Tidbits: Getting steamed

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2012 - 5:48 PM

The Simply Potatoes folks at Crystal Foods, who already gave us five kinds of mashed potatoes and nine kinds of sliced, diced, wedged and hash brown potatoes, now offer three kinds of refrigerated Simply Potatoes Steamables -- Zesty Garlic Diced Russets, Rustic Italian Seasoned Russet Wedges and Ranch Seasoned Red Wedges.

Until now, Mr. Tidbit has been puzzled by the whole steam-in-the-bag deal, which has taken over quite a bit of the collection of frozen meals. (What's so great about steamed chicken?) But he has to say that he was nicely surprised by the texture of the garlic diced Steamables. They were neither as mushy as he expected nor as undercooked as he assumed was the only other choice. He found them to be right on the edge of firmness, like al dente pasta.

Even if they weren't good, you know they cost more just because they're new, right? Right. At one store, where the 24-ounce tubs of Simply Potatoes mashed potatoes are $3.75 (16 cents an ounce) and the various 20-ounce bags of their cut-up potatoes are $3.09 (15 cents an ounce), the 16-ounce bags of Steamables (yes, only 16 ounces) are $3.75 (23 cents an ounce -- roughly half again as much).

 

Want some Popped?

If you are confused by several new-looking but familiar-seeming products, you might be relieved to know that you're not losing your mind: They are just renamed or rebranded. (Or maybe you are forgivably confused about these products and you are losing your mind. Mr. Tidbit can't tell from here.) Anyway:

The many kinds of small rice-cake snacks from Quaker that used to be called Quakes are now called Popped. Yes, just Popped -- an adjective, not a plural noun. Nobody asked Mr. Tidbit, but he doubts that anyone will ever say "Hey, when you're at the store, pick up some Popped."

And the many, many kinds of Lipton Sides (including nine kinds of Rice Sides, 13 Pasta Sides and more -- Mr. Tidbit counts more than 40 altogether) now are Knorr Sides. (Both Knorr and Lipton are Unilever brands.)

AL SICHERMAN

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