Televison has come a long way since its first national color broadcast in 1953. In the beginning, at least, Swanson TV dinners kept pace, relegating dinner conversation to history's dustbin as Mom, Dad and their 2.5 spawn tuned in, turned on and defrosted Salisbury steaks. But as TV goes HD, Swanson clings to vacuum-tube technology.
Witness this square, er, rectangular meal provided courtesy of that estimable purveyor of frozen sustenance. A testament to the powers of chemical flavoring, Swanson Boneless Pork Rib Shaped Patty in Barbecue Sauce with Mashed Potatoes, Corn & a Brownie provides the three basic food groups: fluffy, crunchy and squishy.
Fluffy: Composed principally of air and starch, these mashed potatoes are so starchy they even carry a slight fish-stick tang. Then again, that may be because the mashed potatoes are processed in the same Fayetteville, Arkansas, processing plant as Swanson Breaded Fish Fillet with Macaroni & Cheese & Green Beans TV dinner.
Crunchy: Think of a crisp corn kernel. Then imagine that same kernel freezer-burned to a watery pulp. Now, replace that kernel's crisp skin with a tough husk. Voilà! Crunchy!
Squishy: The carton says "rib shaped," not rib. Sure, a few errant granules of skeletal matter made it through the pulverizing process, but this patty is more wiener than rib assuming your wiener is drenched in Open Pit? barbecue sauce.
According to Swanson's Web site, www .swansonmeals.ca, the company discontinued dessert in 2001. Why? "Consumers no longer eat dessert with their meal. Consumers who eat dessert prefer to eat it later in the evening and desire a bigger portion than what we were offering."
Be that as it may, Swanson Boneless Pork Rib Shaped Patty in Barbecue Sauce with Mashed Potatoes, Corn & a Brownie did indeed come equipped with a "Brownie" one that, for the record, proved more than enough for this consumer.