In my job I have a very small period allotted for lunch, no real ability to leave the office to buy food, and the usual dubious and communal utensils with which to cook anything I choose to bring. Prefabricated, fast-food or otherwise “convenient” meals strongly appeal to me: quick to cook, taking no brainpower to prepare, and highly portable. They are also great for portion control — my current diet is big on counting calories and I love little packages which have done all the dirty work for me and don’t tempt me to overeat.
It is a terrible shame that I can’t eat them.
I am avoiding, for hundreds of extremely good reasons that I’m trying to tackle one at a time, factory-farmed meat. Some of the biggest consumers of factory-farmed meat are the people who are producing these helpful little meals: using the cheapest possible ingredients (including meat) is how they make these meals affordable. It’s pretty much impossible to find anything cheap and/or convenient which is not made out of factory farmed meat, eggs, or dairy.
The irony is, of course, that meat is generally more expensive than vegetables. The producers could make their meals even cheaper, and possibly even better for you, by substituting meat with beans or another source of protein in at least some of their dinners. Instead, they produce dish after dish with meat thrown in. Going along the freezer case is another exciting revisit to the Monty Python “spam” sketch: pasta with chicken, pasta with beef, pasta with pork; vegetables with chicken; vegetables with beef, vegetables with pork; potatoes with chicken, potatoes with beef, potatoes with pork…spam spam spam spam spam…
The meat in the meals even appears generally in only tiny amounts, almost as an afterthought. Check out this (fascinating) site which reviews frozen meals — notice it takes scrolling back quite a long way to find a single vegetarian entree — and take note of how much meat there is in each meal. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and better for everyone to, occasionally, just take the meat out, bill the thing as a vegetable/pasta dish and be done with it?