Every parent knows that familiar sound when walking through the frozen food aisle of the grocery store… “MOM/DAD! Look, can we get this?”
Undoubtedly the “this” they’re referring to is the brightly colored Kid Cuisine nestled between the Hungry Man ‘1lb of Food’ Salisbury Steak and Lean Cuisine Parmesan Crusted Fish.
Growing up as a child of the 90’s, BJ the Penguin and Chef the bear, Kid Cuisine’s mascots (now both replaced by K.C. Penguin), frequently appeared during my Saturday morning cartoon commercial breaks. And commercials featuring kids touting the convenience of a Kid Cuisine, and lack of artificial ingredients or colors, gave us the perfect fodder to entice our parents to take a break from their busy lives and skip cooking dinner for a night.
ConAgra foods, owner of Kid Cuisine recently licensed the popular Hello Kitty brand from Sanrio, in what can only be viewed as an attempt to market their traditional blue boxed microwaveable meals to young girls and the entirety of Japan by making them pink and providing a paper cut out doll and house on the box.
As with most TV dinners, the Kid Cuisine is broken up into compartments. The compartments in this particular Kid Cuisine contain an entree of 3 Hello Kitty character shaped chicken breast nuggets, a side of corn, a side of macaroni and cheese, and a dessert of chocolate pudding and a cookie spoon. Upon removing from the microwave, I noticed that the pudding had spilled over into the corn and macaroni and cheese. This may be due to some boil over that could have occurred during the microwave process.
The nuggets had somewhat of an expected texture, though dry on the outside. They were appropriately moist through the inside. But while texture was ok, they were completely void of any flavor. One may let this slide as chicken tastes like everything (and in turn, nothing), but even with the breaded coating, there was no flavor.
The corn had the opposite problem. While tasting like corn, it was rubbery, as if someone replaced the corn with tiny yellow water balloons.
The worst of the meal had to have been the macaroni and cheese. It suffered the worst in both taste and texture. Texturally, it was also rubbery and chewy. The cheese had foamed up slightly in the microwave, giving it the appearance of a heavy breathing dog’s frothy saliva. The flavor tasted like they substituted cheese for some cheese water amalgamation that left it tasting more watery than cheesy. The only part of the macaroni and cheese that was even edible happened to be the parts where the chocolate pudding had spilled into as it essentially turned the noodle into a vessel for serving up the pudding.
The pudding comes with a “cookie spoon” in which to eat it with. I really don’t know why they have such a small cookie spoon. Mine broke in the package. I managed to piece it together for the pictures, but in practical use, the spoon was really pointless. It also tasted like sugar coated styrofoam.
The pudding was the hero of this meal. Though on the rich side, the pudding had a smooth texture, and tasted great warm. Being a parent myself, I figure if most kids are like mine, the rest of this meal will go untouched. Maybe thats why ConAgra didn’t bother with any effort aside from marketing and pudding.
The biggest downside of this meal is that it’s hugely lacking in flavor. And what flavor is there, is just not great – except the pudding. I could eat that pudding for days.
Parents would be much better off encouraging their kids to try new, exciting flavors instead of serving up bland “safe” foods they know their kids will probably at least take a few bites of.