Okay. Maybe I'm overstating my case. Let me backtrack.
I love frozen vegetables.
Really. I do.
I've been recommending them as a viable (and sometimes better) alternative to the fresh vegetables in the produce section, especially if the fresh veggies in the market are under-ripe or way past their prime. In that case, frozen veggies, because they are picked and frozen right after harvesting, may provide better flavor and nutrients than some of the items you find in the produce section. Of course I realize that some frozen veggies don't translate well in the "crispness" department (think broccoli, squash, carrots), but if you're looking for healthy vegetables without added salt or preservatives, frozen is the way to go. Besides, they can be uber-affordable if you buy them when your supermarket offers a buy-one-get-one-free special.
Segue: Check this out. In our local supermarket the lights in the frozen food display cases don't turn on until someone approaches them. Is that cool or what? I know they do it to save electricity, but for those of us without television it's truly a fun night out. I remember how my kids would jump all over, begging me to take them to the grocery store so they could run up and down the aisle and play with the lights. It was a lot like playing gooney golf except there were no golf clubs, large dinosaurs, or that Asian guy behind the register watching cable TV from Beijing. Not to mention I saved six bucks per kid...
Now where was I? Oh yeah. So why do I say frozen veggies suck?
I recently realized that my local supermarket's frozen food section has been going through a metamorphosis. At one time the freezer shelves were filled with bags and bags of 16-ounce frozen veggies from a half-dozen different producers: Birds Eye, Green Giant, PictSweet, McKenzies, the store brand, etc. But lately I've noticed that these same shelves of plain veggies are being crowded out by newer offerings: 12-ounce bags with all matter of sauces and spices added. Oh, and then there's the newest kid on the block: 12-ounce steam-fresh veggies. Here's how one national brand describes them:
"...a specially designed bag and advanced steaming technology, Steamfresh® is a revolutionary way to prepare perfectly cooked vegetables, rice and pasta blends right in your microwave."
My question? I had no trouble perfectly cooking the old version of frozen vegetables by nuking them in the microwave or steaming them on the stove, so why create something new? Could it be that these companies want to charge us more money for less product? Hmmm. What's so revolutionary about that? (Remember when canned tomatoes were 16 ounces or when ice cream came in half-gallon containers?)
So, I guess I'll head down to the grocery store and stock up on a few cases of the pre-revolutionary frozen vegetables. You may want to do the same.
Then one day we can let our grandkids crawl up on our knees while we pine about the olden days, when 16-ounce bags of frozen vegetables were exactly just that: frozen vegetables. This is one time when I will not join the masses out on street to chant "Vive la revolution!"
I'll see you in the frozen food aisle.