dear lean cuisine “entree”

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Dear Lean Cuisine Fiesta Grilled Chicken “Entrée”,

Your redesigned, sexy, mod-looking box caught my eye recently as I was perusing the frozen foods aisle.  I found the perfect proportion of stark white to blood orange packaging to be provocative.  I opened the door and moved in for a closer look.

As someone who possesses a BFA with four years of color theory, I am quite familiar with the psychological effects of the color orange. You bet I do. For starters, it is proven to be a stimulus of the sexual organs! Damn right it’s a Fiesta! It can also be beneficial to the digestive system and strengthening the immune system. Additionally, orange has only positive affects on your emotional state, and relieves feelings of self-pity, lack of self-worth, and unwillingness to forgive. Orange opens your emotions and is a terrific antidepressant.

Hooray for Confident & Happy Easily Digested Lean Orgasm Chicken! Hats off, well done design department, you guys really have your shit together over there. Kudos.

I also appreciate your stylistic typographic approach, in which all text is lowercase. THIS CAN BE THOUGHT OF AS THE OPPOSITE OF SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS.  In this case, it is used to give a melancholic, casual, hip kind of feel; i.e. McDonalds – i’m lovin’ it.

I understand, and even appreciate your cunning and calculated advertising and marketing techniques, and the lengths at which you’ll go to woo us.

Now mind you, all of this takes place in a split second. To the untrained and unsuspecting eye, all of this manifests behind the curtain of your consciousness. It’s like magic, it happens every day, all around you. One of my favorite examples is this:

You’ve seen that logo hundreds of times, right? I wonder how many of you ever recognized the arrow in the negative space between E and x? Magic.

Now, switching from a graphically educated consumer, to a mother of young kids, I, like every other mother on the planet, do not have a large allotment of time in which to eat lunch. The fattening and rather disgusting combinations that I may or may not get to shove down my feeding hole while tying shoes and searching for my keys on the way out the door usually falls about 50 miles south of The Food Pyramid.

2 PBJ crusts or perhaps a chicken nugget, half of a cheese stick, a few grapes, and the last hit off of a juice box.  4 minutes and 600 calories of dissatisfaction, that’s what we get for lunch.

I felt a vague stirring in my loins as I slowly fondled the cold box from your “culinary collection.” The white meat chicken in a mexican-style cream sauce with seasoned rice blend entrée revealed on her underbelly, that she contained a mere 260 calories, ready in 4 minutes no less. Into my cart she went.

The next day, I punctured the plastic on top as instructed, and slipped it into the microwave while making lunch for the kids. Ding! 4 minutes later I was peeling back the plastic to give it a stir.

I was feeling very civilized, so I decided I would put it into an actual bowl.

That was my first mistake. I should have never taken it out of its natural habitat. The portion was equivalent to a can of Fancy Feast.

Next, for an entrée that advertises Grilled Chicken, there were only 2 small pieces of chicken. That’s it. Two. I stared down into the bowl that looked more like somebody’s leftovers. In a fit of frustration, I quickly grated half a block of cheddar, threw it on top, and popped it back in the microwave for a minute. I then topped it with a heaping spoonful of sour cream, you know, since it was mexican. I sat at the table to eat with the kids, and 6 spoonfuls later, I was finished.

My 260 calorie “entree” had turned into an 800 calorie fiasco. That’s what you should be more accurately named, Fiasco Rice with Chicken Afterthought. And you should use Gray to symbolize the detachment, isolation and sorrow one feels upon witnessing it’s actual size. It was like taking a really hot guy to bed, and discovering he has micropenis.

So, in spite of your provocative orange packaging and your casually hip lowercase letters, the old adage holds true; you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, or in this case, an “entrée.”

32 replies

  1. Pulled pork is “lean” too, of you eat a tablespoon full. That shit is so processed, you would have been better off with a tin of cat food. Pretty sure…..

  2. as someone that refuses to cook, i’ve become a connoisseur of lean cuisines. i do have to say the new packaging makes me feel a little less desperate about buying them. i’m not lazy, i’m just on-the-go and don’t have time to prepare food, right?

  3. Reblogged this on tracy fulks and commented:

    In the spirit of good old throwback thursday, or #tbt as the cool kids say with their fancy hashtags, I’m reposting one of my favories. An angry letter to Lean Cuisine. Enjoy! I mean the read, the entree sucks big hairy elaphantitis balls.

  4. Ha ha … I hear ya – I have found that life without a microwave has been a godsend, I never have to ever look at that stuff in the aisles b/c I have no way to cook it – therefore not even having to live with the despair that you described so well.

    I’m memorized with the negative space arrow. It’s almost as good as the box of camel cigarettes…

  5. Lean Cuisine is so gross. I should know. I used to be addicted to them, until after a 2-week binge, every single one tasted like plastic. The rice bowls, the quesadillas, even the pizza.

    I can’t eat them anymore. And the portion? Barely an apertif. Thanks for the laugh!

    • Kashi are pretty decent, albeit expensive, but you know what are REALLY good? In the organic section usually, they’re called “evol” and they’re a good 6$ a pop, not the most massive ala Marie Calendar type portion, but they do rock.

  6. Oh Lean Cuisine you are such a saucy sexy entree! Come to me you succulent tidbits of breast meat! Two little little delightful morsels – and gone! Wow that was a whole 4 minutes of hot microwave foreplay, and 30 seconds of food pleasure. I think I may need a bottle of wine with that…to make the disappointed hungry ache go away!

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