Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Banquet Frozen Tamale
Banquet meals kind of remind me of childhood. We always had a few of these bad boys stashed in the coffin freezer in the basement of my parent's house. They have cost around a buck each for pretty much as long as I can remember. Go look at Dave's Cupboard, as I recall, he does some good reviews on the various Banquet meal offerings. I saw this new entry the other day at the market and one of its components intrigued me. Pictured above is the "Mexican Style Enchilada and Tamale Beef Combo." I am a tamale fanatic (see here for more on this), so I wanted to give Banquet's a whirl. Here is the meal cooked up in the microwave.
Probably the ugliest meal I have sat down to in a while, but it smelled kind of good. I immediately scarfed the tamale. It was very small, only about the length of my pinky, and seemingly of the corn roll variety. Pretty similar to some canned versions that I have sampled. But I will say, the meal taken as a whole, for costing only a dollar, is really not that bad. That is what is funny about Banquet meals. People make fun of them, but a dollars worth of packaged frozen food is a bargain if it is of even marginal edibility. Banquet usually delivers a kind of mediocre goodness.
While we are on the subject, this past Saturday I had an exponentially better tamale experience at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market . At Magdalena's Kitchen (I think this is what it was called) in the little row of food tents right as you walk in I got the below pictured chicken tamale.
This was so good that after I consumed one I immediately circled back for a second. The masa was rich and tender (plenty of good ol' lard I think) and there was plenty of juicy chicken in the center. This was served with some thin guacamole (the way I like it) and some sour cream. They had out some salsas, both green and red, as well as some pickled jalapenos. This was the highlight of the day at the market for me. If you see this place this weekend, buy one.
As a final note, writing the above made me think of something. What is the urge in America to make things "chunky." I have lived down near the Mexican border and authentic salsas and guacamoles down there tend to be a lot thinner and smoother than the American stuff. I appreciate salsa cruda, it is great in tacos, but I like a thinner salsa roja for chips. A lot of American style "salsa" seems to be some sort of bastard child of salsa cruda and salsa roja. Also, nothing skeves me more than nasty, chunky, stinky guacamole you see in a lot of restaurants (the kind usually served with an ice cream scoop). I like it to be a homogeneous and creamy mixture, don't know why, that is just me. Opinions?