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Oct 19, 2010 01:26 PM

I'm 49 and have NEVER tasted a Chef Boyardee product


None of these items were ever allowed in our Italian-American household while I was growing up and I've never been tempted to have it as an adult. Same with Manwich sloppy Joe's The first time I ever had a sloppy Joe was about 3 years ago and I made the mix from scratch.

What about you? Is there a popular name-brand food item that just about every other person you know had as a kid but you've have never tasted?

  1. Ramen, the ten-for-a-buck kind that is the staple of college students. Never ate it in my life even when I was dirt poor.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MandalayVA

      Now that is something I quickly discovered when I moved out on my own (though we never ate it at home). Haven't had it in years though...the sodium levels on that stuff are scary!

      1. re: ttoommyy

        although I'm hiding behind a couch somewhere, I hate to admit it but on many levels, sodium is so tasty :(

        1. re: iL Divo

          salt is amazing and wonderful and i'd rather die than remove it from my life. and msg.

        2. re: ttoommyy

          Scary, but just the thing for a hangover.

        3. re: MandalayVA

          I haven't tried the super cheap-o ramen, however there's an Asian market nearby where I get various exotic tasting soup packets for 40 cents and up. These are good to have on hand when a bowl of instant noodles is just what you want.

          1. re: MandalayVA

            Cooks Illustrated has a great version sans the artificial bleh seasoning pack .... very good.

            1. re: MandalayVA

              You are missing out! It's a fast stand in for real ramen, just put in a dash or two of soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, chop up some scallions, and if you're going for the gold put in a hard-boiled egg sliced in half and some bean sprouts at the end. That is tasty.

            2. I 'm 57 samething.Got lazy about 2 years ago and started to use Newmans sauce

              2 Replies
              1. re: lkven

                there are plenty of other sauces in the same aisle that are waaaaay better than PN sauce. plenty of threads on the boards to guide you.

                1. re: jfood

                  Ain't THAT the truth! I've often wished they would make things that just flat out taste better. Think of how much more money their charities would get!

              2. I have never had Hamburger Helper.
                But I did make a ton of Steak Um when I was a teenager.
                Did you ever put ketchup on pasta?

                2 Replies
                1. re: princeofpork

                  Neither have I.
                  Never had that, either.
                  Hell no!

                  But we had a lot of fish sticks on Friday and Appian Way pizza kit in a box. And a lot of other abominations thqt had to do with dried potato slices and a packet of powder in a box that you make a casserole out of. Never had the canned spaghetti, I'm not sure where my mother drew the line!

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    For so many years I thought I hated scalloped potatoes because my mom made the nasty box version!

                2. I think feeding a child Chef-Boy-Ardee and other like meals is a form of child abuse.

                  25 Replies
                  1. re: GibsonGirl55

                    I don't often need to use them, but I always have a few cans of Boy-ar-dee, Progresso soup, or Dinty Moore on hand in the event of power failures.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      LOL! Why would you want to eat crappy food during a power failure? Shouldn't something go right during such times?

                      1. re: Isolda

                        All-electric home, no outdoor grill, so I do not open the fridge in a power failure. Opened canned food warms on a rack set over a jar candle.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          There's nothing that teaches you what you can't cook more than a power failure in an all-electric home with no outdoor barbecue! I have a butane (hair spray size canister) single burner hot plate for just such occasions, and every year when the tornado warnings start popping up on TV, I begin keeping a few eggs on the counter instead of in the fridge. Nothing like an omelette to laugh in the face of powerless power lines!.

                        2. re: Isolda

                          Very true! The only time I've ever had Chef B was when I used up my emergency earthquake rations. (Every six months I do that -- luckily I've never had to eat them in a real emergency.) Bleh! I replaced the cans with something better.

                      2. re: GibsonGirl55

                        I forget who it was here (was it Sam F? maybe), but some ingenious 'Hound would dump out the contents of the Chef-Boy-Ardee, rinse, and then repurpose it with his own sauce and fresh ingredients (e.g. veggies, etc.). Made it sound not only delicious, but healthy.

                        1. re: GibsonGirl55

                          Gee, maybe I should report my parents 30 years after the fact. Guess I'm lucky to be alive after all that abuse.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            I think there is a 12-step program for survivors of this "abuse" Perilagu Khan. :)

                          2. re: GibsonGirl55

                            These are the type of comments that make people avoid foodies.

                            My mom worked days and my dad nights. Lunchtime was often a can of Boyardee beefaroni or ravioli that i prepared myself. I suppose eating mustard sandwiches like other kids at school with out-of-work parents might be more acceptable to you.

                            1. re: AnchovyBourdain

                              AB - how amazing were the meatballs in Spaghetti O's? I used to heat up a can and pick out all the meatballs, then give the noodles to my younger brother. Haven't had them in years, but I swear if they made a can of just the meatballs, I'd be seriously tempted, lol!!!

                              1. re: AnchovyBourdain

                                There was a kid at school who always had mustard sandwiches..I thought they were wonderful because they looked so pretty.. no way my mom would let me have one - so she always made me 1 1/2 of my sandwich so I could trade 1/2 with my friend..strange how that 1/2 sandwich used to have way more stuff in it than my sandwich - - and sometimes it even included a cookie!

