn’t work for your, imagine Marshmallow Peeps as the modern Neo-Nazi movement. You rarely see someone eating a Peep in close proximity, but you hear about areas where it’s gotten really popular and you see people talking about their love of it online all the time. Bring it up in conversation however and everyone in the room will quickly disavow any knowledge or association with peep lovers.

1. Cherry Limeade Peeps

This product is described as:

“Cherry Limeade! Sour cherry dipped in lime fudge and graciously sprinkled with regret and the unfulfilled wishes of puppies recently turned roadkill.”

I may be editorializing a bit on that, but it doesn’t matter. One must wonder who in this world has been buying Peeps to the level that the company continues to pump out increasingly disgusting flavor combinations dipped in what I can only assume to be a combination of stomach acid and Chlorox Bleach.

And since Peeps brand isn’t merely content with bastardizing the term “marshmallow,” they’ve gone and taken a hatchet to the term “fudge,” using it to describe whatever they’re dipping the Peeps in. I don’t know what Limeade fudge is, I even went through the trouble of sending an email to Gordon Ramsay’s PR people who responded and told me to never contact them again.

One aspect I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is why the Peeps taste like soap. Imagine if Dial for some reason decided to make a cherry slush flavored soap, let’s say the CEO decides he’s going to poison a bunch of children in a way that has plausible deniability, this Peep is very close to what that product might taste like.

The limeade fudge is an oddity, because I still have no idea what it is, Gordon Ramsay isn’t answering my 911 calls, and I have an interesting theory as to where the flavor comes from. Otherwise, it has that distinct, acidy, candy lime flavor. In effect, the Peeps company took cherry peeps and dipped them in melted Lime Runts, which explains what Nestle did with the leftover flavoring after they discontinued Lime Runts in the late 90’s.

Verdict: 1/5 – Tastes like battery acid dipped in lime candy.

2. Raspberry Peeps

I have to give Peeps credit where credit is due, this is easily the best of the trio. Going back to my previous comment, this peep did not immediately smell of stomach acid and bleach, the scent was a highly muted raspberry. Peeps also deserves points for making a genuine raspberry candy, ie: not going the route of blue raspberry which tends to be more acidic and tart.

The fudge is, thankfully, just a neutral creme flavor and is not, as the purple color may imply, raspberry fudge. The pairing is decent, a fruity creamy mixture. It’s tame enough to be inoffensive to anyone who eats it.

I don’t have much to say about this product, so I’ll skip to some Peeps trivia. Have you ever wondered what those eyes are made out of? It turns out, Peep eyes are made out of Carnauba Wax, which is an edible, nontoxic, and it’s also used in wax products so it’s great for uneducated suburban moms to wax poetic about how inherently dangerous it must be on their blogs.

Another thing Peeps have going for them is sugar. It’s not great, but 10g of sugar per Peep is a lot less than I expected for a product that appears to basically be whipped sugar dipped in sugar.

Verdict: 3/5 – After eating two of the three, I decided that it would be better without the creme fudge. 

3. Vanilla Caramel Brownie

These aren’t half bad, but they’re not very good either. The vanilla brownie Peeps are filled with caramel, but it’s fake caramel, and the marshmallow itself is vanilla, but it’s fake vanilla (synthetic vanillin). The caramel is low quality, but I do like the fact that it is pumped throughout the Peep.

The best way I’ve found to describe the caramel is to take the stuff you find in a Milky Way and imagine that that is 5 star chef made caramel in comparison to this. It mimics the caramel like Ditto mimics another Pokemon, if you see it out of the corner of your eye, in passing, and you happen to be blind then you might be convinced you’re looking at a real Pikachu. Otherwise on Easter you’re probably better off eating the actual candy you received.

Again, I have to give Peeps an A for effort, but the presentation is like a good looking gingerbread house but all of the pieces are put together with glue, so you’d probably not want to eat the final product even if it is technically non-toxic.

Verdict: 2/5 – As far as Peeps go, this is more edible than the usual variety. 

Bonus: Confetti Peep Egg

No. Absolutely not. This egg smells like diabetes and the first and only bite I took of it has all the taste and texture of a mildly strawberry flavored packing material.

Verdict: N/A – Not my horse, not my barn.