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Mar 16, 2008 10:09 AM

From a box or can and not so bad?

What things from a box or can do you like to make occassionally, even if you wouldn't want your foodie friends to know about? For me, they are au gratin potatoes and Shake and Bake barbeque glaze. Also pork and beans because my son likes the mildness of the Heinz version better than mine which are not so subtle.

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  1. trader joe's truffle brownies are no fail, gooey chocolatey goodness.

    1. In a fairly recent thread, I mentioned (canned): water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, palm hearts, garbanzo beans, tahini, sauerkraut, Japanese pickled vegetables, cranberry sauce, smoked eel, tuna, salmon, sardines, pickled herring, corn, anchovies, corned beef. In terms of ready to eat shameful foods: Chef Boyardee ravioli.

      My couscous and polenta come in boxes. Do they count?

      13 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        I love that ravioli too. That shade of orange is amazing.

        1. re: pengcast

          I grew up down the road from where that stuff is made. Between our house and the factory were miles of industrial tomato fields. During harvest season the smell from the fields and the plant was so nauseating that even as a child, knowing where the ravs were made I could never eat them. To this day the sight and smell of Boyardee products will give me the ooglies.

          This place also made Crunch 'n' Munch and when that was on the line the town smelled of caramel. Much more pleasant but occasionally cloying.

          They also made Diablo mustard and as a young adult I had a friend who worked there who told a story about a coworker who out of curiosity opened the lid on one of the mustard tanks and got knocked out by the fumes.

          1. re: morwen

            workers in horseradish plants wear gas masks.

            given the use of mustard gas in WWI your friend's co-worker is lucky hospital care wasn't required.

            1. re: hill food

              yes, my grandfather survived mustard gas in WWI. i think it qualified him for honorable discharge, but "disabled". surprised your pal wasn't warned (but....he probably was....)

            2. re: morwen

              I lived in Idaho during my high school years. We lived not far from a sugar beet factory, just outside of Boise. The smell of cooking sugar beets is horrendous and can't even really be described. Like cooked grass and cow sh**, but somehow WORSE than that. I can't imagine how something as lovely as sugar comes from that stench.

              1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                "Jeez Louise, how did you turn cinnamon applesauce into that!" </Marge Simpson>

                1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                  Speaking of growing up near food factories, for years driving on the highway near where my parents lived meant going by a Jim Beam bottling company. Which had the good fortune of being located next to an artificial flavor factory. The combined stench of Jim Beam and reject artificial flavors is amazingly unpleasant. Something sweet, slightly boozey, and entirely not of nature.

                  1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                    The sugar cane mills around here smell like sh*t during milling season, too. Maybe it's the bagasse? First time I smelled it I thought I'd stepped into a huge pile of dog poo x a million.

                    1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                      I second that! When I was younger and worked with horses there was a sugar beet factory on the other side of the river. I was outside all day so when sugar beets were coming in and the factory was working I had to smell that crap for like 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. It closed down a while back and is now a winery.

                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Sam - I'm still laughing about that post! Chef Boyardee anything. Progresso's split pea and ham soup. TJ's bread and butter pickles. ANY pickles! Anchovies. Instant mashed potatoes mixed with canned corn and sprinkled with cheddar and topped with canned chipotle peppers and adobe sauce. Almost all of my pasta. Red cabbage.

                  1. re: southernitalian

                    This may freak you out, but there is a growing group of Hounds coming out of our closets and admitting to a (occasional) lust for Chef Boyardee raviloi.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      I admit I like Chef Boyardee ravioli too. I always have a few cans around for when I get the *craving* to eat something I normally wouldn't eat! But homemade ravioli are quite time consuming (we do it the way my noni did) and Chef works in a pinch.

                      p.s. I eat it right out of the can cold.don't tell mom

                    2. re: southernitalian

                      I love red cabbage from a jar. And pickled beets and sauerkraut.

                  2. I'm not sure if this counts, as it is only a ingredient, but I love Cope's dried corn.
                    The original Kraft mac and cheese is a guilty pleasure that I eat a few times a year.

                    I also love canned German style potato salad, but I am almost ashamed to admit that, as it is so easy to make the real thing.

                    1. Pepperidge Bread Stuffing

                      1. Canned corn, though I've moved on to frozen a while ago. Used to just pop the entire can in a pot, add some butter and salt = dinner. Not healthy, but tasty.

                        Other canned stuff: Tomatoes. Sardines. Tuna. Beans.
                        Boxed: Kraft Mac & Cheese. Sorry, but I am a total sucker for that sh!t. And, well, pasta in boxes... that's how they're sold, eh? :-D

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: linguafood

                          You can turn that can of corn into Mexican corn by draining and mixing with Mayo, chili powder and crumbled Mexican cheese ... truly shameful

                          1. re: rworange

                            mmmMMMMMMmmm. Cotijo? that sounds delicious. I did use to add some paprika powder, or curry sometimes, and creme fraiche. Ah, corn.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Yeah. I didn't realize Elote was sold both on and off the cob until I saw it at a local Mexican market. It is all the ingrediants that are usually slatered on the cob, but mixed into the cup. One place shaves the corn off the cob and then mixes things up in the cup to order ... which is what inspired me with the can of green giant sitting in my kitchen cupboard.

                              While I haven't eaten it in years due to the cream part ... or whatever it is ... I loved Green Giant white creamed corn when I was growing up.

                            2. re: linguafood

                              Yeah I do love me some Kraft Mac & Cheese in a box! I used to eat that all the time when in college...occasionally still indulge in my badness. Total late-night drunky snack!