04 January 2012

"Something familiar, something peculiar..." --Stephen Sondheim

On Monday, I was off from Job 1 but worked Job 2.  During my luxurious 1/2 hour for lunch, I ran the two blocks to a little French cafe.  There, I ordered vegetable soup, a tuna melt and a drink and sat down, trying not to tap my foot impatiently.  Five minutes later, the waitress brought my lemonade and a lovely crock of vegetable soup and told me the tuna melt was on the way, which, happily, it was.  The soup looked nice.  The soup smelled lovely.  The soup tasted... well, it tasted good.  And quite familiar.  It was Progresso

I don't mean it tasted like canned soup.

I mean, this French cafe opened a can of Progresso vegetable soup, poured a small amount  in a small crock, nuked it for a minute, and charged me $3.50 for the pleasure.  Had I wandered into a scene from European Vacation?

Now, I am not anti-Progresso.  I am pro-Progresso.  If I were any more pro-Progresso I might go pro.  (I'm progressive that way.)  I recognized the soup because I have Progresso soups at home in the pantry for when I am sickly and weak and want a quick bowl of soup with truly minimal effort.  So, I wasn't put off, per se.  It just got me to wondering how often a restaurant dish is actually the result of opening a can or boxed frozen entree? 

So I am taking my wondering to the vast knowledge of the interwebs.  Questions du jour:  Have you ever "recognized" a portion of your meal?  Is there anything wrong with a restaurant doing this?  What percentage of your average restaurant (not fast food) meal do you think is completely pre-made?


Mike said...

I've never noticed McDonalds serving anything I might have at home.

Tania said...

I expect everything from a medium to high end restaurant to be made on site. I wouldn't return to a restaurant where I recognize something. This has happened to me with pumpkin ravioli before.

Thanks for coming by earlier!

The Bug said...

If I didn't have to open the can or nuke the lasagna & it tastes good I don't really mind - not that I've ever noticed such before. I'm kind of oblivious :)

ellen kirkendall said...

I have noticed this, even from a casual perusal of the menu. There are some things which are almost always "product", and I don't order them. If I am not sure I ask. Usually the wait staff will tell the truth.

Bilbo said...

If you shop at a wholesale warehouse store like Costco, you will recognize some of the dishes you get at low- to medium-class restaurants.

Cyndy said...

I have definitely recognized food in restaurants before, especially soups. They should have at least attempted to disguise it with some extra vegatables or spices or something.

Alice said...

!!!!!! that's shocking! there is definitely something wrong with a restaurant doing this. if i wanted canned soup, i would have MADE IT MYSELF. i go to restaurants for things i can't/don't want to make myself!

Bowie Mike said...

I took my son to Friendly's the other day, and he ordered a Monster Mash Sundae. When the waitress brought it to our table, I noticed that instead of real monster ears, they used a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup sliced in half. I could have just picked that up at the local CVS!

Meghan said...

Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, but if it did, I'd be upset. Condiments, bread, and possibly some drinks are pretty much the only thing I'm ok with being pre-made.

lacochran's evil twin said...

Mike: Not even the McCafe?

Tania: Gee, and pumpkin ravioli sounds like something that would be made to order. Chef Boyardi?

The Bug: Thanks for weighing in.

ellen kirkendall: Good point. Must make a point of enlisting waitstaff help in the future. I just didn't think to see it coming.

Bilbo: *sigh* I wonder if chefs are excited to see their Costco creations sold as originals...?

Cyndy: ExACTly. Make an effort, even a small one. I guess I'm lucky they didn't just bring me the can.

Alice: Yeah, it is about feeling special, isn't it.

Bowie Mike: It hasn't been a good season for monster here and imported is so expensive.

Meghan: Yeah, I know some folks who get bent out of joint if the condiments aren't home made but my palate isn't *that* refined.