                                1. re: caseygirl

                                  You're mom was a very kind woman.

                              2. re: GibsonGirl55

                                I've fed my kids Chef Boy-Ar-Dee once or twice. Trust me, they're a lot more likely to claim abuse when I make Thai curry and put in too much chile. But presumably a food snob would give that "abuse" a pass if the recipe is "authentic" (whatever that means).

                                1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                  Our kids were not raised in the US and I don't think they have eaten canned Chef, but boy did they like canned fish balls and cod roe.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Canned fish balls? If I were to eat that, it would be self-abuse.

                                  2. re: GibsonGirl55

                                    it is coimments like this that downplay true child abuse. similar to those who tell restaurants that they have an allergy when they do not it de-sensitizes people from true issues.

                                    i ate CBRD growing up and fed my children spaghetti-o's on occasion and to call me an abused child or a child abuser for that is just plain wrong.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      I agree on the absurdity of the child abuse allegation, and can only hope that the poster was kidding. If not, whew boy!
                                      I remember eating the chef's ravioli and Spaghettio's on occasion and LOVED it! On the occasion that my parents enjoyed liver and onions for dinner, mom would make us something from a can (oh, and the one with little hot dogs, too!). She gave us a total pass and didn't impose her will on us.
                                      Now, that's love!

                                        1. re: monavano

                                          vienna sausages? We loved those, straight from the can.

                                          1. re: tcamp

                                            I think monavano is referring to the Spaghettios with little cut up hot dogs, which I loved even more than the ones with mini meatballs. The plain tomato sauce ones were too boring.

                                            1. re: cookie monster

                                              And then there were/are Beanie Weinies!

                                          2. re: monavano

                                            I was raised in an Italian American household, and mom wouldnt think of serving us pasta from a can.
                                            But when I was old enough, I used to buy it for myself and sneak it as an after-school snack!!
                                            I went through a canned ravioli, and Spaghetti-o-s with franks phase...it didnt last long though.
                                            Recently after years and years I decided to try the Spaghettios again - and Wow - they were pretty gross!!

                                        2. re: GibsonGirl55

                                          Whoa, I think some posters may need to see a doctor about a Sense Of Humor deficit :-).
                                          To Reiterate, I considered CBOD to be aversion therapy that worked well.

                                          To those of you who were 'latch key' kids before the era of microwaveable frozen meals, I apologize - no offense to your parents. In your situation I would have been happy with canned corned beef hash or frozen pot pie to name a couple of alternatives. Our local groceries / delis were largely run by Italians, probably the cause of a life long (so far) addition to sandwiches!

                                          1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                            you haven't tried their beef bolognese, i take it?

                                            it's good for a quick bite.

                                          2. nope. My dad died when I was 6 and my mother worked. ( 60's)Taught to cook scrambled eggs and bacon and use a can opener at a young age. My sister and I cooked a lot of meals for our family. We got every junk/canned/frozen food you could try. It was exquisite.
                                            I'm sorry you never got to make a chef boyardee pizza from the box. Never enough sauce, dammit.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: bbqboy

                                              I had a similar experience... Dad died when I was seven, mom worked. My brother and I learned to take care of the basics early on. I learned a lot of basic cooking techniques making hamburger helper, and was cooking dinner for the family once a week by 5th grade. By 9th grade I was cooking dinner almost every night. Chef Boyardee was a staple for weekend lunches. My mom balanced it out with her "cereal rules" - no chocolate, no marshmallows, nothing with a toy in the box.

                                              1. re: bbqboy

                                                likewise i had to cook as a child starting at 7, with those chef boyardee pizza boxes and duncan hines brownies. as a younger child i happily slurped up chef boyardee ravioli and adored mcdonalds. i soon moved on from the pizzas to making roast chicken, french fries, you name it. by the time i was a teenager i could make anything from anywhere. nowadays i'm not that into cooking but i like to eat very well, i.e., lots of fresh seafood grilled and boiled veg. that's so true about not having enough sauce in the pizza kit!!!

                                                1. re: bbqboy

                                                  Never too late to make Chef Boyardee pizza. They still sell the stuff and I make it every other month or so.

                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                    That's one of the things that makes me heart you, PK. Every time you mention that I have a taste flashback to my childhood.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      I do this because I'm just an enfant terrible at heart. ;)

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          A bit of both, no doubt. A bit of both.

                                                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          Them that ain't ate Beefaroni
                                                          ain't no enfant savant.

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        I haven't thought of that pizza in years! Mom would make it in lieu of making pizza dough herself, which she's never do. She cooked mostly from scratch, but pretty basic.

                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                          The crust is actually pretty darn good, even by Hound standards. Thin, crispy, and just salty enough. Also has a yeasty flavor that I like.

                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                            I have heard that too - my brother loves it!
                                                            But i havent tried it, and I don't recall seeing it for years. (not that I have looked for it though)

                                                            For me - I am 44 and only just tried Spam for the first time last year.
                                                            Growing up, it was considered a ***shudder*** item.
                                                            But, I had it at a Szechuan resturant, as part of a Hot Pot dinner - and WOW!!! I actually loved it!!
                                                            I have always wanted to buy it since that night, but the fat content really scares me !

                                                            Never had Hamburger Helper or Velveeta either!