Here is a piece I wrote for Mom.me called "I Didn't Love My Baby Right Away And That's Okay."
I've been thinking for awhile about doing a post where I try out the recipes printed on the packaging of food, because I've always been curious about whether they're any good or not. I'm sure it happens--probably when people want to use up the rest of something--but I can't imagine buying a can of soup or a box of breadcrumbs and then deciding what I'm going to use it for. Plus, how can I trust the people who wrote those recipes? I don't know them. How do I know that they know what I like? And anyway being all pregnant and exhausted the idea of cooking food just as a funny experiment doesn't really appeal to me right now. Here are a few ideas that I took from my pantry:
Barley and potato? I don't know. Anyway, maybe some other brave soul will take this experiment on.
But this leads me to another thing that has been nagging at me lately in the world of foods trying to convince us of other foods you can make with their foods, and that's the Triscuit people and how they've gone out of their mind.
They must have hired a new advertising agency or something because Triscuits are all up in my face lately, on TV and in huge magazine spreads, and the message they are spreading is, "Use Triscuits to make tiny, obsessive appetizers!"
The idea is that "all you need" are three ingredients to make an amazing Triscuit snack, but this is a deceitful claim of simplicity, because many of these recipes actually seem like a huge pain.
Take, for example, the Cobb Salad Topper, wherein a Triscuit is topped with avocado, hard-boiled egg, bleu cheese dressing and chopped tomatoes. The recipe claims a 10-minute total prep time but that is a blatant lie. First you need to boil the eggs, and become the kind of person who can neatly and evenly slice your hard boiled egg. You need to chop your tomatoes in a way that does not lead to a big slushy mess. Same thing with the avocado. And then you need to balance it all on a tiny Triscuit, and I see in the photo that the avocado is at the bottom, which means that this is a recipe for frustration, because you need to cut your avocado (prettily) to size and figure out a way to not let it slide off the crackers. Next.
The Grilled Tomato & Asparagus Topper is another bogus "10-minute" recipe. Not built into the ten minutes is the time it takes to grill your grape tomatoes, blanch and trim your asparagus (PS are you really going to buy a bunch of asparagus and just use the tips?) and then assemble, and also figure out a way to keep that grape tomato from rolling off your cracker.
And then finally there are these psychotic tiny little vegetable grilled cheeses. My friend Tyler Coates said it best on his Instagram account:
I think I would feel threatened and annoyed and also wonder how I was supposed to neatly eat sandwich where the bread was a famously crumbly cracker.
I don't want to take away from how much effort the Triscuit chefs have clearly been putting into this (it kind of reminds me of the "Friends" where Monica is cooking with Mockolate, except I would never compare Triscuits to Mockolate.) Meanwhile, somebody has been working overtime at their Pinterest account curating dozens and dozens of these recipes. And the thing is, they mostly really do look good--but for somebody else, probably a professional chef at a party where someone is hired to pass appetizers, to make for me. I'm not making this stuff, ever.
And then the irony on top of all my bitching is--I love Triscuits. I might call them my favorite cracker. They're so addictive--they have that great texture and they're salty and they taste good and they stick around in your mouth in a pleasant way. They don't need anything else, no onerous recipes, no crazy new flavors or shapes or textures. The only thing I personally ever like to put on a Triscuit is a piece of plain ol' cheese, and even then sometimes I still prefer the Triscuit naked. I admire the work that went into this new Triscuit push but instead of suggesting I drive myself insane making tiny perfect appetizers whose ratio of labor to eating-time is way out of whack, they should just give away some damn Triscuits and call it a day.